Poetry and Society: General Tips After Marking First Assignment
After marking your assignments, I have a few tips to remember in future:
1. Plan your work carefully with an eye to structure. One of the specifications for giving a high mark is 'Highly developed organisation of overall argument'. The organisation of your argument is an extremely important factor in creating a convincing, cohesive argument – the marking criteria mentions the need for 'very effective and persuasive argumentative writing'. If you are having trouble with structuring your essays or creating a cohesive argument, see a Royal Literary Fund Fellow – you can book appointments through the English Department Office.
2. When thinking about what angle or argument you are going to adopt in relation to a text, be ambitious. High marks are given out for an 'ambitious argument or project carried out successfully'.
3. Be detailed in your textual analysis. High marks are given for 'outstandingly perceptive commentary on a number of details of the text'.
4. Show that you are enthusiastic and engaged with the text. By this I don't mean comments such as 'Wordsworth is a very intelligent man' or 'I love this poem'. Rather I mean that you should show your engagement through your felicity of style – the mark scheme mentions 'convincing and vivid presentation of an engaged response to the text'.
5. Research – you need to show that you have knowledge of the subject area that you are writing in and you need to integrate textual citation elegantly. Ultimately you need to show that you have engaged with the arguments of other critics and you needto show how your argument relates to the angles of other critical texts on that subject.