Let’s imagine for a second that you are a STAT marker. You’re sitting in a room with 10 others and you have two boxes of essays to get through today. Imagine you accidentally pick up and open two different people’s essays simultaneously.

You briefly pause to think about which you want to read first. One of them looks like a chicken walked all over it with ink on it’s feet. The handwriting is terrible and you can barley read it. Plus each essay is only one page long. The second person’s essay is neatly written, impressively long and easy to read.

Which essay would immediately impress you more? The second one, right?

In the heat of the moment we tend to forget that there’s a person who will have to decipher our essay once it’s written. We rush to finish the paper as fast as possible we don’t thinking about how it looks. The tricky thing is that it’s often easier to read your own writing then it is to read someone else’s.

It’s important to make sure you write neatly. So that another person can read it. People often over look this, but if the examiner can’t read it, then they can’t mark it. And they might not give you the benefit of the doubt. They have hundreds of essays to grade in a day. If it’s neat and easy to read, they will feel better about your essay.

In terms of the length of your essay – it’s true that quality is more important than the quantity of page. It’s also true that a long essay is more impressive than a short one… because it gives the perception that the write knows what they’re talking about and has a lot to say on the topic. As long as it’s not at the cost of the quality of your essay.

Let’s say you have a great essay but you naturally have small writing or you just say what you need to in 1 page. What do you do then? You can leave it as it is, or make it easier to read by using bigger hand writing. It’s easier to read big writing then small print and it will take up more room in the exam booklet.

Practice writing big enough to fit only 5-6 words per line.

So the bottom line is that bigger is better – it makes an impact. Unless you are really an outstanding writer. If you don’t write long essays, use big hand writing. Plus it’s more legible.

It seems simple, but it works.

Now that we’ve made a positive impact before the marker’s even started reading our essay, it’s time to blow the marker away with the first paragraph…better still, the first line.

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