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Critical Essay - Audio Guide (mp3)

A complete guide on how to write the best possible Critical Essay for your Higher English exam.

Andy takes you through the steps of writing (and more importantly, planning) a fantastic Critical Essay.

Length: 47:22 | Sent via Email | Must download within 24 hours

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Useful Tools


Making mindmaps is a really strong way to break a text down into its basic themes. Write the name of your text in the centre of the page, and have your main branches be the different themes (have a look at our Drama, Poetry, and Prose pages to see the themes we used).

Off each theme branch, make some key points that relate to each theme, and then find a piece of evidence (a quote or a specific event from the text) that supports your point. You will soon have a detailed mindmap, which you can use to build your critical essays in the exam. Have a look at our Critical Essay page for tips on how to write an essay in an exam. There are a load of great tools online, but our favourite is, where you can create online mindmaps that are perfect for visualising what you need to know. Click the link here or the image to the right to get started!

Practice your writing

In your Critical Essay exam, you're in a race against the clock. 45 minutes is not long to make all of your well-crafted, analytical points. You don't want to waste time writing inefficiently, or struggling to get your points across? No waffle. If you're someone who struggles with being clear in your writing, there are tools available to help you. Ernest Hemingway was famously clear in his writing, never using two words when one would do. A new App named after him helps you examine your own writing, telling you where your sentences are too long, where they are unclear, and where you've used the passive (saying "the work will be done by me" instead of "I will do the work"). Take 45 minutes to write an essay, and then just copy it into the App and see what you could have said more simply. It's completely free - all you have to do is copy your text into the webpage and press 'Edit'. You'll be amazed how quickly your writing will improve. To go to the site, just click here or on the image on the right.


Flashcards are a great way to condense all your knowledge down into manageable chunks. This is a perfect way to learn your quotes off by heart, although you can also use it for key scenes, and to check that you know which points relate to which themes. Too see which quotes we think are important, have a look at our Drama, Poetry, and Prose pages. Just write the quote on one side of the flashcard, and the key point it refers to on the other. Shuffle all your cards and pick them out at random. When you know all the quotes off by heart, you're ready to go! Although you can make your own cards, there's online ways to do it as well. We like Cramberry which is a free Flashcard building site. Build your own cards, and test yourself online. Just click the link here or the image to the right to get started.