The Essay Exam Handbook

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If you've written quite a few essay exams in school already, you're well aware of how different that type of writing is from what you've learned in this textbook. The rhetorical context is quite different, you have limited time to come up with ideas and draft your answer, and seemingly no time to revise. Your audience is only your instructor. You have to demonstrate your expertise with the subject matter by drawing on facts and concepts, but without having the sources there to help you. You are writing in a genre that is specific only to educational situations: a written exam. While you may be expected to demonstrate the habits of intellectual inquiry, your main purpose is often to show that you've mastered a certain body of knowledge and a particular way of analyzing it--to explain and to evaluate. So, given what you've learned about writing in this book, what strategies might help you write an effective essay exam in such a constrained writing situation?

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