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Writing for Tests

If you are writing an essay as part of a test you will have no access to resources but you will need to show that you understand the arguments that various authors make on the topic before you.

Writing Essays

When writing an extended essay the first thing to do is to find out what resources are available. If you have been assigned a question by your teacher then you will likely have also been supplied with a reading list. The real task is to go through the readings and see what the various authors have to say about your particular topic. There is never one single answer to a set question - even the most famous authors disagree. Your task is to analyse the various arguments and to show that you understand different points of view. If you have something valid to add to the debate then so much the better.

At the end of your essay add a list of references (your teacher should inform you of the referencing style to be used). This list shows the reader the extent of your reading and also the locations of the sources you have cited in the text. There is no need to supply a bibliography for an essay.

Writing a Thesis

If you are writing a thesis it is common to separate your sources into primary and secondary source materials. Primary materials refer to original manuscripts, or texts that you have accessed in their original language. Secondary materials refer to comments on originals made by others.

At the end of your thesis you should include a reference section and bibliography. These show the reader where your ideas came from and also allow others to follow up on your research.

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Last modified: 02-11-2013