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 Post subject: Writing Skills
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 7:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:33 pm
Posts: 96
Hi All
I just wondered if anyone had any tips on resources to help DS with his essay writing or answering paragraph style questions?
DS1 is taking A'Level History, Geography and Politics, all of which are essay heavy subjects. His knowledge is very sound and he does a lot of reading round the subject but he often struggles to put his knowledge down on paper. The feedback from teachers is always that his exam answers don't reflect his knowledge.
He has asked a few times to have extra guidance in forming his essays but does not seem to have had much help. I just wondered if anyone had any tips or ideas how he could get help?


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 Post subject: Re: Writing Skills
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 8:25 am 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
Posts: 1111
Location: Solihull, West Midlands
This is aimed at undergraduates but looks useful:

https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resour ... ing-essays

This is a shorter one:

http://www.mrbuddhistory.com/essay-writing-help.html

Maybe ask someone in the English department if his current teachers are not forthcoming? The art of writing in different formats is something which they attempt to teach at GCSE


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 Post subject: Re: Writing Skills
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 8:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
Posts: 5900
Miltonkeynes1 wrote:
Hi All
I just wondered if anyone had any tips on resources to help DS with his essay writing or answering paragraph style questions?
DS1 is taking A'Level History, Geography and Politics, all of which are essay heavy subjects. His knowledge is very sound and he does a lot of reading round the subject but he often struggles to put his knowledge down on paper. The feedback from teachers is always that his exam answers don't reflect his knowledge.
He has asked a few times to have extra guidance in forming his essays but does not seem to have had much help. I just wondered if anyone had any tips or ideas how he could get help?


The key with A level is to make sure that he is answering the question! I know that sounds obvious but, to a certain extent (particularly in the old style GCSEs), a lot of longer answers were testing "what you knew" - a kind of "tell us everything you know about...." which, if he has good knowledge, is relatively straight forward. For A level it is much much more about application of knowledge - so not just tell us what you know but tell us HOW what you know applies to this.... Underlining key phrases in the question might help, planning certainly should, and revisiting the question title every few sentences to ensure he is answering the specific question, will also help. I would agree that if the subject teachers are unable to sit down with him and explain how he needs to improve his essay writing then sitting down with an English teacher may well be a good start.


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 Post subject: Re: Writing Skills
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 9:21 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
Posts: 3000
Has he got friends who he can chat to? Especially any who came to 6th form from different schools and might have been on the receiving end of better teaching? Essay planning should have been covered lower down the school.

It sounds like it might be worth going back to basics and figuring out which planning template style suits him. Broadly though he needs to read the question, at least twice, and list main headings for the points its asking about then write a prompt word or two for each sub point under these.
Make sure to stick to a framework - introduction, points for & against/ the 'story' if just explaining a concept, conclusion.

If he does outlines for essays hes previously got this feedback on then the teachers should be prepared to look at them and give new feedback.

While practicing the process it can seem laborious and a bit boring for someone with a quick mind but once it becomes second nature it saves more time than it takes, especially in exams as well as hopefully overcoming the current problem.

I'd be pretty frustrated with teachers giving negative feedback but not helping and be prepared to comment, in a carefully worded way, at parent teacher consultations.


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