Реферат: How to write exam essay

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; color:red;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">HOW TO WRITE AN ESSAY<span Times New Roman",«serif»; color:red;mso-ansi-language:EN-US"> <span Times New Roman",«serif»;color:red;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">  <span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal">1. What is an essay?<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">An organized collection of YOUR IDEAS about literary texts nicely written and professionally presented.

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    In other words, the essay must bewell structured (i.e. organized) and presented in a way that the reader findseasy to follow and clear: it must look tidy and not present any obstacles tothe reader. It must have a clear readable interesting style. But, above all, itmust consist of your ideas about literary texts. This is the centre of it: this,and this only, gets the marks. Not quotes from critics, not generalisations atsecond hand about literary history, not filling and padding; your thoughts,that you have had while in the act of reading specific bits of literary texts,which can be adduced in the form of quotations to back up your arguments.

2. Why write in this way?<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US"><span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">2.1<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> Learning how to writeprofessionally

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    In theEnglish Department you learn how to respond to literary texts. This is aninteresting and worthwhile thing to do, but unless you become a teacher ofEnglish remarkably few people in later life will be interested in your thoughtsabout Jane Austen. What they will be interested in (I'm talking about potentialemployers now, but not only them) is your ability to talk, to think, and towrite. This part of the course is where you learn to write: professionally. Theguidelines that follow tell you how to do it, or rather how to learn to do it.

    They set a higher standard than isusually asked of a first year undergraduate essay in this Department. This isfor the following reasons. (1) I think it's my job to offer you the best adviceI can, not to tell you how to get by. (2) If you learn what these guidelinesteach, you will get better marks in all the essays you do from now on untilfinals. You will surprise the markers with the quality of your presentations,by producing a better quality than they expect. (3) You will learn a skill, anot-very-hard-to-learn skill, that will last you for the rest of your life.

3. Collecting the material

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    The firsttask is to get the material together. The material comes in two kinds: primaryand secondary sources. Primary sources in this case are literary texts: theactual material that you work on. Secondary sources are works of criticism.Here is your Second Important Message:

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">(ii) It is always better to read an original text andrefer to it than to read and refer to a critic.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    The moreliterary texts you read and can refer to the better. You can't possibly readtoo many. Remember, the key to your essay is the number and quality of yourideas about literary texts. If you casually refer, from at least an apparentposition of familiarity, to some obscure literary text, you will win theadmiration of your marker. If you refer to a critic, particularly an obscureone, the chances are his or her eye will glaze over. There are exceptions tothis rule, which I will mention later, but the basic principle is extremelyimportant: original texts are better than critics, and you can't know too many.Whereas it is possible to get a first class degree and never to have read anycritics at all.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">3.1<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> What are critics for?

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    The shortanswer: to be disagreed with. A longer answer: reading critics can give you anidea of what the state of critical opinion is about a literary text, to saveyou re-inventing the wheel and coming up with some brilliant originalperception that William Empson thought of sixty years ago. Reading criticsmeans that you can start at the coal face rather than have to dig your ownmine. Secondly, they can stimulate your ideas. But the thing to remember is:only your ideas obtain merit. Therefore, never, ever, quote a critic just toagree with him or her. Always, under all circumstances, quote a critic in thefollowing form: Leavis says x, but I disagree as follows. Or: Leavis says x,and this is very true, but I would develop his thought as follows. Never,NEVER: as Leavis says, followed by a quote, followed by nothing. This is verycommon in undergraduate essays, and it is simply a waste of space.

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<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">3.2<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> Books and articles

    Asecondary point about critics. They publish in two forms, books and articles.You should be familiar with the library electronic catalogue and the ways ofsearching it, in order to find books: it's not difficult, and if you don't knowhow to do it by now go immediately and find out. If you have a problem, ask alibrarian, they'd be happy to help. Just spend half an hour simply playing withthe library computer, finding out what it can do. But: books are not usually muchuse. They're usually out, as you will surely have discovered by now. And yougain no special merit points for having read them, because so has everyoneelse.

    Articles are a different matter.Articles in academic journals are (a) not normally read by undergraduates, andtherefore (b) normally on the shelves. They are more work to track down, butsuccess will be rewarded by the admiration of your examiner, becauseundergraduates aren't expected to know about such things. And they are full ofinteresting, original, and up-to-date ideas about literary texts, that, maybe,your examiner won't even have heard of (but don't count on this: stealing ideasis heavily penalized). Also of dross and garbage, of course. But this is goodtoo, because you'll have plenty to disagree with.

    The way to get hold of articles is togo to the library and play with the CD ROM workstation. There's one on everymain floor. I can't tell you here how to work it: find out, it's not difficult,and, as before, a librarian will be glad to help you; also there are copiousinstructions. Spend some time playing with it: the database you want is calledthe MLA Index. You will come up with a lot of titles that aren't in thelibrary, which is very frustrating, but from every search you will find atleast a few relevant articles, and some of these will be valuable. This isalmost guaranteed.

Note: this information is now out of date.There is a wonderful database called BIDSthat lists articles published since 1981. It's on the Web; it's easy to search,very user-friendly, and it emails you the list of articles you are interestedin. Remarkable. You need to go to the equally friendly Information Desk in theMain Library to get a login and password first.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">3.3<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> Using the World Wide Web

    TheWeb is rapidly becoming a fantastic resource: easily available, full ofmaterial, and with an an answer to every question. However, there are problems,and you should use the Web carefully.

4. Reading, making notes, having ideas<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    When youhave found the books and articles you are going to read, you will need to readthem. Here are the golden rules:

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">(iii)Always carry a notebook
Always read interactively
File and rewrite the notes so you can find them again
Make a bibliography

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    I will explain. The key is: you arein the business of making a collection of your ideas (do I have to say itagain?) about literary texts. These can come to you at any time. If you don'twrite them down, you will probably forget them. If you do write them down, youwill probably think of some more ideas while you are writing. Write them downtoo. It doesn't matter if they don't seem very good: just write them down.Carry one of those spiral-bound shorthand notebooks at all times, and, if anidea comes to you, however intimate or urgent the accompanying moment, write itdown. No-one need ever see this notebook, so you need feel noself-consciousness about what you write in it. This is perhaps the most usefulattribute of the shorthand notebook: it beats the censor. The censor is thecause of writer's block: the small voice inside your head that tells you thatwhat you're writing is rubbish. In your notebook you can ignore that voice, andas a result you will accumulate ideas. Some will be good, some bad; when youre-read the notes you can sort out one from the other more rationally thanwhile under the stress of creative writing. Thus the censor has been by-passed.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">4.1<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> Making notes

    Thebest time to have ideas is when you are reading, either a literary text or awork of criticism. This is where note-taking comes in. Don't make notes in theform of summaries, unless you need it to help you remember a plot (lecturenotes are an exception to this): it's normally best to read the thing again(and get more ideas the second time round). But always, always, read with a penand notebook to hand: read interactively. Think about what you're reading andwrite down your thoughts. Always. When a thought occurs under thesecircumstances it will be in reaction to a piece of the text at hand: aquotation. Copy out the quote, and a page reference so you can find it again tocheck it if necessary, and then put your idea underneath it. If you tie theidea in with the quote in this way, then your ideas will always be text-basedand close to the concrete life of the text, as Leavis might possibly have said.

    Always write one idea and one ideaonly per page of the shorthand notebook. Why? So that you can file them. Once aweek go through all of the notes that you've accumulated during the week. Takethem out of the shorthand notebook: tear them out, or remove the spiral. Youput headings on each note, throwing away the dross (the obvious dross, that is:dross can turn to gold if left to itself for a bit). Rewrite if necessary; makemore notes if more ideas occur. Then file them in a way that you can find themagain. Make sure you know where all the quotes came from: editions, pagenumbers, and so on.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">4.2<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> Bibliography

    For this you need a booklist, eithercomputer-based, or in the form of a card index. A bibliography, some call it.Every book you read should have its details listed in your master book-list,your card index or computer file. Author/s, title, date, publisher, shelf mark,place of publication. I repeat: every single book and article you read shouldbe in this list. In (only) two and a bit years' time when you are desperatelytrying to find something original to say about The Book of the Duchessfor an exam that is going to happenin a few weeks' or days' time, you will need this booklist and these carefullyfiled notes, containing your ideas about literary texts. Believe me.

<span Arial Unicode MS",«sans-serif»;mso-bidi-font-family:«Times New Roman»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">5. Planning and structuring

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    So: you'vegathered the material, read it, made notes, had ideas, written them down on separateslips, headed and filed them. How do you write the essay?

    Like this. You gather together all ofthe slips you have on the topic of the essay. You read through, writing newones and rewriting old ones if more or different ideas come to you, and makingsure each of them is headed. You put the headings together in a logical order(headings, sub-headings, sub-sub-headings) on a sheet of paper in the form ofan outline of the essay. You arrange the slips in order of the outline. Youassemble the pile of slips, the outline, and blank paper (or a blankword-processor screen) in front of you. You write the essay, going from headingto heading and slip to slip. The essay writes itself, painlessly, becauseyou've done most of the thinking already. On the way, you observe the followingrules and wise bits of advice.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">5.1<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> The outline

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    The plan youconstruct should be in the form of an indented outline. This is a series ofheadings and subheadings, indented, like this:

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Main heading

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">subheading 1

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">notes on subheading 1

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">subheading 2

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">notes on subheading 2

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">
and so on...

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    Behind everyessay there must be a plan of that sort. This essay on essays is built fromsuch a plan, as you can see. If you remember any lectures that use outlines,you will (I hope) remember how useful it was to have that written out in frontof you so that you knew where you were in it. Now think of an examiner, havingto read up to a hundred student essays. A decent level of concentration is hardto maintain. They get lost, and lose the thread, just as you do in lectures. Itis essential therefore that an outline like that must be obvious to him or her,clearly perceptible in the way the essay is written. In order to achieve thiseffect the easiest way is to have one, written out for your own benefitbeforehand.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">5.2<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> The paragraph

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    The secondthing, in order to maintain and make obvious a clear structure, is to be awareof the nature of the paragraph as the basic structuring unit in the essay.Basically, every paragraph should represent and flesh out a heading orsub-heading in the outline. The paragraph is the building block of the essay.Therefore:

It should be at least a third to half a page in length, but not too long or the reader will get lost. No one-sentence paragraphs! They give the impression that you read the Sun a lot. It's not good to give that impression. It should have what's known as a topic sentence, near the beginning, that announces the theme of the paragraph. The paragraph should not deviate from this theme or introduce any new themes. The first sentence should somehow be linked to, or contrast with, the last sentence of the previous paragraph. The first paragraph should announce clearly the theme of the essay. I prefer first paragraphs that quite baldly say «I am going to do this and that in this essay». (Some don't, however). In the first paragraph also you should define your version of the title and make it clear. If the marker knows from the beginning what you are going to do, s/he can bear it in mind and be aware that you are sticking to the point and developing it, because s/he will know what the point is. The last paragraph is not so important. You can proudly announce that you have fulfilled the aims of the first paragraph, if you like, or you can just end: it's up to you.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    But the mainthing is to make each paragraph a solid unit that develops a clearly announcedsub-theme of the essay. This way the indented outline that's behind it will beobvious (not too obvious: don't write subheadings before every paragraph) andthe marker will not have that terrible lost feeling that immediately precedesgiving the essay a low mark in disgust.

<span Arial Unicode MS",«sans-serif»; mso-bidi-font-family:«Times New Roman»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">6. Presentation

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    Behindeverything I've said so far there are two themes. One, just to repeat it yetone more time, in case you might have formed the idea that I don't think it'simportant, is: your ideas about literary texts are what matters. The other isthis:

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">(iv) Always put the reader first.

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    Up to now, most of the writing you'vedone has been for people who are paid to read what you've written. They have nochoice: they have to do it. After you leave here, most of the writing you willdo (in the course of your working lives) will be writing you are paid to do forother people. They won't, on the whole, have to read it: if they don't followit or feel offended by its scruffy presentation or even are having an off-dayand are not instantly seduced by its beauty and clarity, they will just throwit away and do something else instead.

    University teachers are somewhat inbetween these two classes. On the one hand, they are in fact paid to read youressays. On the other, if you can imagine the sheer labor of having to read alarge number of long assessed essays on the same topic, you can imagine thatno-one really likes doing it. It's extremely hard work, and they would normallyrather be doing something else. Therefore, if they're not immediately seducedby the clarity and beauty of the thing they're reading, they may get irritated.If this happens they won't be able to throw it away and do something else, sothey will get even more irritated. The end product of this will be: a lousymark. Or at least, a worse mark than you would otherwise get, even if the ideasare good. This is a good thing, in fact, because you can use it to train you to

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ALWAYS PUT THE READER FIRST.<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal">

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    Therefore, make your essay asbeautiful, compelling, and as professionally presented as possible, is myadvice. Here are some guidelines.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">6.1.<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> The list of works consulted

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    Every essaywithout exception should end with a list of books and articles used. Often amarker will look at this first, to see what kind of work you've done: where, asit were, you're coming from. On the whole and within reason, the longer thisis, the better. As long, that is, as you can reasonably show that you haveindeed used the works on the list.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">6.2.<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> Styling references

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    This listshould be set out in a particular and consistent way. The way I use is likethis:

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Horace Hart, Hart's Rules for Compositors and Readersat the University Press, Oxford, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983) MainLibrary General Reference 1 Z 253

    A.S. Maney and R.L. Smallwood, MHRAStyle Book, Notes for Authors, Editors and Writers of Dissertations, (London:Modern Humanities Research Association, 1981) Main Library General Reference 1Z 253 Main Library Lang. & Lit. Ref. 1 Z 253
MLA Handbook for writers of research papers, theses, and dissertations, (NewYork: MLA, 1977) Gen. Ref. Z 253

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">and,appropriately enough, these are the books that tell you how to do it properly.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    There arevarious ways of styling (as printers call it) references (ie book and articletitles) and it doesn't matter which you adopt, but you should learn one andadopt it. Hart's Rules is a beautiful little book, the printer's bibleand ultimate authority, and it's very nice to own a copy; the MLA f16 Handbookis more use for students (it has a chapter on how to do indented outlines, forinstance--see section 8 for more on this.) I have both, right by my desk, allthe time. These books will tell you how to style your references and how alsoto lay out quotations in an essay, how to refer to a book or an article in thebody of an essay, how to punctuate, and so on. I would buy one of them, if Iwere you, and use it. I very rarely look at mine now: I more or less know whatthey say. So should you: it's the essence of professionalism in writing.

    Note(1997). The English Department has now published its own ideas about how todo styling.        There are here. Myadvice is, start using this document NOW!

    Checkalso the method for arranging references in the text. They should be indentedon each side and separated from the rest of the text with a white line aboveand below, if they are longer than a line or so. And they should have areference: author, title, and page number.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">6.3.<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> Type it if at all possible

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    No, youdon't have to type it. But if you do then it will be far easier for the reader.And rule (iv) is? Right: put the reader first. In any case, studies have shownthat particular kinds of handwriting influence (without their knowing it)readers of literary essays such that they get lower marks. I would guess thattyped essays tend to get higher marks, but this is just a guess. But it is myhonest and truthful opinion that if you hand in an assessed essay (that is, anessay written for marks that will count towards your final degree) and it's nottyped, you would be making a foolish mistake.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    If you areusing a word processor, take some time to get the layout right. Double space,with an extra space between paragraphs. The first line of a paragraph should beindented. Number the pages, and put in a header with the short title of theessay and your name in it. A4 paper. If you want to beautify it withillustrations, drop capitals, a beautiful title page, hand illuminated or goldleaf embellishments, that's fine, though it's not expected. (I should perhapsstress that the gold leaf is a joke.) And:make sure you use the spelling checker, before you print it.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    A note onsafe computing. While you are actually working on a document, it is held inRAM. All that you need to know about this is that RAM is volatile. This meansthat if a passing friend trips over the power cable, pulling it out of thewall, the computer will go down, and everything in RAM will vanish utterly forever. What you will lose is everything you created since you last saved todisk. Moral: save to disk frequently. At least every ten minutes. Secondly, youshould develop the feeling that whenever you switch the computer off, you aredoing a dangerous thing. Dangerous to your data, that is. When you switch it onagain, there is no guarantee whatsoever that it will come up and present youwith your work. It might crash. It probably won't, it's quite unlikely thatanything bad will happen, but nonetheless this is the time of maximum dangerfor your essay. I have been working with computers equipped with hard disks since1987, and in that time so far I have had three hard disk crashes. Wipeout.Obliteration. Everything gone for ever. I have also had computers stolen twice,from burglary: end result: once more, all the data on the hard disk gone forever.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    As a result,I never switch off the computer without making sure that all the data on itthat I don't mind losing is backed up. Never. Ever. This means that whateverI've worked on since the last time I switched the machine off gets copied on tofloppy disks or zip disks. If it's creative writing, like your essay, I usuallymake two or even three copies. If I feel really nervous about losing it, Iprint the file out on to paper, as a final security. I really advise you to dothe same.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    One finalpoint: the last time I had a computer burgled, I was immaculately backed up,and I still lost some data. Why? I left one of the backup disks inside themachine…

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">6.4.<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> One side of the paper only

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    When I tellstudents to write on one side of the paper only, they give me the same lookthat I frequently get from my cat: «Is this man totally out of hismind?» it says. Look: it makes it easier for the reader. A lot easier.Rule (iv) is? If that doesn't convince you, try sending any piece of writingwhatsoever to any form of publication whatsoever, written on both sides of thepaper, and see how long it takes for them to send it back. Unread. (They'llalso send it back unread if you don't type it, incidentally.)

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language: EN-US">6.5.<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> Spelling and punctuation

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    There is asimple but unpleasant rule about this.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">(v) If you produce work that is mis-spelt and/or badlypunctuated and/or ungrammatical, however good the ideas are, people will tendto think that you are stupid.

    Theywill be wrong; it will just mean that you can't spell, or can't punctuate, ordon't know some of the grammar rules. Nonetheless, that's what they will think.Since it will almost always be in your best interests to show that you areintelligent, rather than stupid, if you have a problem in any of these areasyou should do something about it. If you have a word processor, get a spellingchecker. Persuade someone you know who can spell, punctuate, etc. to read overyour work first and check it: learn the sort of mistakes you make, and don'tmake them again.

There are very good suggestions on how tomanage punctuation in the Oxford Guide to Writing. If you have a problem with punctuation, I strongly suggest you gethold of this book.

Another much cheaper and also excellent book isPlain English, by Diané Collinson et al. (<a href=«www.bookpages.com/Twist/twist.plx?form=BookpagesScriptsBookDetails.htx&UID=939401!PPP=20!CID=1!CSL=P!CXR=1!CS=%20&ISBN=»0335156754">book details and current price

) (<a href=«library.bham.ac.uk/www-bin/www_talis32?nextpage=www_frame_start&nohit=location-nohits&many=location-many&exact=location-exact&error=location-error&execute=location-list&work_id=625833&browse=0&collection=1&search_type=8&refs_pos=»0&AUTHOR%20">Library reference).

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    There is oneparticular error that is very common, students quite often are in the habit ofrunning two or more sentences together and joining them with commas, it isreally a very bad idea to do this, a marker when he or she sees it will becomevery irritated, I hope you are by now with the strange breathless quality ofthis sentence. Don't do it. A sentence is a sentence. It should end in a fullstop. Putting two sentences together with commas between them is becomingacceptable in creative writing, but it's still a bad idea to do it in an essay.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">6.6<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;font-weight:normal"> Handing it in.

    Controversy rages over the best way to bindthe thing. My own view is this. It should be simple, cheap, and easy for theexaminer. The pages should not be stapled, clipped, or in any way fastenedtogether. They should not be bound! Some people like to bind them in apresentation folder, often designed by the same person who invented the rattrap, featuring spiked and sharpened strips of brass. Sometimes the essays comeback with the examiner's blood on them. This doesn't necessarily guarantee alower mark, but there's always that possibility. I accept that the motivationbehind this kind of presentation is good, and appreciate it as such, but it'sreally not a good idea. Go for loose sheets, each page numbered, your name atthe top of each page, of course written on one side only, and held together ina simple plastic sleeve: the kind with punched holes down one side and anopening in the top only. This keeps the essay clean and coherent, is unlikelyto lacerate the examiner, and takes up no extra room, so the essays can bestacked without them falling all over the place.

7. How to write<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">    Style is notsomething I can prescribe in a set of notes like this. Write well: if you haveany problems in this direction, it is for your tutor to tell you about them.But here are a few random points instead.

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US; font-weight:normal">Register

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">This iswhat linguists call a style appropriate to the occasion. Be aware: a certainscholarly gravity is called for. Not too heavy so that it's uninteresting. Butavoid colloquial abbreviations: should not, not shouldn't. Jokes are hazardous:if they don't [do not follow my practice as regards don't] work, they can costyou a lot. Avoid them, on the whole: or at least don't be jokey. Don't forgoodness sake imitate the way I'm writing here, either the rather flippantcolloquial style or the somewhat overbearing tone, or the numbered subheadings.This is an essay on how to write a literary essay, not a literary essay.

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<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US; font-weight:normal">Quotations

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Firstly,quote sufficiently but not too copiously. Not more than a third of a(handwritten) page at the very outside, and usually just a few lines at a time.It's your thought, not the quotation, that is the point. On the other hand,never forget that your ideas should be tied firmly into the text, and that youshould demonstrate this by quotation. Secondly, always give page numbers foryour quotations: you will need to know where to find them again.

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<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US; font-weight:normal">Short paragraphs

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">No shortparagraphs.

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<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US; font-weight:normal">Length

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Anon-assessed essay should be about six sides of handwritten or four sides oftyped A4 at least.

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<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US; font-weight:normal">Copy it

<span Times New Roman",«serif»; mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Always

<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">make aphotocopy of any essay you do before you hand it in. Academics are veryunreliable, and not uncommonly lose essays.

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8. Getting it back

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<span Times New Roman",«serif»;mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Here is asummary of things to keep in your mind about writing an essay. When I mark anessay, they are the things that I particularly look out for:

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Use of critics (ie don't slavishly agree with them) Range of reference to literary texts, including obscure ones Clear and perceptible structure Interesting ideas tied in to quotations The paragraph:

2. Topic sentence
3. First sentence, last sentence
4. First paragraph (sets out themes)

List of works consulted (properly styled) Quotations properly laid out, and references styled properly One side of the paper only Spelling and punctuation

9. Two how-to-do-it books

<a href=«library.bham.ac.uk/www-bin/www_talis/default?execute=title-search&input=MLA+Handbook+for+writers+of+research+papers&TITLE_PROMPT_NAME=input&coll_name=»Main+Catalogue">MLA Handbook forwriters of research papers, theses, and dissertations

, (New York: MLA, 1977) Gen.Ref. Z 253.

    Thisis the most useful text to buy. It has notes on everything you need, includinghow to do indented outlines. It's not as full or as easy to understand as thenext title below, but it's all there.

Update (<st1:date Year=«1999» Day=«27» Month=«3» w:st=«on»>27/3/99</st1:date>): you don't have to buy it any more. It's here, in a really helpful frame format. This is wonderful. All studentsshould use this site all the time.

Kane, Thomas S, <a href=«library.bham.ac.uk/www-bin/www_talis/default?execute=title-search&input=The+Oxford+Guide+to+Writing&TITLE_PROMPT_NAME=input&coll_name=»Main+Catalogue">The Oxford Guide to Writing

, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983).

    Thisbook has it all: how to make an indented outline, how to spell, how topunctuate, how to write a paragraph, how to take notes, how to sharpen yourpencil--everything. The bad news is that (a) it's rather American, and (b) it'sout of print. Go and look at the short loan copy and photocopy anything youfind useful. It's of particular use if you have any punctuation problems.

10. Read a different poem every day.

   Finally. One of the key attributes of success in an English course isknowledge of a wide variety of styles, periods, and topics in EnglishLiterature. Hereis a painless way oflearning this. Subscribe to this site and they will email you a different poemevery day. Take time every day to read the poem, think about it, and post ashort comment on their bulletin board. The site is frustrating and oftenbizarre, but the exercise is the most useful single thing I can think of at themoment for an English student to do.

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