Little blue book essay writing

Little blue book essay writing

Little blue book essay writing

E ver wonder ‘What’s a Blue Book’ (you know) a ‘ Blue Examination Booklet ‘? Ever consider the possibility that writing and thinking under pressure is not just another silly academic exercise, that it might reflect real-life survival skills? Hate to work under pressure? Fear struck in your heart? Churning stomach? Let’s see if we can help!

I n-class essays (Blue Books) are a normal part of academic life. Academic life, of course, is not normal. But it does present a socially acceptable way to focus on personal skills. Properly pursued, the whole process aims to bring about change we associate with learning. As one of many academic avenues, In-Class Essays offer a way to approach yourself, to confront what you know and how well you communicate your thoughts and beliefs. What is sometimes most scary is that we don’t like what we find. What we want for ourselves and what we have are different. Learning focuses on this difference, and Exams provide a practical and periodic way to organize what you have learned and what is missing. It is designed to challenge. If you’ve taken an In-Class exam in the past, you have a fair idea how difficult it is to write persuasive prose under pressure. Time will fly. You will not be able to write as much as you know. If you have not taken a Blue Book Exam before, pay attention to what follows. Be clear: In-Class Essays ask that you present your understanding and interpretations of course material in lucid, persuasive prose. The ‘Blue Book Challenge’ is not designed for fun. But the process can be gratifying.

I. Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em;
Ii. Tell ’em;
Iii. Tell ’em what you told ’em.

Writing a Blue Book Examination is the academic equivalent of going to war, well, anyway, defending something worthwhile. Boy Scout or Big Green: Be Prepared. 5. What to include? If your thoughts are organized, what do you include in your essay? In general be specific. A good essay has a thesis: It says in simple sinewy prose: I will argue that. A good essay uses carefully selected examples. Like a good poem or a good piece of science or a good historical argument memorable essays make a general claim supported by specific examples. The general and abstract are grounded in the particular and concrete. Make a general claim; organize your essay with clear arguments; support your arguments with thoughtfully selected examples. Time is short. Because time is short your essay should show economy of expression. Make it lean and to the point. Truth is simple. Your reader can usually distinguish pepper corns from mouse droppings, so keep fertilizer to a minimum. Grab the bull by the horns, butt heads with issues. Writers kid themselves more often than they fool their readers. 6. Be simple, direct, detailed. With Democritus ‘Don’t speak at length, speak the truth.’ Fifty minutes is short, thirty minutes is twenty minutes shorter. So you must select in advance what you judge worthy of our time. In preparing for the essay you must select and that means you are interpreting. You must make your own evaluation of all that stuff. You must find (create for yourself) an interpretation, a critical position, that you can defend. That requires sound argument and solid evidence. Good writing should have a thesis; clearly stated objectives; a clear structure; careful use of evidence, and appropriate ‘telling’ examples to illustrate and support your claims.

T o be even more specific, be specific. Remember the basic charge: In general, be specific. The most common comments on Mid-Term Exams include the following: Be Specific; Explain; Give Examples; Too Vague. The most common mistake in writing essays is ignoring, overlooking, or giving only short notice to major issues, concepts, or historical figures. Your essay must be balanced. So, look at the syllabus. Consider where the greatest amount of time, effort, and emphasis has been placed. If we have spent several hours talking about Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Zeno, Democritus, et alia, do not be content to talk about ‘the Greeks’. Be specific. These Greeks have names. Mention them specifically, explain their views. Similarly, if we spend days talking about what the Egyptians and the Babylonians observed in the heavens, for heaven’s sake be specific about what they observed — eclipses, occultations, conjunctions, oppositions, risings and settings, that there was some very specific interest in Venus (why?), that there were specific developments with place value notation, with the 24 hour day, the 365 day year, etc. In general, be specific. Finally, notice on the syllabus that we have spent the bulk of our time on Aristotle and Ptolemy. Their views are important. Did they think the same way about nature and knowledge? Can you write a Mid-Term Essay without mentioning them? Think about balance and proportion when you prepare.

A s with essays, you must be prepared to write substantive and comprehensive ID’s. A good rule is to write as much intelligent prose as possible in the time provided. In practice, this means that you should be able to write a good solid paragraph (say, 200-250 words) which should fill one page in your Blue Book. Be clear about this: Several sentences will not do, no matter how brilliant and concise. Think of the ID as a mini-essay. Aim to connect the ID with as many appropriate issues as possible by means of specific examples. Answer the Question: Why is this ID significant?

W hat should the ID contain? First, consider the relevant Who, What, When, Where, How and Why of the ID (usually a person or a concept, e. g., Aristarchus; Natural Place). Put differently, provide a suitable context. Second, be both specific and comprehensive. Cover all of the bases and provide as many specific details and relevant examples as possible to demonstrate your understanding. As we say: In general, be specific. Third, most importantly, focus the last part of your mini-essay on the significance of the ID: Why is this important? What are the implications and influences of this person or concept? How does it relate to other issues in the course? Remember there may be two, three, or four key points of significance. In addressing the significance of the ID you have an opportunity to show how the ID is connected to larger issues in the course. In addressing several aspects of significance you have an opportunity to deal with more subtle considerations of interpretation. How is this specific ID related to the ‘Big Picture’? F inally, you must write your In-Class Mid-Term Examination in a Blue Examination Booklet. How do you get a Blue Examination Booklet? Answer : At one of the local book stores. They are inexpensive, under one dollar. It is a good idea to bring two Booklets to class, either format, large or small is acceptable. Other Suggestions : It is a good idea to arrive in the classroom a few minutes early in order to get settled. Bring several writing instruments. Ink is preferred but dark pencil is acceptable. After the Exam begins, please print your name in capital letters on the front of the Blue Book. If you have extra time at the end of the period, take a moment to read over your exam. Use every minute wisely. Everyone must remain in the classroom until the exam period is over. W hat’s next? About a week or so after the Mid-Term Exam the Blue Books will be returned by your instructor and discussed in class in some detail. Everyone is expected to participate and attendance is mandatory. The purpose of this discussion is to review the content of the exam; to connect the earlier material with the themes and issues that follow in the course; to indicate in detail what constitutes good responses in the IDs and Essay; and not least, to give everyone a clear sense of what other students in class have written. Taking the Mid-Term Exam and Reviewing the Mid-Term Exam should be a learning experience. Do your best to make it a good experience by starting now. As always, if you are having difficulties in the course, academic or otherwise, please see your instructor. Chances are that he can help — provided he knows there is a problem. Take a chance. Discuss your concerns immediately. Don’t wait.

Skinny: Hatch Mid-Term Examination Format

Study Sheet (c. One-Week in Advance):
Contains some 30 IDs & 6 Essay Questions for study in advance: Students are assured that all Examination IDs and the Essay are on the Study Sheet.

The Examination Format (Bring a Blue-Book):
Part I: 4 of 7 IDs: 5 Minutes each = 20 minutes: 10 pts each = 40%
Part II: Essay (1 of 1): 30 Minutes = 60 pts = 60%

Gentle Reminder: If you have questions before the Exam: Ask. But please take responsibility for doing your part. Do it now.

After the Mid-Term Exam, be certain to attend the Post-Exam Review. Attendance is mandatory.

The Little Blue Writing Book: Essays

How to use Little Blue Writing Book

The Little Blue Writing Book: Essays is a companion text to The Little Red Writing Book: Better Sentences. Both texts were written to accompany ‘PowerPlus’ writing programs at Curtin’s Learning Centre.

For students who are able to attend the 10-hour ‘PowerPlus Essay’ program, The Little Blue Writing Book is used as an in-class text that follows exactly the instructional material covered in lectures and discussions. For students who are not able to attend seminars, it can be used as a step-by-step guide to writing an effective essay. The objective of The Little Blue Writing Book is not to offer a comprehensive detailed guide to writing all kinds of essays in all disciplines. Rather, it offers a simple structural framework to be adapted and built on to meet your specific essay-writing needs.

In The Little Blue Writing Book you are offered a simple seven-step plan. By going through the plan, step-by-step, you will learn all of the skills you need to write a competent essay. As you’ll see, these are transferable skills; that is, they are skills that are essential not only in an academic context but also in the professional workplace, where they are highly valued by employers.

To gain maximum benefit from The Little Blue Writing Book: Essays, you should begin at the beginning and work through each step of the seven-step plan – each step is important in its own right, and together they provide a formula you can adapt and follow for any essay in any discipline. Essay writing is never easy, but by following the seven steps, you will always be able to produce a competently written, well-structured essay.

PowerPlus Essay Writing uses the formula made up of seven steps. These seven steps are just a description of what we have observed successful essay writers doing.

Successful essay writers begin [step one] by carefully analysing the essay brief or question to make sure that they are clear about what is required.

Little blue book essay writing

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