How many points should I write for an essay?

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Having a load of points does not always mean more marks, in fact sometimes it can mean the exact opposite. In my essays I always try to limit myself to about 3-5 points otherwise the points do not get the correct amount of development needed to score marks. It is more important to have less points that directly engage with your argument than a load of points that run incohorently from one to the other.

Think of it like this... You are having a big Birthday party and all your friends are coming round with a bunch of presents for you. Would you rather recieve a ton of little gifts or would you prefer it if your friends grouped together and bought you 3 more substantial gifts that will last you longer? The latter is obviously prefferable.

For example take this quotation from King Lear:

'Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!'

You could talk about the way Shakespeare refers to nature with humanlike qualities, or you could talk about the way Shakespeare uses short sentences to emphasise words such as 'rage!' and 'blow!' However it may be better to combine both these points in order to create a richer point altogether. So you could write: Shakespeare's short sentences allow words such as 'rage!' and 'blow!' to be highlighted. These are traits that  are usually attributed to humans, thus Shakespeare brings about the idea nature and the storm acting human.

This point is more developed, but this is still not enough. There's always room to probe further!

Eli B. GCSE English Literature tutor, A Level English Literature tuto...

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is an online A Level English Literature tutor with MyTutor studying at Birmingham University

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