6. The argument’s the thing

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert

"I think that in the discussion of natural problems we ought to begin not with the Scriptures, but with experiments, and demonstrations." Galileo Galilei

"Let us hold our discussion together in our own persons, making trial of the truth and of ourselves." Protagoras

Use the structure of your essay effectively to answer the question. Your essay plan should guide you as to what point to include when.  Be logical in how you develop the points. 

A well-planned essay is easy to understand and read; the arguments well explained. 

Your teachers will have particular approaches to the Introduction: you may be asked to analyse the question or discuss a hypothesis. Follow their advice closely and don’t waffle too much.

Using a point/counterpoint structure is very effective for many subjects and gives you the opportunity to show how much you understand of the different sides of a debate. Click here to read an exemplar essay written by one of our own Urswick School teachers to demonstrate this method. It’s a politics essay on the powers of a Prime Minister and the limitations on them. What do you think of it? Can you guess who wrote it?

At transition points when you are moving from one section of the essay to the next, you may include a mini-conclusion to summarise the discussion so far. Relate the main points you have developed so far back to the question.

Do form a final judgement in which you address the question directly and show you have a firm grasp of the main arguments.

TOP TIP: Staying focussed on the question makes your argument more effective.