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Dividing up the middle

 
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Andrew Patterson



Joined: 02 Feb 2004
Posts: 922
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:40 pm    Post subject: Dividing up the middle Reply with quote

In the Cambridge Proficiency exam essays have to bee from 300-350 words. At lower levels, say up to FCE, there aren't too many problems dividing up a text:

For polemic essays, it would be:
Introduction -> Major points -> Minor points -> Conclusion.

For discursive essays in would be:
Introduction -> Points for -> Points against -> Conclusion.

Even there, the difficult step is often dividing up the middle as most mature students have an idea of what an introduction and conclusion should contain.

With much longer essays, dividing up the middle in a logical way becomes overwhelmingly the most difficult task. I'm using Objectives proficiency, which for a 300-350 word essay suggests:

Para 1: Introduction
Para 2 Generalising
Para 3 Specifying
Para 4 Raising an argument
Para 5 Giving one side
Para 6 Giving the other side
Para 7 Conclusion.

My question is:

Would it be worth including another paragraph to summarise before the conclusion, or would this be seen as unnecessary repetition?

I might add that I can see from this layout that even longer essays could further split paras 5 and 6 into:

i) major points and
ii) supporting points.

Alternatively, you might divide up an essay in a completely different way. Either way, all suggestions gratefully received.
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