How do I plan for an essay question about an extract?

First read through the extract once, just so you know exactly what it is you are going to have to write about. If it is part of a larger text you have studied, jot down what comes before and after. If you can it might help is you can remeber which part of the text it comes from - the beginning middle or end.Next you need to look at the question. Read it through several times and highlight the key words. Think about whtat theme or topic it is asking you to write on and what the question word is (e.g. if the question says compare and contrast, you must prepare yourelf to talk about both similarities and differences).Once you have identified what the focus of the question is (for example, it might ask you to discuss power relationships in the extract), read through the extract again and pick out key sections which discuss or portray power relationships (as an example). As you are going through it might help to annotate the sections with ideas you are going to talk about.Read the extract for a final time. You are still looking for ideas around power relationships, but this time focus on the subtler parts of the text. These might include punctuation, stage direction, rhyme schemes and rhythms. The aim is to have three or four points which you are able to talk about and an overall argument which ou can use to link the points. Your points could be, for example, four different types of power relationship. Your overall argument might be, that the author uses all of these relationships to reflect of the inequality of society and encourage the reader to take action against this.

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