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When you are given an essay question, make sure you highlight the keywords of the essay.
The keywords are the words that will tell you want kind of answer the reader is looking for, such as discuss, argue, anaylze etc.
The key words are it is important to answer the question, not just write about the topic. It is like if you went into a store and you asked the salesperson, for sport shoes and he brought you evening shoes, it doesn't matter how much you like the evening shoes it is just not what you want, so be careful and answer the questions correctly.
Analyze - separate the subject into parts, and explain how the different parts are related to each other.
Argue - describe a different point of view, explain why your point of view is better then the an other point of view
Compare - state the similarity of the topic
Contrast - state the differences of the topic
Describe - state clear details about the topic, try to explain the topic so the reader can get a visual image in there head.
Interpret/Explain - state what the author means or what you think the author is trying to tell you, it is not what you think or feel
Summarize - state the main idea/s without giving details, state just the general idea of the topic