• Planning was sketchy- key points were not put down and numbered
  • Overall, most essays lacked a close reading of the extract
  • Always write in the present tense
  • Get the basics right! This is a play not a novel/screenplay. Shakespeare has written the play not directed it

  • Avoid lengthy synopsis of the action in the play
  • Brief overview (one sentence) of the main action in this particular extract.
  • Thesis statement- what are you trying to prove through the essay. In this case, the manipulative nature of Cassius as he tries to lure Brutus into conspiring against Caesar.

· The points on your mind-maps should become the topic sentence for each paragraph. Often there were no topic sentences.
· Each topic sentence must relate back to the thesis statement
· Links between paragraphs (you should be numbering your mind-maps accordingly) were missing
· Incorrect/ very little awareness of literary techniques and their effects- for example, use of iambic pentameter, allusions, similes etc
· Quotations not embedded
· Never start a paragraph with a quotation- you must always state your point.
· One point per paragraph- some of you listed several persuasive techniques in one huge paragraph. This prevents you from developing your ideas and showing detailed language awareness
· Cross-references to be kept to a minimum- this is a close reading of the text and you should be focusing on the ideas and language used for this particular extract. Many essays consisted of references and lengthy explanations of Caesar’s human frailties and Marulleus’ words. Not relevant for this essay. Cross-references should be used sparing to emphasise a point that is mentioned in the extract.
· Do not copy the explanatory notes: the examiner will be aware of word meanings and allusions (they are not stupid!) You are wasting time and words. Instead, use the explanatory notes to enhance your analysis. For example: the latter half of Cassius’s speech makes a historical allusion to Brutus’ ancestors and how the expelled the tyrannical Tarquins. Discuss how he uses this reference to appeal to Brutus’s ethos and his sense of patriotism.

  • Do not tell me what happens in the rest of the play
  • Go back to the thesis statement (the main point that you have identified for your extract): give me an overall impression of what you have proved in this essay
  • Discuss why this extract is significant to the overall understanding of the play- how does it show development of themes, plot, characterisation etc
  • You can mention how it prepares us for the next course of action

  • Proof-read your work
  • Check that you have answered all parts of the essay question