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What makes the difference between a "good" exam essay and an "excellent" one?

In both AS and A2 papers, a good exam essay will be characterised by a competent understanding of the key points in the chosen texts, as well as a good overall answer to the question. The analysis is likely to be secure, with an appreciation of relevant context and critical background. The argument will be clear and developed.

An excellent answer, which may receive grades equivalent to the level of A at AS and A/A* at A2 level, generally meets the following criteria. The answer will be detailed and exploratory, whilst always answering the question set. The response might challenge the assertions of the question as its basis of forming an argument. The analysis of the text(s) will be probing, developed and insightful. Its focus will be extremely clear, and the line of argument will be tightly controlled throughout the essay. The essay will appreciate and interpret some critical debate. The essay will use contextual information as a means to strengthen the argument and the essay as a whole. The answer will usually have a sense of flair and the argument will be very convincing.

Ben S. A Level English Language tutor, GCSE English Language tutor, A...

5 months ago

Answered by Ben, an A Level English Literature tutor with MyTutor


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Megan S.

Degree: English (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Psychology+ 2 more

English Literature
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“I am a student of English Literature at Durham University. I absolutely love literature; although I also take a keen interest in psychology, having taken modules in that as well during my time at the university. I have a real passion ...”

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Emily C.

Degree: Romantic and Victorian Literature (Masters) - Durham University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Extended Project Qualification+ 4 more

English Literature
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English and World Literature
Classical Civilisation
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“About me: I am currently studying for a master’s degree in Romantic and Victorian Literature at Durham University. I have always been a reader, enthralled with literature and I really hope that I can help you learn to love reading whi...”

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Catriona R.

Degree: English Literature (Bachelors) - Kings, London University

Subjects offered: English Literature, History+ 3 more

English Literature
History
English Language
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“About Me: I am a English Literature student at King's College London. I have always had a real love and passion for Literature from a very young age, something that I wish to pass on in my tutuorials. I am very enthusiastic and patien...”

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Ben S.

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Degree: Modern Languages (Masters) - Oxford, St Hugh's College University

Subjects offered: English Literature, French+ 3 more

English Literature
French
English Language
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“I am a passionate reader and linguist, and I have recently graduated from The University of Warwick with a BA (with Honours) in English and French, and I am an incoming Master's student atThe University of Oxford, and will read Modern ...”

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