Understanding Texts

Writing Your Assessment: How to Structure Your Essay

Writing Your Assessment: How to Structure Your Essay

CaptureWhen teachers or other people read your writing, they do not want to see a whole block of text. You want to get your points across as clearly as possible which means writing points clearly and concisely and linking them. However, you can make a positive impression even before someone starts reading your work by splitting it into paragraphs for each point. This allows people to see exactly when you are moving on. Here are a few paragraph tips:

  • Make sure your paragraphs are clearly indicated by either leaving a line between each one or by indenting it significantly (between 1-2cm).
  • Paragraphs should generally be around the same length so that your points are clearly balanced. As you have to include point, evidence and analysis for each paragraph, this should happen anyway.
  • Small quotations can be embedded in your writing. However, if you are including a long quotation, longer than two lines, you should leave a space above and below the quote to separate it from your writing. Below is an example:
…The sympathies of the reader are clearly meant to be with the Creature in Frankensteinas he describes his ‘miserable existence’4 and unsuccessful contact with humans:“I had hardly placed my foot in the door, before the children shrieked, and one of the women fainted. The whole village was roused; some fled, some attacked me, until, grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds of missile weapons, I escaped to the open country.”Though people may not be able to identify fully with the Creature’s experience of extreme rejection, one could identify with the loneliness he feels…


The opening sentence should summarise your entire argument, stating the element that will link all your points together. As far as the rest of your first paragraph, it should briefly describe the points you are going to make. This will give the reader a clear sense of what to expect from your essay.

Main Body of the Essay

Again, you should think of PEA (Point, Evidence, Analysis). In each paragraph, you should make a point which helps answer your assessment question. Evidence and examples are also needed, as well as in-depth analysis and further comment on them. Go into as much detail as is relevant and always ask yourself why with every statement made.


A conclusion will do two things: summarise the points you have made and try to further convince the reader that they should support your argument.

Controlled Assessment Wisdom

Here are a few tips on writing your Controlled Assessment

  • Decide your overall argument for your essay. For example, if you are writing about the how the theme of racism relates to characters in The Merchant of Venice, decide on an overall statement which each of your arguments will support. It could be Racism appears to be far more ingrained in society during Shakespearean times.
  • Plan exactly what you are going to write in each paragraph. Write down each of your arguments, at least two pieces of evidence to support them and how you are going to explain this evidence.
  • Remember that this essay is all about interpreting writing. You do not need to find direct statements but can identify relationships to themes or character traits through actions. If you read about one character acting in a harsh way to another, you can explain that this makes them cruel. You do not need the author to write ‘He was a cruel character.’
    • Structure is the key to making your answers clear. If you plan out your structure, you will be able to answer questions more quickly and effectively because you will know exactly where your argument is going.