The General Paper is a subject which tests on both the maturity of language and the maturity of thought in a student. Many generations of students have feared the elusive nature of General Paper. Today, we will be looking at 4 effective ways to improve on an essay.
4 Effective Ways To Improve A GP Essay
1) Taking A Stand
When writing a GP essay, students have the tendency to "sit on the fence". "To sit on the fence" means to avoid taking sides in an argument and is more often seen to imply apathy. This commonly stems from student's intent of taking a balanced stance and ultimately degrading to not taking a side in a discussion. It is a fallacy to think that taking a stand implies that an essay is not balanced. The key approach to avoid being too biased towards your given stand is to adequately allocate time and effort to discuss the dissenting view and analyse why this disagreeing view has its weaknesses. A judicious approach, therefore, would be one which takes on a balanced approach while taking a firm stand to why the opposing camp failed to convince you to take its side.
2) Planning An Essay
"Failing to plan is planning to fail."
The planning phase is paramount in deciding the outcome of an essay. A 4-steps process is usually a good way to plan an essay effectively.
The very first step of planning is to appreciate the essay requirements. If you fail to understand the question, there is no chance of giving a relevant reply. While most students can identify the general topic, they fail to locate the focus of the essay.
Secondly, brainstorming for ideas for the essay is essential. Brainstorming involves writing the core ideas regarding a topic that is relevant to the essay question. These ideas should be a short phrase that is usually 2 to 3 words that are ideas related to the essay.
Thirdly, selection and rejection of ideas. This is to narrow down the list of ideas that you have on the list and only keep the ones with potential to be developed on. From my experience, usually the ones to be eliminated are the ones which are repeated ideas, too obvious and irrelevant on closer examination .
Lastly, we will categorise the ideas into classifications to ensure that a holistic essay will be written. There is no one perfect way to categorise the points. Different approach can end up with a entirely different outcome. What matters is that the classifications are logical and consistent.
3) Writing A Thesis Statement
Most GP essay requires some form of argument or discussion regarding an issue. In both types of essay, it is good to clearly state your position in a thesis statement in your opening paragraph. The thesis statement usually (but not a must) comes at the end of the first paragraph; after you have addressed the topic in question. In essence, your thesis statement must be answering the question in a succinct and relevant manner.
These are 3 tips which will help students improve in their essay writing and hopefully help them reach their full potential in writing an essay.
Wait, what about the 4th tip?
Final Tip: CONTENT AND EXAMPLES
I cannot emphasize more on the need for students to build up their bank of knowledge for current affairs. Never stop reading newspaper articles. Get yourself to read at least 5 articles every week and categorize each piece of news into a suitable GP-themed content. Have a special GP book that records all the examples in different GP themes. This will help you when you are studying for GP exam because you can always rely on the book for specific examples.
I wish students all the best in scoring A for your GP examinations.