Introducing first impressions


Right from the start the marker is putting you in a box.

“We take it for granted we know the whole story – We judge a book by its cover and read what we want between selected lines.”

– Axl Rose

We do it, and so do markers. It is no different with your essays, whether they are written in an exam or done as an assignment.

First impressions are lasting impressions.

Therefore, the introduction is the most important part of your essay. From the introduction the marker is making judgements on:

  • Your grasp of the subject (how much time you spent asleep in class)
  • Whether you understand the essay question (if you don’t you’re stuffed)
  • Your competency in English (written academic English not your version of English)
  • Your level of intelligence (using a thesaurus doesn’t show you’re smart)
  • Your attitude (whether you have the time of your life writing essays)
  • The amount of effort you have put in (write lots of quality content; not lots of bullsh*t)

So after the first paragraph the marker can already put you and your essay in a box – it’s an A, B, C, D or N, A, M, E essay.

Make sure they are putting you in the best box because the rest of the of the essay, no matter how awesome, is unlikely to change your mark by much because:

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

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  1. #1 by Justin Scott on November 28, 2010 - 5:50 am

    Great points. I think it is also very good to focus on the quality of your work, write your intro after you have written everything else. As many famous writers have said, it takes time to write a good essay – and a good essay is concise, to the point and short. http://bit.ly/gQxz4U

    Spend some time planning what you want to say in that essay, write it out, and then when you know what you have said try and explain that in a few very direct, and short sentences. Then you introduce the marker to your whole essay in one short paragraph. Write away 🙂

    • #2 by jwrait on November 29, 2010 - 2:54 pm

      Very good advice Justin. It is so true about how it takes a long time to write a something short!

      Some people do prefer to write the introduction after they have written the body paragraphs. I usually write it first and then go back and modify it if need be. There is really no right or wrong answer as long as you end up with a clear concise essay. 🙂

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