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I'm having trouble getting high marks on my OCR English essays because of poor structure. My teacher says I've got good ideas, but I just can't seem to get the structure right. Can you help?

English essays are a tricky one to nail, but the best way to get high marks on structure is to closely follow the assessment objectives/paragraphs rule.

Essentially, there are 4 assessment objectives, as I'm sure you know. AO1 (Clear argument), AO2 (detailed textual analysis), AO3 (Critical perspectives) and AO4 (Historical and literary context). In this instance, it is useful to see how these different objectives are marked. If the essay is out of 30, it is likely that 5 marks are allocated for AO1 and AO4, and 10 marks for AO3 and AO2. As such, across the whole essay, this is how weighted these different sectors should be.

In terms of paragraph structure, I would go with the following.

1. Make a point - AO1 

2. Provide quotational evidence - AO2 

3. Provide a critical viewpoint - AO3

4. Sprinkle a little historical context - AO4

5. Repeat as necessary

6. Always end each paragraph linking back to your original point - AO1

You can shake up the order a little to make it seem less formal, but generally, that structure shouldn't go too wrong. 

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