Below are some tips on how to write the essay for your class. Many of the recommendations may seem simple and frivolous but they are the most common mistakes students make so don't let them happen to you. If you ever have a question about anything listed below, feel free to contact Professor Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org or, if the first email does not work, use email@example.com (but please do not send your email to both addresses at the same time). Feel free to submit an essay via email to Professor Reynolds for review prior to your exam due date so you can see if you are on the right track (if you do this, just make sure you submit your essay at least a week prior to when it is due - the due date is in the Calendar section of your class Syllabus). You should take advantage of this offer! It not only will make you prepare your essay a bit earlier, it will help you focus on making your essay an A! Now, here are some things to help you get a better essay exam grade:
1. Make sure you answer all the parts of the question. Most essay questions have multiple parts. Make sure you answer them all or you are not likely to get better than a C on your essay.
2. Use full sentences and paragraphs when writing your essay. Do not write in outline form.
4. Always define terms. Do not assume the reader knows what your definition is of a key word. So if you use terms like "Cold War" then say what that means.
5. Explain who the people are that you mention in your essay. In other words, say why the person is important enough to mention or what is the person's significance to your essay.
6. Yes, you can use typical abbreviations in your essay, like US for United States, but if you use abbreviations that are not typical then you should explain what the abbreviation means the first time you use it.
7. Use as much analysis and explanation as you can for each point you raise. Always ask yourself why you are making your point, why is it historically significant, and write that down in your essay.
8. Make sure your responses are specific. In other words, stick to your question and avoid broad generalizations.
9. Watch your tenses, spelling, grammar and organization. You are not taking an English class with Dr. Reynolds but it should make sense to you that if you have chronic writing problems in your essay, or if your essay is disorganized, it will not read well and it will get a lower grade.
10. Use a person's full name when you mention that person the first time in the essay.
11. Do not use quotes in your essay. And make sure you put all information from your texts into your own words.
12. Use only the texts assigned for your class to answer your essays.
13. Don't worry about a thesis statement in your opening paragraph and don't waste time writing the question.
14. Do not use "etc." in your essay and don't say you think something is such and such. Be positive and state your fact or don't mention it. Your grade will likely be affected more negatively by your saying something wrong then by your leaving something out.
15. Be as specific with dates as you can. If your not sure of a date it is better not to guess at it and have a wrong answer. And speaking of dates, make sure the things you mention are in the correct sequence.
16. Keep your essay organized. If there are several parts to your question, answer them in order. Or if your question involves a time sequence, follow it.
19. Avoid repetition. When you repeat something, even in a summation, it often looks like padding. So state your point once and move on.
20. When you finish your essay spend time reading it over. If it seems to flow well than it probably is well written.
21. Don't guess at information. It is better to omit something then to write wrong information.
22. Stick to your question and only answer it, not another question.
23. Don't waste time giving background to your question. Get to the question and answer only what is asked.
24. Read the directions for your test carefully and follow them exactly!
Follow these rules and you should do well!
All the best,
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