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What are the examiners looking for? What is "good" essay technique?

Hi there! This is a great question as it shows you are aware that the exam isn't just about knowledge. In Edexcel Religious Studies, the main aim of your essays is to convey both content and the fact you have thought about the topic (not only learnt about it). For example, say you are writing about utilitarianism and the question was "what are the strengths of utilitarianism?". Here, the question wants you to focus on the term "strenghts". There will always be a key word that should form the framework of your essay in each question they ask. 

In this example, you will need to frame the knowledge you have of utilitarianism around the fact that they have asked for strengths. This is not the same as simply writing down everythign you know about utilitarianism! Say for example, you wanted to speak about how utilitarianism had many new moddern adaptations such as preference utilitarianism or negative utilitarianism. Here, you may begin the paragraph saying something like "One strength of utilitarianism is its basic premise can be adapted to more successful versions of utilitarianism so it is not a theory that either is "good" or "bad". You may then explain the recent forms of utilitarianism and, finally, at the end of your paragraph re-iterate why this is a strength. 

The above example shows how to remain focussed on the question and still include eveyrthing you want to say- the perfect balance. This is the key to achieving a high mark! I would suggest having a practice at the same question but formulating 3 or 4 more paragraphs! 

Lily M. A Level Art tutor, GCSE Art tutor, A Level English tutor, GCS...

8 months ago

Answered by Lily, an A Level Religious Studies tutor with MyTutor


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Degree: Theology (Bachelors) - Durham University

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Degree: Geography (Bachelors) - Bristol University

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Degree: Philosophy and Theology (Bachelors) - Oxford, Keble College University

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