How to Answer Essay Questions

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Exams always come with varied types of questions. Certain sections may include options for each question, while other sections allow you to try matching corresponding pairs. Other times, it asks you to identify the subject of the description. The essay question is also one of the most prevalent exam questions. They seek answers in the form of phrases and paragraphs.

Tutors have a lot of experience with essay-style questions since they create them for their students as well, particularly when they are getting ready for their O-levels. It is vital for students to furnish backing, expound, and showcase their opinions through an essay format, especially in courses such as the humanities that incorporate case studies and organized essay topics. In other topics, like Science, there are also questions that require you to explain and describe a specific process, like cell division or photosynthesis.

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How to answer essay questions?

However, students frequently find essay-style questions to be challenging. Ultimately, it’s more convenient to respond with a single word or a few brief sentences than to explain. Additionally, they may easily stray from the subject at hand and skirt the query without providing a response. On the other hand, essay questions really help students because they help them write more effectively and organize their ideas and viewpoints. We’ve put together a few strategies to assist you in responding to essay questions.

1. Plan your essay

Planning is, of course, the starting point in everything. Yet one of the most frequent errors students make when responding to essay questions is not planning what they will say. This will then cause them to stray from the subject since they will only answer the question without considering its significance or omitting information that could have strengthened their response.

Writing down your thoughts on the question first is the best course of action in this situation. This will assist you in recording all of your thoughts so you don’t forget or overlook anything important to discuss. Next, make a plan for how you will approach your essay. Will it be more persuasive or a case for your position? In this manner, you would be aware of the strategy you would employ and the best technique to present your main point before you ever write a word of your essay.

If you want to practice doing this, we suggest doing essay exercises. Don’t immediately go and write an essay. Instead, write down notes and your key points and outline a draft before writing the entire essay.

2. Make use of structure and formats

Answering essay questions requires adhering to a set format. The structure is crucial because it aids in the flow of your essay and helps to keep your ideas and points organized. It will also make it simpler to outline your points. Acronyms like MEAL, which stands for Main idea, Evidence, Analysis, and Link, make some formats and frameworks simple to remember. Alternatively, you can use different structures like MEAEAL (Main point, Evidence, Analyze evidence, Evidence, Analyze evidence, Link) or PEEL (Point, Evidence, Elaboration, Link).

If you are having trouble remembering formats, you can ask your home tutor to print out a template for you to use, but once you get used to it, you are bound to remember it every time you write an essay. We also suggest experimenting with which formats and structures work best for you and the topic.

3. Use as much evidence as possible

When writing essays or responding to essay questions, evidence is another crucial component that must be there. Whatever argument you wish to make, you must have them support it. They bolster your arguments and lend credibility to your responses. As support for your claims, provide data, figures, study findings, or quotations. Make sure, nevertheless, that the sources of your proof are reliable and legitimate as well. If you include invalid evidence, your essay response can become shallow and untrustworthy.

You may be asking, how to do this? After all, it’s not always that you have that evidence in mind or memorized. We suggest highlighting key points and important information such as dates or events when you are studying. This is even more useful for subjects like History, Literature, or Social Studies. That way, you are more likely to remember these details to use as evidence when writing your essay.

4. Practice answering essay questions

One of the best ways to help them is to practice answering essay questions yourself. You are more likely to get used to responding to questions of this nature if you practice addressing them. It also aids in the development of a response routine, such as organizing your essay before you start writing it. You can make better use of your time by developing this systematic habit of answering these questions throughout tests and organizing your essay in a more logical way.

Of course, some students might find this burdensome. However, as they say, practice makes perfect. And when you receive that A on the test, you’ll be appreciative of all your hard work.

5. Keep up with real-world happenings

It is common for structured essay topics in Social Studies or Geography to accept real-world experience as a response. Get up to date on current events and stories from the actual world that can be relevant to your essay or answers. Keep up with current events and peruse articles that may surface while conducting research. Being up to date on the most current research is one of the best strategies to add credibility to your essay. If there is a question on a particular subject that you have heard about or seen in the news recently, it will add interest to your essay and offer more supporting information.


Many students find answering essay-style questions intimidating, and you might find it challenging. But always keep in mind that the only thing you need to do to make your point more effective is to convey your views in the clearest, most concise manner possible. Add in credible shreds of evidence and you have yourself a solid essay answer.


Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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