October 21, 2020

3 Guidelines for Selecting the Right Essay Question in an Examination

Reading Time: 2 minutes

So the D-day has finally arrived and here you are, faced with a number of essay topics from which you must select one or two to write on.

To come out smiling with your head held high, and to maximise your score you need to choose wisely. Because if you select a question which is not the best fit for you, you may end up producing a sub-standard essay.

Read also: Top 10 Essential Features of a High-Grade Academic Essay

How can you select the best essay question for you in a test?

Working with the below guidelines would make it easier for you to select the right examination question.

1. Read closely each one of the available questions.

No need to be in haste here. Take your time to assess each question properly so that you will discover everything you need to know about it.

It is only by paying close attention to the details that you will avoid making the mistake of choosing the wrong test question.

2. Make a shortlist

This should at best be a mental shortlist or a simple act of ticking a select few.

Your shortlist is a selection of the questions with which you feel more at home.

From your shortlist, you should now pick the particular question or questions you will be answering.

But, hold on a bit. Before you begin to write your best essay …

3. Ask yourself, why this one?

Ascertain the factor or factors that motivated you to select a particular question instead of the others.

  • Is it due to your familiarity with the topic or required subject matter? Example, sanitation, technology, a special event, road transport, air travel etc.
  • Or is it the relative ease with which you can handle essays belonging to that particular category or format? Example, article, report, creating writing, speech, etc.
  • Does your choice stem from the fact that you were keen on writing on that particular topic and so have thoroughly prepared for it?
  • Or could it be due to pressure coming from a colleague candidate who thinks that’s the greatest topic in the world?

Now, listen to me.

If you answer yes to at least any two of the first three questions above, then you can be sure that you will write a high scoring essay to the best of your ability.

On the other hand, a yes answer to only the second and fourth questions above is not good enough.

For the second one, the fact that you can easily work with that particular format does not necessarily mean you have a full grasp of the required content as well. So be careful.

As for the last question, you and I know that your colleague is not the one going to write your essay for you. You are. That is why what you think, and your own instincts are what matter most in making this crucial decision.

In that event, do another search to ensure that you settle on an essay topic that you’re most comfortable with and competent at.

Remember …

An essay topic chosen well is half the job done and a time, however long, well-invested.

I trust that you found these guidelines for choosing the right examination essay question very helpful.

Thank you for stopping by.

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Ralph Nyadzi

Ralph has a passion for the teaching and learning of Language and Literature mainly because these two help him to understand and appreciate why people act the way they do. Over the past two decades, he has coached over 5000 students and adult learners to achieve their educational goals. Ralph is the founder and CEO of Cegast Academy.

View all posts by Ralph Nyadzi →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up to have personalized learning/teaching tips, tools & tricks delivered into your inbox.