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.

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Timothy G.

Degree: English Literature (Bachelors) - Bristol University

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“Hi, my name is Tim and I am currently studying English Literature at Bristol University.Since I was young I have been enthusiastic about literature and the English language. I believe literature to be one of the cornerstones of human...”

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“About Me-I am an English Student studying at Durham University. I have always loved literatureand the language that forms it. I also thoroughly enjoyed geography but unfortunately could not take it to degree level, but it still contin...”

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“My name is Ella, I am an Undergraduate at the University of Birmingham studying English and Creative Writing. I love stories, I love Literature and above all, reading! Encouraging others to love literature is a joy for me. In my view,...”

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

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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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