Ncea Essay Writing Tips

Some of you want further clarification about production techniques. In the visual text questions they are discussed at levels 1-3. Here is an example of a question from level one:

Describe at least ONE important idea in the text. Explain how the director used at least ONE of the following to show you that the idea was important. Support your points with specific details from the text.

Camera-work, Colour,  Special effects, Narrative point-of-view, Lighting,  Music, Editing, Costumes, Dialogue, Structure,  Props,  Sound effects

Production techniques are the features used to make the film interesting and unique. Techniques may include: music, dialogue, lighting, colour, special effects, soundtrack and camera work. By looking at the production techniques closely you will gain a better understanding of how the text has been produced in order to present the themes, characters, settings, and plot.

For information to help Year 11, 12 and 13 students read more here.

English 2.2 Analyse specified aspect(s) of studied visual or oral text(s), supported by evidence

How to answer a question

What will the questions look like?

Usually the questions are one sentence with two parts, however, some questions may only have one part. The first part usually asks you to analyse how techniques or methods are used to present an aspect of the text. The second part usually asks you to give reasons as to why this aspect is effective (important, has impact or influenced you) to the text as a whole. You must treat all parts of the question equally.

Answering a question

  • Choose a question that suits the text and targets what you have studied.
  • Underline keywords – these words will point to the sections of your study notes you need to use in your answer. Think of other words that mean the same so you have a group of useful words to use in your answer. See the sites Understanding the question and Understanding essay topics.

Plan – brainstorm and organise evidence

Brainstorm your main ideas using the keywords from the question to get your main idea. Sum up your angle or point of view in a statement or a challenging question. Brainstorm five solid points to help expand on your main idea. Select relevant material to support each point and develop your argument.

Outline of an essay plan

  • Begin with a quotation, question, thesis statement, or opinion to sum up the question.
  • Focus on 4–5 key points, supported by relevant examples and analysis.
  • Develop a logical argument or explanation for each point.
  • Conclude by reinforcing a main idea from your thesis statement.


A standard paragraph will organise your thoughts and have these things:

  • topic sentence – stating the main idea to be developed within the paragraph – use keyword  from the question
  • explanation – expanding the idea through discussion
  • evidence and detail – quotations, examples, and details to illustrate the idea should be woven into your sentence
  • link back to the question by using keywords to answer the question.

Self review – use a checklist such as:

  • Have I answered both parts of the question?
  • How well does my evidence support my point of view?
  • Is my personal response meaningful?

How to improve your essay writing

How to write an essay in an exam

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