10 Steps for Planning a Critical Analytical Diploma

10 Steps for Planning a Critical Analytical Diploma Essay!
These are some step you can go through in the process of composing your critical analytical
essay on your diploma exam. You should not spend a ton of time on each of these steps! They are to
guide your thinking; many of them may be done in your head. Remember – the whole exam is only 3
hours, and you also have a personal response that you must do in that time. It is recommended that you
budget of about an hour and a half for the critical/analytical essay portion. You should look up some old
diploma exam questions and practice a planning strategy to improve your speed. Remember, this is only
one way to approach your essay. Everyone writes in different ways, but this is a good starting point to
ensure that you cover all of your bases and have the highest chance for success.
1) Read the question 3 times!!! Underline the important parts, define the important terms. What is
this question really asking you? (This is the most important step. If you don’t understand the
question, you may write the wrong essay.)
2) Make a list of all of the works you have covered. You should create one for the front of your
binder, update it regularly and have it memorized (including the author of each work, SPELLED
CORRECTLY). This list does not have to be confined to short stories or novels – anything studied
in depth (ex. Poetry) is valid.
3) Look at each of the works you have studied, try to think of how each work fits the question.
Make some quick jot notes of thoughts and evidence.
4) From your jot notes decide which work you feel you can argue the best.
5) Make a more extensive list of jot notes about your chosen work. Think about what you believe
the text creator is trying to communicate within the text. Think about how you are going to
prove this. Provide evidence.
6) From your planning, create one central thesis statement which you will argue within your
7) Break your planning notes into different paragraph plans and come up with a topic sentence for
8) Check that your topic sentences relate back to your thesis statement and that they are
consistent with your argument. Make a quick note about which evidence goes under which
topic sentence so that you are not hunting for evidence while you are writing. This will save you
9) Begin to write your paper!!! Write it your way! Not everyone writes in exactly the same way. It
might help you to write your body paragraphs first and your introduction and conclusion last (if
you do things this way, be sure to remember to leave yourself room to add your introduction) or
you may want to write from start to finish. Every one writes in different ways, use what works
for you.
10) Revise!!!!! If you have time left look over your work. Make sure your grammar and spelling are
correct. Try to improve the vocabulary you are using. As you read your work, pretend that you
have no prior knowledge of your essay topic. Does your paper still make sense?
Use full sentences
Do NOT use abbreviations or symbols (do not substitute & for and)