How to tackle questions

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I am sure that there are many students who have problems tackling questions related to Literature in English -whether they are essay-typed questions, context based questions and so forth. I will mainly focus on poetry questions.

I know that many students hate poetry for at times they are unable to understand its meaning and thus critical analysing it becomes even more difficult. However, I am sure if you adopt certain techniques irrespective of the questions, you will find it quite easy.


1. You must read the question carefully.

2. Next, you have to underline the key word or words.

3. Make sure that you read the name of the poem given in the question and then analyse how it is related to the question.

4. Then you may choose other poem/s that you are going to compare and/or contrast (depending on the question) with the poem as mentioned in number 3. But be careful to choose the appropriate ones.

5. In your essay, you can include quotes but be careful not to use too many of them. For instance for one essay you can include up to 4 quotes. But be careful when you write down the line numbers of the quote/s, you must include the exact words from the poem/s. If you are not sure about the line numbers, then avoid writing them.

6. Bear in mind that you should write the name of the poem as given in the question first, then you go about outlining the general subject and theme/s related.

7. It is important to note that each paragraph should support one new point otherwise it may incoherent if you discuss to many things in one paragraph or repetitive it you write the same idea but in various paragraphs.

8. After you have dealt with the poem named in the question, then you may start writing about the next poem/s.

9. Then you follow step 7 again. But be careful again not to compare and/or contrast the named poem and poems altogether in one paragraph.

10. Finally you may sum up or conclude by making a recap about what the poems have in common or difference.