July 31, 2020 HSC marking

How to write interesting essays

Essay writing is like story telling – it demonstrates to the marker an understanding that is developed by you as the student when studying English at school.

To write an interesting essay is a rare skill as students often think they must adhere to what their teacher gathers from a book or article, what their peers have said or what they have found on sparknotes.

Although it is important to utilise information from all these sources, students often believe this is the only way to write an “amazing” essay – however this could not be further from the truth. An “interesting” essay is one that has a personal voice, one that explores different ideas and thoughts and one that awakens a fresh perspective for the reader. Therefore to create an interesting essay you as the student need to develop your own idea on what you believe your text is about.

For example when studying for “Hamlet” many students will opt for the response that hamlet is a thwarted teenage boy who suffers from the pain of his fathers death. However maybe when you were reading the play you realised that he is a philosophical antihero whose existential anguish arises from an absolute freedom of choice and as resolve he must create an identity or you discovered that metatheatricality permeates the underbellies of our existence.

My point is, the first step to writing interesting essays is develop your own ideas for the topic of your essay question. The next stage for interesting essay writing is to make sure you are delivering your material and take on the text in an interesting way. sure it is important to use famous quotes such as “to be or not to be that is the question” but also search the text for others that other students may not use. By doing so you are providing the essay an unique lens which shows the marker that you have delved into the text and drawn your own creative response from within it (rubric dotpoint!). Also by doing so you are steering away from a “typical”essay as your evidence for the text to support your idea is unique and your own reading.

Another type for creating an interesting essay is to cross reference other famous texts or provide evidence through using quotes from scholars – however don’t just throw random statements into your writing because they “look smart”, use external references to back up what you are saying about your text.Therefore through changing how you read and write about a text studied in class you can add your own unique and personal voice which shows the marker you are a critical thinker, thus creating an “interesting” essay which diverts from everyone else’s. Plus you will find more enjoyment when studying your text as you are examining the text beyond the curriculum and through your own distinctive lenses.

By Isabella Matthews, an Alchemy tutor

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