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ERIC Number: EJ835777
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 1
ISSN: ISSN-1479-7860
"You Have 45 Minutes, Starting from Now": Helping Students Develop Their Exam Essay Skills
Willmott, Chris
Bioscience Education e-Journal, v9 Article c2 Jun 2007
In recent years academics have commonly bemoaned the lack of essay-writing ability exhibited by their students. Whether or not the halcyon era in which undergraduates routinely knew how to construct a persuasive essay ever truly existed, it is certainly the case that contemporary students can benefit from advice on preparation of a long-format written answer. In many ways, the need for training is most apparent in the context of exam essays, and yet it is this aspect of their work on which students are least likely to receive guidance and/or feedback. By their very nature, examinations tend to take place at or near the end of a module. For very practical reasons, therefore, it is not usually possible to take students analytically through their exam essays. Coupled with this, there may be a certain reticence to share annotated scripts with their authors for fear of hours lost whilst they haggle for additional credit. This article offers practical advice on the selection of material and the construction of the activities. The exam essays component of the module runs for three sessions. In the first, students are given the opportunity to read and rank a set of genuine essays written by an earlier cohort. This is followed by the students doing a timed essay under exam conditions. In the third phase, the group read and make comments on the essays written by their peers. The essays are then collected back in and passed to tutors for summative assessment. (Contains 1 table and 1 box.)
Centre for Bioscience, The Higher Education Academy. Room 9.15, Worsley Building, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT United Kingdom. Tel: +44-113-343-3001; Fax: +44-113-343-5894; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom