Think of watching a film that cuts out 5 minutes before the end with a subtitle that says ‘ran out of time’. That is exactly what you do to an examiner if you don’t write a conclusion to your essay. You must write a conclusion and it needs to be good. Why? Because it is the last thing an examiner will read and it is your final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on them.
Do’s and Dont’s:
- Do keep it around 5 lines long
- Do leave yourself enough time in the exam to write it
- Do not add new arguments (a new quote however might give it some flavour)
- Do not write ‘I think’ (the examiner wants to read a sophisticated argument not your thoughts) So keep with third person: ‘In conclusion from the arguments presented it is clear that’ or ‘in conclusion one might believe that’
- Do briefly summarise the main arguments mentioned in your essay (just to remind the examiner what amazing arguments you have raised)
- Do ‘get off the fence’!! This is especially important if the question asks you to ‘discuss’. This means that you have to conclude why a side is more convincing/ coherent etc than the other based on the arguments/ evaluation you have presented.
- Do link your conclusion back to the question.
You should be able to tell from this conclusion: 1) what the question was 2) which perspective the writer is arguing from and 3) a summary of some of the key points raised.
An examiner should be able to read just your introduction and your conclusion and know exactly what you are arguing and how you are going to answer the question. All the main part of an essay does is fill the detail into the gaps.
For support with writing an introduction, check out Let me ‘Introduce’ myself: Writing an Introduction