3. Answer the question!
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991)
“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” William Arthur Ward
Make all of your essay count: you don’t get credit for interesting but entirely irrelevant points. If your point is relevant, but you don’t show how it relates to the essay question, you will get much less credit than you might have done.
Write the question out when you are writing your essay plan: having the question there in front of you helps you to stay focussed. Check each point in your plan does address the question. Is it a closed question with clear boundaries, e.g. a set time period? Or is it an open question requiring a broad discussion of a range of points?
When writing the essay, make sure you write it at the start and keep checking back to it. At the end of each paragraph you write in your essay, make sure you have related the point back to the question. Use phrases from the question to make it clear, (you probably did this at GCSE: it’s still a valid technique).
TOP TIP: if you can’t work out how a point answers the question… maybe it’s not relevant and you don’t need to include it.