The goal in section 2 is to present a logical, reasoned response to a specific question. An effective structure helps your idea unfold clearly to the reader. You want your response to be focussed and progressive, rather than all over the place.
Ideas don’t make much sense if they aren’t arranged in some way. Something has to come first, something has to go last, and several things usually end up in the middle, one after another, in a logical sequence. Developing a GAMSAT essay plan will help determine that sequence, think of a piece as being divided into parts, one for each group of ideas the writer is working with. To come up with a beginning, think about the best way to introduce these groups of ideas so that readers will be interested in them and want to find out more. Then, arrange the groups so that each one leads naturally into the next in a way that is interesting and consistent with the reader’s expectations. Finally, come up with an ending that feels finished and gives the reader something to think about.
The following are proven strategies to improve your GAMSAT essay plan. They are as follows:
#1 – Figure out your process
Everybody works in a different way, so you need to find a planning and writing process that suits you. It is worth giving some thought to how you will approach questions and order your ideas.
Example of a Writing process:
- Plan the essay
- Use the first 1/10 to 1/5 of time for a question to make an outline or concept map.
- Organize the plan around a central thesis statement.
- Order your subtopics as logically as possible, making for easier transitions in the essay.
- To avoid going off topic, stick to the outline as you write.
- Write the essay quickly, using clear, concise sentences.
- Maintain a clear essay structure to make it easy for follow:
- A 1-2 sentence introduction, including a clear thesis statement and a preview of the points.
- Body paragraph each containing one main idea, with a topic sentence linking back to the thesis statement, and transition words (e.g.: although, however) between paragraphs.
- A short summary as a conclusion.
- If it is easier, leave a space for the introduction and write the body first.
- Review the essay for grammar, punctuations, etc
#2 – Practice Essay Planning under timed conditions
It is important not to leap too quickly into writing. First, work on your essay planning approach. You can use a GAMSAT essay quote generator to produce 5 quotes on a given theme, then time yourself to write an entire essay plan under 10 minutes. This will help mimic the exam conditions and improve your ability to plan essays. This is especially good practice on days you can’t be bothered to write an entire essay or may be short on time.
#3 – Review and Give feedback to Other Essay Plans
Just as the books you read subconsciously help mould your own writing style, so reading other people’s essays plan can help you develop and build on your own style and thought process.
#4 – Ask Yourself Questions when planning your essay
During the live test it is a good idea to ask questions as you plan your essay, it will allow you come up with ideas easily.
Examples of a few questions to ask yourself:
- Do I understand what is being stated?
- What is my instinctive response to the question?
- What do I already know that is of relevance to the question?
- What else do I need to include that is relevant that I not familiar with?
- Do I agree/disagree?
- What is the main point I want to argue or put across in this essay?
- What reasons do I have to support my main argument or message?
- What are the counter arguments?
#5 – Perform a “Memory Dump” before Organising
Rather than trying to structure your essay in your head, quickly jot all your ideas down – no idea is stupid. Write everything that comes to mind, once you are done, begin to pick relevant points and put together a plan.