Example 1: Commentators seem to disagree as to the current state of the



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Essay question examples

Example 1:
"Commentators seem to disagree as to the current state of the live event sector. Demonstrate to the private investor how critical factors in the business environment will affect this sector’s component elements, in the short, medium and long-term."
Business Studies BA (Hons)


  1. Most of the introductory comment simply adds focus. However, notice that the topic ‘live event sector’ is missing from the rest of the question. This really is a key phrase.

  2. ‘Demonstrate’ is the process. Notice that the question adds ‘to the private investor’; this suggests a particular style of writing.


  3. Again, we have picked out the key nouns that are not otherwise implied (for instance ‘critical factors’ would naturally be your focus in a short essay – although, the wording may help you realise that there are a broad range of factors and you must choose only the critical ones.



Example 2:
"Popular magazines for men and women are selfish, superficial and obsessed with sex. Discuss, making reference to at least one magazine."
Magazine Journalism and Feature Writing BA(Hons)


  1. In this example, there is no repetition of the topic in the question. That means that here, the introductory statement is vital in order to understand the topic.


  2. The process word is plain and simple: ‘discuss’


  3. Notice that in this question, there are some important adjectives – ones that suggest judgement which the question needs to evaluate. You may think we have missed out ‘for men and women’ as key words: these seem to give the limits of the question. However, since the limits are all-inclusive, it is not necessary to focus on these words.



Example 3:
Does personality change according to situation? Outline and critically consider the arguments in the trait – situation debate.
Psychology BSc (Hons)

  1. The topic (‘the trait – situation debate’) is given in the main part of the question, meaning the introductory question is for focus only: it helps the student understand what the topic refers to.


  2. Notice there are two different processes asked for.


  3. The topic is clear, but there seems to be no statement of limits in this question. Presumably, the ‘trait-situation debate’ is limited enough to suit the paper. Also notice that the word ‘arguments’ can already be understood from the topic.

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