The first thing the marker reads is your introduction, and thus a solid introduction can engage the marker and make them actually want to read your essay. The other advantage of a decent introduction is that if for some reason you don’t get to finish your essay, the marker will at least know what you intended to talk about, and can give you some credit for being on the right track. It will definitely improve your mark overall if you can indicate that you know what you are talking about and what you would say if you had time in your introduction. This is not to say you should waste your time writing a perfect page long introduction, but rather that the introduction is important so don’t spoil your chances of getting a good mark by not introducing your essay properly!
A good introduction will always:
a) Start with a thesis that DIRECTLY RESPONDS TO THE QUESTION. You have 40 minutes to write an essay so there is no time to start with philosophical musings about the topic or write random things you happen to remember about the module you are writing about.
What is a thesis?
A thesis is just a fancy word for an argument or overall point of view. Your opening thesis statement basically needs to state an argument that you will develop and provide evidence for throughout your essay. There is no need for this to be complex, but better essays generally will have a thesis that responds to the question without using the exact wording of the question. For example:
“Curiosity is essential to finding a true sense of discovery” Discuss
An A-grade thesis would be something that indicates your personal response to the question. Remember that you do not have to agree with the statement, you can disagree or you can be really tricky and agree and disagree with the question. Better essays are always those that can argue and counter argue.
The complex nature of the concept of discovery means that a true sense of discovery can be found in different circumstances for different people, however, many individuals find that they discover the most when they trust in their curiosity.
This is a good thesis because it
- Shows you know something about the concept of discovery
- Refers to the question without using all the exact words
- Is broad enough to allow you to develop good arguments, and then counterarguments
- Uses definitive words such as “means” and “find” instead of using words such as may. This makes it sound argumentative, which is a good thing as the purpose of an essay is to argue.
However, writing a thesis such as the one above will not come naturally to a lot of students. For these students who find it difficult to develop thesis statements, the best route is to take words out of the question. This will show the marker that you have understood the question and know what you need to write about in order to answer this question.
In order to discover, people need to seek out ideas as well as develop relationships with other people and places.
This is also a good thesis because:
- It is a direct response to the question
- It is broad enough to allow you to develop an argument
- It demonstrates that you have understood the question-the word “essential” basically means something that you need or must have.
When writing a thesis, remember that it has to be an argument, but also that you must be able to support this argument with evidence in your body paragraphs. There is no formula for writing a perfect thesis as every question is different, but if you keep in mind the above points and practice, writing theses will hopefully become a lot easier!
b) A good introduction will have at least one sentence that expands on the thesis.
This will help you to show you know what you will be talking about in the essay and hopefully make the point you are trying to prove by writing this essay a little clearer to the marker.
c) Name the texts and composers that will be referred to throughout the essay
Names of texts should be Underlined. How exactly you name the texts and authors really depends on the module, so see the specific post for each of these!
d) Outline the points you will be making in the essay
To fulfill its purpose, the introduction must give a proper overview of the arguments you will be making. There is no need for excessive detail here, just state the general arguments you will be making in one long or two short sentences if necessary. See the sample introduction and each module’s essay writing blog post for further guidance on how to outline arguments in the introduction.
Also, make sure to read: