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How to Answer an Essay Question

Joan Sedita, M.Ed.


1. Read the question twice.


2. Underline key words. Note how many parts there are to the question.


3. In the margin or on a scratch piece of paper, jot down and categorize information that answers the question in an informal outline.


4. Restate the question in an introductory sentence; state how you intend to answer the question.


5. Write out the answer following your outline. Use a new paragraph for each main idea and be concise. Give examples and supporting evidence when possible. Include transition words to connect your sentences and paragraphs.


6. Proofread for punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure. Be sure you have answered the question completely.




Joan Sedita, M.Ed., an experienced educator, nationally recognized speaker, and author, is director of Sedita Learning Strategies, a consulting and teacher-training service.



This article is reprinted from the Student Newsletter for Success, Volume 2, May 2003, published by LDW® through a generous grant from Commonwealth Learning Center. The purpose of the Newsletter is for parents to share with their children, for teachers to distribute to their students, and for pediatricians to leave in their waiting room for clients.

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