Essays - how marking works
Every entrance exam requires an essay, and each student writes their own.
Unlike in maths, many parents have the unpleasant feeling that their children's essay scores depend on the teacher's goodwill.
We can comfort these parents. The scores on our mock exams are representative of those for the Gymnasium and BMS entrance exams. Using our essay tool, students can practise their writing at home. The texts are then marked by our qualified teachers. Both at Lern-Forum and during the real entrance exams, essays are marked not at random, but according to concrete rubrics. It is, however, very strict, often significantly more so than the marking of the child's classroom teacher. One reason for this is that the entrance exams for Gymnasium and BMS only measure the best students. The essay is an instrument for evaluating a student's developmental level and estimating his or her suitability for a rigorous curriculum.
Texts are marked according to specific criteria.
- Age of the student: Students are expected to be able to express themselves age-appropriately. They must also be able to think about a topic in a way suitable for their age and formulate these thoughts in a way that is comprehensible to others.
- Content of the essay: The essay prompt must be correctly and thoroughly addressed. Questions that have been posed should be answered and lines of thought should be followed. Students should be able to write a text that is both understandable and interesting to the reader.
- Grammar: All known words should be written correctly. Proper punctuation is important. Rules about capital and small letters should be carefully followed. Students often struggle with case and tense forms.
- Style: This is the most difficult area to assess. What makes a good essay? For one thing, it should be well-structured and easy to follow. It should also make use of varied words and syntax and seem appropriate for the student's age.
It is worthwhile to practise essay writing carefully before the exam in order to avoid unpleasant surprises. A student who practises knows what to expect and does not feel that his or her performance is subject to the examiner's whims. Furthermore, the essay often makes up a significant portion of the total exam score.
Students often have difficulty understanding why one essay receives good marks and another does not. The student lives in his or her imagination and has to learn to consider the reader's point of view in addition to his or her own. A wild science fiction story can be difficult and boring to read if the writer does not take the reader's perspective into account.
It is also very important for students to understand what is expected of them and which criteria are used to grade essays for their level.
The lessons provide guidelines for essay writing.
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