cheerIeader
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Hi everyone,

I never thought I had an issue with introductions/conclusions before because I've always scored relatively highly across my essay subjects. However, I've found that in my English A-Level, my introductions/conclusions are often weak and generalised and not specifically aimed at the question given, which leads to clunky points and me often forcing everything I know into an answer rather than relating them to the question of the task.

Does anyone have any advice for setting up a strong introduction/conclusion? Any additional tips about linking the body of the essay back to the initial thesis or tips on planning essays in advance?

And also would you recommend having minimal strong points or a very wide range? I found in lots of my essays the highest I was scoring was a band 5 (around a B grade) and I never completely understood why, but i do think it came down to not following a clear argument. Thank you. x
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Quick-use
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I promise to get back to this later tonight! You have my word. :rambo:
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cheerIeader
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I promise to get back to this later tonight! You have my word. :rambo:
Hi, thank you so much. Also I have another essay I wanted to PM you but it says you aren't accepting messages or something?
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Quick-use
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Hi, thank you so much. Also I have another essay I wanted to PM you but it says you aren't accepting messages or something?
Oh, really? I'm so sorry. I was tinkering around with my settings earlier in the week. Apologies! I'll fix them now. Try messaging me in a few minutes. :rambo:
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monsoons
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I follow a simple structure for my intros that tends to get me good marks - feel free to adapt it however you see fit. So say the question is "In 'A Room with a View', explore how E. M. Forster presents ideas of repressed desire." I would advise you do the following in your intro:
- Introduce your text, with the title and author, in just a sentence or two (e.g. "E. M. Forster's postmodern novel 'A Room with a View' follows our protagonist Lucy Honeychurch as she emerges anew from the cultural hive of Italy, and tries her utmost to suppress the new desires springing forth in her heart.")
- Lay out some good context about the time the text was written or whatever contexts are relevant, and make sure it links to the essay question (e.g. "Written during a pivotal period in early 20th century England, as the country emerged from the constraints of Victorian gentility and stifling social conventions, Forster advocated for the liberation of the soul and condemned the social pressures that forced an individual's desires to be repressed.")
- Then answer the question directly, giving your overall thesis - you should summarise your key paragraph points here. You should also include some authorial methods (e.g. "Forster presents repressed desire in this novel through Lucy's suppression of her attraction to George, as well as through the sensual language used when describing her piano-playing, which underpins the extent to which music allows her to freely express her desires. He also presents repressed desires through the character of Cecil, whose prim and restrained manner greatly juxtaposes with George, just as the Renaissance man does with the medieval; one represents virility and freedom, while the other stands for self-restraint and repression.")

That should give you a solid intro. Context and a thesis are imperative. Also, when I first plan the essay, I think of three points relating to the question and then incorporate them into the intro, with some AO2 thrown in the intro too, so that everything just fits together nicely from there. Let me know if this helped in any way!
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Kryptonitekid43
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I also struggled with the number of points. I was told
Intro
Para 1
Para 2
Para 3 (conditional only if it will have a good amount of content and analysis otherwise just enlarge the other 2)
Conclusion

Regarding introductions and conclusion
Here something similar to what I wrote in my exam

In Tennessee Williams’s “A streetcar named Desire” Williams juxtaposes the modern working class against the old South through the characters of balance and Stanley. While Williams shows the modern working class to be winning the struggle as shown by the metaphor of Stanley raping Blanche; he does not go so far as to criticise all aspects of the South. While it is a fair statement to argue that Williams writes in favour of the working class, to suggest he does so definitively would be a misreading of the play.

In conclusion, while Williams presents the working class as the emergent victors of the class struggle; he uses the rape of Blanche to present the victory as a pyrrhic one and a cause of suffering. Williams’s sympathetic portrayal of Blanche throughout the play acts as further evidence of Williams not presenting the South in a critical light. Ultimately, while Williams shows a personal bias towards the upcoming working class, to claim he does so definitively at the expense of the South is an incorrect reading of the play.

This was the way I did them, I don’t know if it will but I Hope this helps!
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cheerIeader
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(Original post by monsoons)
I follow a simple structure for my intros that tends to get me good marks - feel free to adapt it however you see fit. So say the question is "In 'A Room with a View', explore how E. M. Forster presents ideas of repressed desire." I would advise you do the following in your intro:
- Introduce your text, with the title and author, in just a sentence or two (e.g. "E. M. Forster's postmodern novel 'A Room with a View' follows our protagonist Lucy Honeychurch as she emerges anew from the cultural hive of Italy, and tries her utmost to suppress the new desires springing forth in her heart.")
- Lay out some good context about the time the text was written or whatever contexts are relevant, and make sure it links to the essay question (e.g. "Written during a pivotal period in early 20th century England, as the country emerged from the constraints of Victorian gentility and stifling social conventions, Forster advocated for the liberation of the soul and condemned the social pressures that forced an individual's desires to be repressed.")
- Then answer the question directly, giving your overall thesis - you should summarise your key paragraph points here. You should also include some authorial methods (e.g. "Forster presents repressed desire in this novel through Lucy's suppression of her attraction to George, as well as through the sensual language used when describing her piano-playing, which underpins the extent to which music allows her to freely express her desires. He also presents repressed desires through the character of Cecil, whose prim and restrained manner greatly juxtaposes with George, just as the Renaissance man does with the medieval; one represents virility and freedom, while the other stands for self-restraint and repression.")

That should give you a solid intro. Context and a thesis are imperative. Also, when I first plan the essay, I think of three points relating to the question and then incorporate them into the intro, with some AO2 thrown in the intro too, so that everything just fits together nicely from there. Let me know if this helped in any way!
This is amazing, thank you! I always found that my introductions were rushed and not key to the essay itself but what I've found is, introductions are crucial and can be used to gain marks. This was really useful, I appreciate it. I was also wondering because you said you think of three points relating to the question, is that you briefly outlining all or some of the points which you are going to use in your essay within the introduction?
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monsoons
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(Original post by cheerIeader)
This is amazing, thank you! I always found that my introductions were rushed and not key to the essay itself but what I've found is, introductions are crucial and can be used to gain marks. This was really useful, I appreciate it. I was also wondering because you said you think of three points relating to the question, is that you briefly outlining all or some of the points which you are going to use in your essay within the introduction?
I'm glad it helped! AO1 is all about your written response and how well you write, so how good your intro is definitely contributes to how many marks you get for AO1. Remember, AO1 amounts to 28% of your marks, which is the highest percentage of all the AOs. And to answer your question, in the intro I outlined all the points I was going to make in the essay, because there are only three so you may as well. Let me know if you have any other questions in the future!
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cheerIeader
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(Original post by monsoons)
I'm glad it helped! AO1 is all about your written response and how well you write, so how good your intro is definitely contributes to how many marks you get for AO1. Remember, AO1 amounts to 28% of your marks, which is the highest percentage of all the AOs. And to answer your question, in the intro I outlined all the points I was going to make in the essay, because there are only three so you may as well. Let me know if you have any other questions in the future!
Oh okay. That was actually another thing I wanted to ask about.. how many paragraphs/points should be used within this type of answer?
I feel sometimes I may go overboard with making points so just wanted to ask about a reasonable/good amount to make for a 25 mark essay. Also thank you again, that was a really helpful concept of an introduction. x
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monsoons
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(Original post by cheerIeader)
Oh okay. That was actually another thing I wanted to ask about.. how many paragraphs/points should be used within this type of answer?
I feel sometimes I may go overboard with making points so just wanted to ask about a reasonable/good amount to make for a 25 mark essay. Also thank you again, that was a really helpful concept of an introduction. x
For a 25 marker, which I believe all the essays are for the AQA board, three points should be perfectly fine. So before you start writing the essay, think of three points relevant to the question. For the example question that I gave before, the three points would be 1) repressed desire is shown through Lucy's suppression of her attraction to George 2) repressed desire is shown when Lucy plays the piano, as her true desires and emotions are expressed through music and 3) repressed desire is shown through Cecil, whose manner is restrained and disciplined etc. And then think of AO3, AO4 and AO5 to go with each point (AO3 is context - which has to be specific, and not just sweeping generalisations like "at this period in time women were unequal"; AO4 is links to other literary texts, so wider reading such as other novels or books or perhaps essays, and AO5 is interpretations such as feminist interpretations, modern audience interpretations, movie and stage interpretations, critics etc.). Once you've planned all this, your plan's done and you can start the essay. The essay should be as follows:

- Intro (structured how I described before)
- Para 1 (your first point, give a quote, state the technique, state its impact which is linked to the question, repeat several times; then add in AO3, AO4, AO5)
- Para 2 (your second point, same as above, AO3, AO4, AO5)
- Para 3 (your third point, same as above, AO3, AO4, AO5)
- Conclusion

That should give you a band 5 mark, if your analysis is good enough and your AOs are relevant. You can even make your third main body paragraph shorter if your first two are long and good enough. Hope this helps! Feel free to send me any essay you've written if you want me to give you more specific advice.
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(Original post by cheerIeader)
Hi, thank you so much. Also I have another essay I wanted to PM you but it says you aren't accepting messages or something?
Hey, try sending me PMs? Sorry for not being so consistent with my replies but feel free to message me whatever you have, including any further questions you might want to ask. I'll gladly answer tonight and also provide you with some of my own material from university etc. :rambo:
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cheerIeader
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(Original post by Quick-use)
Hey, try sending me PMs? Sorry for not being so consistent with my replies but feel free to message me whatever you have, including any further questions you might want to ask. I'll gladly answer tonight and also provide you with some of my own material from university etc. :rambo:
Still not able to send messages at the mo, same restricted messages. And thank you, I appreciate that. x
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