Strategies for success on essay and short answer questions

Essay questions have got to be the most mind-boggling type you will see on a test. It can be very difficult to fill up an entire space with meaningful, correct answers.

If you’re one who’s struggling with taking essays or short answer questions, then fret no more. Below are some of the most effective ways on taking this type of test.

1. Take note of the signal words.

Whenever you read an essay question, there are always signal words that help you answer each. Here are some of them:


This type of essay is asking you to point out what makes two things similar and different.


This asks you to point out what makes two things different from each other.


This question is expecting you to point out both the negative and positive sides of one or more things.


This is asking you to dissect all the aspects that surround the answer to question. At the same time, you need to still connect them as a whole.

2. Scribble the words you know will help.

When answering essays, most of the time we already know what points to raise. We just have a difficult writing down. So try not to concentrate on constructing your sentences right away. Scribble down the phrases, words or terms that answer the question and you can then construct these ideas into an organized answer.

3. Go straight to the point.

A common misconception about taking essay tests is the longer it is, the higher grades you get. Truth be told, this isn’t right. Majority of the time, it’s better to go straight to the point.

Stop beating around the bush with your introduction or personal opinions. Go straight to the facts and direct your answer to what is just needed of you.

Essays are quite tricky but with enough help, you’d be able to answer them easily. Consider these tips in order to ace that test.

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