Who here would like to get into the minds of the STAT essay markers and write the kind of essays they love to read?

Who here wants to write STAT essays like a seasoned professional, without being a seasoned professional?

If that sounds like you then you’re in the right place.

If a high school attempts to write a STAT essay using the same approach as they do for standard high school essays, they will be shocked by how low their score will be.

The essay section is the easiest place on the STAT to lose marks and also to gain marks. And most people don’t even prepare for this section…. or don’t do it properly. But if you are one of the people who know what the STAT essay section is about and prepare for it properly, you have a huge advantage. It’s my belief that out of the whole exam, the essay section is the easiest place to increase your score. Forget the science section, the essays are where making a few simple adjustments to your writing can increase you overall STAT score very quickly.

The worst part is that most people don’t know this. It’s not like the mcq where you can easily find out if you are doing it right. There are no answers in the back to see if you answered the question correctly– you can’t do that in the essays. So there is no way for a person to know if they are doing it right or wrong. And if they Do need to improve – how do they do it?

The next few blog posts will talk about some things you can begin doing right now to start improving your STAT essays not matter what you’re current level of writing ability.

I’ll start by quickly explaining just how the STAT essay section works….

You have 1 hour to write two whole essays from start to finish. There are no specific questions to answer in the essays. Instead, each essay has 5 quotations and you are asked to write about the common theme of those quotations. For example, the theme might be education, war, love, friendship or technology.

The two essays are not the same. The way they vary is that the theme of the first essay is often one which calls for an analytical or argumentative essay. For example, censorship or war. They encourage you to make a particular stand one way or another.

The second essay contains themes which are difficult for argue for or against. For example, laughter or self-discovery. You can’t really argue for or against them. So it’s more about exploring your views on the theme. It’s a less formal essay than the first so a different writing approach is needed.

For more on this please refer to our essay writing program or the complete UniReady program.

During the actual exam, once all the papers have been handed out, the adjudicators allow you to begin the reading time.  You have 5 minutes to read the essay prompts, and you can’t write anything. But really it only takes about 30 seconds to read the 10 lines of quotations. So that leaves you with 4 and a half minutes of not being able to write. The question is, what do you do with that time?

This brings us to the first essential key to writing a killer STAT essay.

How to use the reading time and the first 10 minutes to increase your essay score.

You can give yourself an extra 10 minutes of writing time here. If you use this time effectively it will mean that the reading time is used to your advantage and it allows you to write non-stop without having to think of new ideas.

While others go to the toilet and re-arrange their pens, as soon as the examiners say we can open the booklet and start reading, we’re getting down to business.

The goal here is to familiarise yourself with the quotations and begin the planning process.

So in the reading time, I suggest candidates first read the quotations for both essays and identify the theme of each. Then go back to the first essay. This will be the argumentative one. It will have a socio-cultural theme. While reading the individual quotations, ideas will start coming to you but you can’t write yet. So make a mental note. Then move onto the second essay. This is the more informal essay. The theme will be more personal or social.

When reading time finishes don’t start the essays yet. This is the planning stage. I would spend the first 5-7 up to even 10 minutes planning both essays. You get space at the front of the answer booklet to write down your plan. Make a note of some of your ideas for each essay. Put them into a structure that you can refer back to when you’re writing. This way you will know exactly what you are writing about next. It will stop you from running out of ideas as you go.

Once you have both essays planned, you should be at 5-7 minutes into writing time. At this point you can start writing your first STAT essay.

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