Skip to content

Answering the question accurately is the first requirement of any successful essay.

elephant button 11 When you are given an assignment it is critical that you read the question carefully and understand what it is you are being asked to do.
elephant button 113 In order to do this you need to identify the key words and phrases in the question.
elephant button 11 These will give you vital clues as to how to answer it – how to structure it, what to include and how to stay on track.
Remember... Always answer the question!

There are four main elements to look for

Instruction word The Aspect of the subject
These words tell you what to do, for example, to analyse, describe, or discuss a given topic. See To learn more for a list of instruction words and their meanings. The aspect of the subject directs you to focus on a specific element of the essay topic, for example, its importance, efficiency, impact or value.
Discuss the value of ethics in business
The Subject Scoping word
This defines the broad topic of your essay. How you write about it will be determined by the other key words in the question. This word acts as a ‘limiter’, helping you to narrow down your answer by identifying the restrictions or boundaries of the topic in question.

Useful strategies

Underlining or highlighting key words and phrases in the question will help you stay on track as you write.

If the question is long or complex break it down into its individual parts.

Look out for additional instructions. For example, ‘Discuss, with reference to theory x…’. Make sure you include these extra requirements in your answer.

Keep referring back to the question as you write to ensure that you are answering it accurately.

If, after careful consideration of the question, you’re still confused, ask your tutor for clarity.

Back To Top