‘Critically assess the effectiveness of Plato’s arguments for understanding reality’: Student answers

This was the first essay question I set for my new spec students. The task: to write an introduction, a five paragraph plan and write two paragraphs in full following the set structure (please see The Four Steps to Teaching A01 & A02 Effectively).

In class (with my support  and feedback) the students:

  • practised writing their introductions,
  • wrote a plan for the five paragraph themes,
  • practiced one paragraph following the structure

For homework they had to type up the introduction with two full paragraphs and a plan (please see Plato for the lesson plan leading up to this activity).

These are some examples of the work produced. Each example is answering the same question and my comments can be seen as footnotes.


Another example of an introduction  (see how rhetorical questions are used to engage with the question):Introduction2.PNG

Structure of a main paragraph:


Another example of the structure in a main paragraph:structure2.PNG


  • This is only step one of a four step process – students will be developing how to add critical terms, use more academic language, layer evaluation with defence arguments and apply a variety of philosophical perceptive against each other, over the coming weeks.
  • These were written after only two weeks of learning philosophy. What this means is that I do not grade nor mark these answers, as I am developing their techniques not judging their content. As long as the content is correct and the foundations are being built, I am not expecting students to write degree level evaluation, as this will come with time, practice and a deeper understanding of philosophical ideas.

Thank you to my students for allowing me to use your work.

Please let me know if you would like a copy of the essays by leaving a comment at the bottom or following the ‘contact me’ details on the Homepage.

For further guidance in developing your essay technique  just click on the image below to be transferred to the shop:


Revision bubbles/ advice and sample questions with guidance found in:

8 thoughts on “‘Critically assess the effectiveness of Plato’s arguments for understanding reality’: Student answers

  1. Claire

    Hi Aimee,

    I am just about to help my AS students attempt their first philosophy essay for the first time. I would love a copy of the example essays you use for Plato (and Aristotle?)

    Thank you so much,


  2. Izzy

    Hi these essays look super useful for guiding me on my first essay in A level RS would you be able to send them over please.

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