One of our readers, Ms. Brinda Menon, recently asked us how to write answers to the point. She mentioned that she always seems to end up writing way more than required. We thought it was a great question! That’s why we chose to address her query through a separate blog post. If you’re facing the same problem, we hope you find these tips helpful!
So, how do you avoid verbosity?
Draft sample answers to questions. How? First, make a list of sample questions that can be asked on a topic. Next, frame general answers for those questions.
If the subject is History/Civics, write those answers in points.
Avoid long sentences. Use keywords or technical terms where applicable.
If the subject is English Literature, use precise vocabulary words.
Search for phrases that convey the same meaning in fewer words. If you’re not sure, then ask your English teacher if there is a single word that can be substituted for a longer phrase.
Another way to break the habit of writing more than required is to reread your answers.
Whether they are the sample answers you have drafted as above or answers that you have written in previous exams (e.g. mid-term exams, pre-boards, etc.), go through your answers again.
Ask your teacher if you can go through your papers and if he/she can sit with you and point out where you could have framed a better answer.
Identify the problem. Is it lack of proper vocabulary? Do you keep repeating points only to remember later that you had already mentioned them? Or do you rephrase the same point in different words?
To avoid this when writing answers, ask yourself whether the next sentence that you write will add any value to the answer in the form of a new point, a novel example, etc. If not, then don’t write it just for the sake of filling up the page.
Remember, quality over quantity.
This brings me to the final tip: keep a check on the voice in your head that keeps telling you that you need to write more. The voice that makes you question whether you’ve written enough for the given marks allotted to the question. Don’t fall prey to that voice and write more than required.
Brevity is a skill. Learn to embrace it.
We hope these tips help you, Brinda, and our readers who are about to give their 2019 ICSE Board Exams. All the best! 🙂 If you have further questions, you are welcome to voice them in the Comments sections below.
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Also see more tips on how to write and improve your answers for the ICSE Board Exams: