How To Answer Essay Questions: Academic Guidelines

  • Essay and its types
  • Essay writing is a basic skill taught to students around the globe from very young age. The main aim for encouraging essay writing is polishing the writing skills of students, increasing their knowledge, showing them how to research, improving their creativity and allowing them to express themselves. This builds confidence in students when they feel they can write about different topics and get great feedback about it. The length and complexity of these essays increases as students move to higher grades. They are introduced to different types of essays including argumentative essays, descriptive essays, informative essays, constructive essays, persuasive essays, evaluative essays and personal narrative essays etc. All the essay types follow the same pattern but vary in approach and style. An essay consists of three main parts, introduction, body, and a conclusion.

  • What is an essay question?
  • An essay is supposed to have a title or a topic on which the essay is based around. Sometimes universities and colleges give this task in forms of questions. For example, for a college application essay the admission officers may ask the students, “What are the possibilities of you becoming an astronaut, explain the reasons, and affects both” If you look at the question you will see how many things it encompasses in just one prompt. This explains everything a student is supposed to include in his essay.

  • Read the essay prompt carefully
  • The first thing you need to do when faced with an essay question is, read it. You might think this is too obvious, but no, do not just skim through it. READ it carefully. Try to understand the essay prompt. Even if you think you know what this is about, read it twice or thrice so that it sets in your mind.

  • Break down the essay question into parts
  • Now that you have understood what the question is about, the next step is to break it down into easy parts. For example in the above question, most students will think it is about being an astronaut. No, it is not, the question says, what the “possibilities” you might become one are. It also asks why and how would this happen.

After that you should

  • Rephrase it in your own words
  • Understand your subject
  • Know what you are required to do
  • Write your introduction paragraph and recheck
  • Write the body of your essay
  • Read aloud as you write
  • Check for the direction of your paper
  • Conclude your essay
  • Re-read the essay and compare

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