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Three Key tips to write Commentary Answers

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Nowadays, almost every time we take an examination as IB students we need to write long essays and commentaries with 10 to 20 marks allotted to each. When taking an exam, time goes by extremely fast. So, it is beneficial or rather ‘necessary’ to have a plan of action to write a well-framed answer as efficiently as possible. Here are three key tips to help write quality answers in the shortest time.

#1 Planning

Whilst it is important to not waste any time in situations such as tests; where time is short-lived, this technique is the most helpful. A plan is essentially a format to keep all your ideas, thoughts, key terms and definitions in place. When planning, it is not necessary to make perfect tables and columns with straight lines, but, to sketch out an outline of all the thoughts that you would like to present in your answer.

This method not only helps you to organise your thoughts efficiently, but also reduces the possibility of every student’s worst nightmare: BLANKING OUT. It is a technique that sounds very easy and unproductive but can take you miles further in terms of progress. This leads to the next tip…

#2 Structure

When writing a long answer, make sure to always structure the answer with proper paragraphs, diagrams and quotations. This not only helps to connect your ideas well but also gives you a guide to do the final re-check. Yes, this seems like a very long and time consuming process, but, is in-fact more efficient from a student’s perspective.

Moreover, it gives an examiner an idea of the student’s thought, which often acquires those additional points that boost your score.

#3 Identifying key terms

After the previous tips, I’m sure you must be thinking ‘How is this any different?’ Well, when you read the question always make sure to look for:

  • The marks awarded
  • The type of question (explain, comment, discuss)
  • Any hint to a certain concept that can be included

This method solves the little problems that may occur during the planning stage, wherein you make take too long to know what concepts to include and what to not.

At first incorporating all these techniques may be a challenge itself and could be intimidating. Don’t worry. These tips can be perfected in your practice papers and revision time as even doing one, can help you progress and help write higher graded papers!!!


About the Author

Tanisha Desai from Poddar International School, Mumbai and is equally right and left brained. She is looking to study law and loves to paint and draw. She is an Ivy Aspire student.