Your teen needs to step up to the mark because school is getting harder.
High school education continues to move away from tests with one word answers and towards students having to come up with paragraph or even full essay answers. And there’s a good reason for this.
The internet has become so widespread and so accessible, that having a library of singular facts stored in your head is no longer helpful. The average cell phone can now access Google or Wikipedia anywhere. Type in your question and boom, there’s your answer.
Essays require more than just a memorization of facts. They require students to have an understanding of what they’re talking about. They also require students to know how to express themselves clearly and concisely in writing.
Being able to communicate well is an absolute must in the real world. It’s also necessary in all subject courses at university, and definitely in any professional capacity.
Essay writing is definitely a learnable skill, but not necessarily a straight forward one for a lot of students.
Because we want your teen to master essay writing as much as they can during their time at high school, here are 5 tips that will significantly increase your teen’s essay marks.
1. Every essay must have a proper structure
An essay must be broken into paragraphs to make it readable. It’s horrible reading a full page of solid text. Breaking down an essay into different sections is what allows it to flow in a logical manner.
At high school all essays should follow a simple formula. Your teen needs to learn this formula off by heart!
Introduction: Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em. Introduce the topic and briefly outline the points you’re going to make in your essay in the order you’re going to write about them. If the essay is meant to argue a point, your teen should make it clear in the introduction what their argument/point of view is.
Body Paragraphs: Tell ‘em. At high school an essay will usually have 3-5 paragraphs. Each paragraph contains its own main point that contributes to the overall theme or argument of the essay. (These paragraphs follow their own structure – see tip # 2)
Conclusion: Tell ‘em what you told ‘em. Sum up what the essay was about.
2. Each body paragraph must have a proper structure
Not only does the essay as a whole need structure, each paragraph needs to meet certain requirements.
S = Statement: This is the main point of the paragraph. What part of the film is being discussed and what did it mean to the film? What was important about an historical event and how did it affect later events? Basically, what’s the point you’re about to discuss in this paragraph.
E = Explanation: Explain what you said in your statement. Tell the reader why your statement is true. Why did the setting reflect how the main character was feeling? In what way did the weather affect the outcome of the battle? This part should make up the bulk of the paragraph.
X = eXample Give an example! A quote, an example, a fact. Something concrete that gives evidence to your statement.
I = Importance Why is the point you’ve made in this paragraph important? What does it mean to the story, or the film, or the event? Tell the reader why it matters. This one might not always be applicable, but if you can then go for it.