How can I get a high mark in an unprepared discursive essay?

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All too often, A level language students fret about entering the exam room about to write an essay they haven't been able to prepare for and which they'll likely know little about. No need to worry though, as the key to success is recycling and manipulating set higher-level phrases which you CAN learn in advance!

1 - Structure your essay, using markers throughout:

a) d'une part, quelques personnes pensent que... / d'autre part...

b) de plus...

c) certains en plaident en faveur

d) mais malgré cela, d'autres diraient que...

e) en guïse de conclusion...

2 - In addition, remember idiomatic, advanced-level phrases which you can then adapt for each essay:

a) A une époque où ...(eg technology allows people with a terminal illness to continue to live) il faut que nous pensions prudemment à si...

b) Chaque année, on voit de plus en plus de ... (eg young people dying because of illegal drug taking)

c) Certains trouvent difficile de justifier quelque chose qui leur semble ...

d) nombreux sont ceux qui (eg take drugs, just because they're illegal)

e) si l'on (faisait quelque chose), il s'ensuit que...

f) il faut bien considérer que si une personne réellement...

g) on ferait mieux de...

When thinking of essay-specific content ideas, structure your thoughts around these set phrases - this will not only improve your style, but also your content, as it gives you a framework to work within!

Bonne chance!

Aleksei O. A Level French tutor, IB French tutor, GCSE French tutor, ...

About the author

is an online A Level French tutor with MyTutor studying at Cambridge University

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