Navigate Up
Sign In

Essay Exams Quick Tips

  • Use an erasble pen - Remember, neatness does count!
  • Outline the answer before writing your essay - Use the inside cover of the blue book and write down the information you know and then number it in the order of writing your essay.
  • Make sure you have an introductory paragraph - In this paragraph you want to make sure that you explain the point of your essay answer (i.e., your thesis statement).
  • Write a concluding paragraph to summarize your essay - This reinforces the points you made within the essay. It should be somewhat similar to your introductory paragraph.
  • Use your strongest point first in your essay answer - This is to grab the reader’s attention immediately.
  • Underline the key words in your essay question/statement - By doing this you will be able to look back quickly to see if you are answering the question.

Helpful Terms To Know

Analyze - Break into separate parts and discuss or interpret.

Compare - Examine qualities or characteristics in order to discover resemblances. This usually refers to similarities more than differences.

Contrast - Show differences between two or more ideas, topics, concepts, etc.

Criticize - Make judgments as to a given topic or evaluate its worth by backing up your statement with specific examples.

Define - Give a clear, specific meaning.

Describe - Give a detailed account. Include characteristics and qualities.

Diagram - Present a chart, plan, or graphic representation.

Discuss - Examine an issue and present or argue its pros and cons with details and examples.

Enumerate - List several ideas, aspects, events, reasons, etc.

Evaluate - Give your opinion or the opinion of an expert. Include both advantages and limitations.

Explain - Clarify and interpret material presented, state “who,” what,” “where,” and “why.”

Illustrate - Give concrete examples.

Interpret - Comment upon, give examples, and describe relationships.

Justify - Give reasons or prove.

List - Present an itemized series.

Outline - Give main points and necessary supplementary material, omitting details.

Prove - Support with facts or evidence.

Relate - Show how things interconnect.

State - Explain precisely.

Summarize - Give the main points or facts in condensed form.

Support - Back up statements with facts and proof.

Trace - Show the order or progress of events.

This list was excerpted from Newbury College's Academic Support Services.

Essay Example:

Compare and contrast the differences between high school and college in terms of academics, career preparation, and social life.

  • How are you going to organize the essay prior to writing it?

For additional strategies on essay exams you may want to visit these websites:

Catholic and Dominican

What does it mean to be a Catholic and Dominican college? We invite you to explore this question and the distinctive mission of Providence College.
About Providence College's Catholic and Dominican Identity