The Different Genres of O-Level Essays
First things first – what is a genre? When you watch a film or read storybooks, what kind of films do you like to watch? Some people like watching action movies which feature exciting, fast-paced fight scenes and car chases. Others like watching dramas, with plenty of romance and heartbreak. For people who are not faint of heart, they may like watching horror films. Different films will feature different things, as they are of different genres.
There are 7 different genres of O Level Essays – and if you use the earlier film analogy, it means that these essays are of different styles and will require different writing techniques.
The different genres of essays we will discuss in this article today are: (1) narrative essays, (2) descriptive essays, (3) expository essays, (4) discursive essays, (5) argumentative essays, (6) personal reflective essays, and (7) hybrid essays.
Sample Question: “She cried her heart out.” Write a story that includes the given sentence.
Narrative essays require the student to tell a story from a 3rd person point of view. You must engage your readers by taking them on a journey, whether it is a real-life or fictional story. Many students have read story books where they follow some characters through a series of events. There are high points and low points in the story, which usually revolves around a central conflict which gets resolved in the end, leading to a happy, sad, or cliff-hanger ending.
Sample Question: Describe a scene at your favourite shopping mall.
Descriptive essays require students to use sensory details, adjectives, and figurative language to create a sensory experience. Students must be hyper-aware of all the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings associated with a particular thing or place and know the correct vocabulary to write this well. A good tip is for students to visualise the place, object, or emotion in their minds, noting down every single thing they would feel (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch) to connect with the subject matter on a deeper level. Students aiming to get good at writing descriptive essays should read more examples to broaden their vocabulary.
Sample Question: Write about some of the challenges youths face.
When we watch a movie, exposition is like the voice-over at the beginning of the movie which fills the viewer as to what is actually going on, and provides context for the predicament the characters find themselves in. Similarly, an expository essay provides context using research, evidence, and a logical structure to help readers understand a specific topic like movie-goers need to understand what is happening in a movie to follow the plot. Students should read more expository essays in textbooks, newspapers, and informative blogs to get the evidence needed to write these well, as the substantiation for the points in this essay cannot be made up.
Sample Question: “The way we dress reveals who we are.” What are your views?
When we engage in discourse, we talk about things. Often, when we discuss something, each person gets to provide their point of view and explain why they feel a certain way. Similarly, in a discursive essay, the aim of the piece of writing is to get readers to see both sides of the argument. When writing discursive essays, students should present the main points and provide supporting evidence for both sides of a statement. To get the hang of writing discursive essays, students should read opinion columns in a newspaper, speeches, and editorials. The student cannot be biased towards one side when writing a discursive essay and should strive for a balanced presentation of their arguments.
Sample Question: Exams should be abolished. Do you agree?
When we get into arguments with people (such as perhaps peers or our parents), what we are really trying to do is convince them to see our perspective. We need to provide evidence to convince the other person of the validity of our statement. Similarly, in an argumentative essay, students need to show logical conclusions and good reasoning skills to convince the reader of their points. Usually, there are stronger points and weaker arguments to be made, and smart students will present the strongest arguments first, substantiated by evidence, followed by weaker arguments. Students can also address counter-arguments in a pre-emptive manner after making their arguments in the same paragraph to strengthen their case and make it watertight.
Sample Question: Which person has the greatest influence on your life presently, and why?
When we do reflections on our own life, we think back and look at our experiences in hindsight. We rationalise that some bad things actually were good things because of the lessons we learned from it, and we appreciate people who have played a positive role because of the effort they put into educating us. We also reminisce on the good parts of our lives and express gratitude for them. In a personal reflective essay, you are telling a story from your own perspective, citing personal experiences, anecdotes, and vivid descriptions. Students should be as authentic as possible and show that they have put some thought into their reflections.
Sample Question: Which person has the most positive impact on your life? Describe the individual’s personality and in what ways he or she has influenced you.
The hybrid essay, much like hybrid modes of learning where you learn in a physical classroom and online, involves a mix of two different essay questions. If you look closely at the question, it appears that two different genres of essays are tested, and as such, students must use the writing styles and techniques from these two genres of essays to answer the essay question precisely.
To conclude, the key to writing a great essay is understanding the techniques required for each essay genre so that the student knows how to tackle any question they are asked. Regardless of the type of essay, students will also need to have good grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and sentence structure so as to not lose marks unnecessarily. Students should read various model essays to get the gist of how to write different genres of essays.
At WR!TERS@WORK, we are committed to providing the smoothest learning experience for your child sitting for their English exams at both primary and secondary school levels. With our carefully curated methods of teaching English for PSLE, O Levels, and A Levels, your child will be able to identify the answers to the questions and present them in a concise manner in no time.
English is a compulsory subject that has direct impact on your chances of getting the best education opportunities. Overall, English tuition and writing courses can help primary school students enjoy a smoother transition between education levels by reinforcing their language skills and providing a strong foundation for academic success.
Engaging in English tuition and writing courses can greatly assist students in smoothly transitioning between education levels. These programs reinforce their language skills and establish a solid foundation for academic achievement. For more exam tips, parents and students can explore our website and watch our YouTube videos.
If you are interested in our primary English tuition and secondary English tuition in Singapore, WR!TERS@WORK has expanded to 8 convenient locations. To find the nearest location that suits your needs, please explore our options. If you have any inquiries regarding our range of programs or class schedules, please feel free to contact WR!TERS@WORK.
1. How Do You Write a Good Secondary School Essay?
Firstly, you need a strong introduction which engages the audience. Secondly, you need appropriate content which is balanced on both sides if you are making an argument for and against something. Lastly, your conclusion must be synthesised and weigh the benefits or disadvantages of the essay subject, or provide another viewpoint about the topic.
2. How Do You Structure an English Essay?
Firstly, you need a good hook as an introductory paragraph. Next, the body of content follows, which will answer the essay question provided. Lastly, a strong conclusion which “comes down on one side” is needed.
3. What is a good paragraph starter?
It depends on the essay. For narrative writing, the student can start in media res. For argumentative essays or discursive essays, a thesis statement is needed which outlines the central tenet of your argument.
4. What Should You Not Do In an Essay?
You should not ramble with run-on sentences in an essay. Furthermore, students should always answer the essay question and not address points which are unrelated. Good grammar and vocabulary, along with robust sentence structure, is a must.
5. What Makes a Bad Essay?
A bad essay will not deal with the subject matter it is being asked for. Moreover, a bad essay will fail to drive home the central point, be it a good plot, or arguments posed on either side based on the essay topic. Moreover, a bad essay will contain many grammatical errors, spelling errors, and will have a limited range of vocabulary.
6. What is the Hardest Part of an Essay?
Planning the essay is the hardest part of the essay. Students need to figure out what content to put in the essay and how it is structured, as well as the examples to bolster their argument.
7. What are the Common Essay Writing Mistakes?
Firstly, not reading and answering the question is a cardinal mistake made by many students. Students should write the essay which is being asked of them instead of writing the essay they want to write, whether it is based on another model essay they have encountered in the past or a question the student thinks is easier to answer than the real essay question.
© Copyright www.writersatwork.com.sg 2023, all rights reserved.