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The most important thing when preparing for your English exam is to make sure you have a clear idea of the themes of the pieces – whether they be novels, plays or poems. In my experience, the most productive thing to do is to create a mind map/large colourful page with your main ideas and essay plan written out on it.
For example, if you were doing an essay on ‘Simon is the moral hero in Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Discuss’ it is clear from the outset that there will have to be both a for and against argument with regards to the statement. An essay plan for this topic would consist of an introduction outlining the definition of a ‘moral hero’, your arguments for Simon being seen as the moral hero (references to Christ, references to his altruism, his connection with the forest, his attempts to warn the boys and his ultimate death) backed up by the relevant quotes and devices related to each heading, a counter argument that he was perhaps not heroic enough to be considered a moral hero and a conclusion that clearly weighs down on whatever side of the argument you see fit.
An effective essay plan would be separated into introduction, headed paragraphs and a concise conclusion. I would recommend using different colours for quotes and devices. This would allow you to enter the exam and make a quick outline (paragraph headings) at the top of your page before you start writing to ensure that your work effectively covers the question and that you hit your main point. This will allow for a clear, articulate essay that contains the key themes of the novel but ensures that these are specifically applied to the question asked. The most important thing in an English exam is to answer the question you are given – not the question you wanted to be asked!see more
Personal statements are among some of the worst things you have to write as a student - selling yourself is not as easy as you'd think! However, that is exactly what you have to do.
Your personal statement essentially should outline why you would be an asset to the University or to your course. Dependent on what course you are applying for they can often act as a basis for many of your questions at interview. That leads to the key issue - what do I put in and what do I leave out?
The general consensus is that a 75:25 split of academic to extra-curricular is ideal. Personally, i believe in opening with a strong (but short) introduction - avoiding quotes and overly romanticised statements but clearly displaying why you want to study the course. I would also generally advise avoiding humour as not all admissions tutors feel this is appropriate. This is then followed by a paragraph relating your current school activities to the course, highlighting any exceptional academic achievements and perhaps making reference to any particular area of research that has interested you. The next paragraph should display how your work experience and extra-curricular endeavours have prepared you for the course. An important tip is to go on to the university websites, read the prospectus and highlight the buzzword qualities they expect you to have so you definitely include them all at this stage. At this point again you should always link back any extra-curricular, voluntary or paid work to how it has prepared you for the course or whether it has sparked an interest in any particular area of the field. Make sure to not to make any statements about your qualities or skills without providing evidence to back it up! Your conclusion should only be a line or two that highlights who you are as a person and shows that you have a clear understanding of what the course entails.
There are many tips and tricks when it comes to writing personal statements but the most important thing is that they are personal to you - every course and student is different so there is no concrete formula.see more