5 methods to prepare & memorise your essays

To be frankly honest, board of studies and schools do NOT prefer students memorising essays, reports etc into the exam and writing them out.

So, why not?

Well that’s because students are too concerned with their ‘essays,’ that don’t even bother reading the question properly! And that is extremely dangerous. Especially during the HSC, because you won’t know what the question is, so be prepared to READ THE QUESTION, and ANSWER THE QUESTION.

However, if you are going to go ‘blank’ in an exam, and end up writing rumble jumble – preparing for success and putting the hard work of ‘memorising’ it is not the worst solution.

1. Write the essay

To memorise an essay, you need to have an essay to memorise. And if you are going to put a lot of effort into memorising one, you might as well memorise a really good essay. Right?

However, memorising is the easy part. Writing a good quality essay, that ANSWERS the question in a clear and concise manner is what is going to ultimately get students the marks – meaning, that is the harder part.

I would put 90% of my time in writing a top band 6 essay before even bother memorising.

2. Get feedback, learn and refine

I strongly encourage you to show your essay to someone to give you some feedback. If you are to select someone, make sure they understand the curriculum well and most importantly they have previously performed well in the HSC. Otherwise you’ll just end up with a person who talks the talk but cant walk the walk.

People I strongly suggest you asking can include: your school teachers, friends (who has PERFORMED WELL) or to our specialised team at MarkitUP to assist.

 When you are asking for feedback ensure that you understands the mistakes. This way you can improve in the future. 

My personal rule of thumb is to refine the essay at least 3 times to ensure that it is at the best standard your child can produce.

3. Memorise

There are many ways to memorise an essay. Below are 5 methods you can use:

Method 1: Write it out 10 times or more.

  1. Read the paragraph.
  2. Write that ONE sentence, cover and check 3 times.
  3. Keep writing until you have finished one paragraph.
  4. Test your memory by writing out the whole paragraph.
  5. Go to the next paragraph.
  6. Repeat step 1-4 until you have completed memorising your essay.
  7. Finally, write out your whole essay in one go.
  8. Check to see what is missing, highlight it in pink or something and next time pay particular attention there. 


Method 2: Read it out loud.

  1. Read one paragraph over and over until you can say it off heart.
  2. Then go to the next paragraph until you finish off the essay.
  3. Finally, read the whole essay in one go.
  4. Check to see what is missing, highlight it in pink or something and next time pay particular attention there.


Method 3: Listen to your essay

  1. Record your essay by reading out your essay by paragraph and save them separately.
  2. Listen to one paragraph and replay it until you can recite it off heart.
  3. Listen to the next paragraph, until you finish off the essay.
  4. Finally, recite the whole essay in one go.
  5. Check to see what is missing, highlight it in pink or something and next time pay particular attention there.


Method 4: Draw it out

  1. Try summarising your essay by drawing mind-map conceptual diagrams. Note: This is very effective for more visual type of learner.
  2. You won’t be able to draw one straight away, it might take up to more than 5 tries to get the diagram correct.
  3. Once you go it right, keep redrawing out the diagram through cover, draw and check.
  4. Keep cover, draw and check until you are able to draw it out exactly.


Method 5: The skeleton

  1. I like to call this part the skeleton. This is where you summarise with main headings and sub dot points.
  2. This should eliminate the most useless words, such as, ‘the’ or ís’.
  3. Summarise your essay into a maximum of one page.


If you are not sure which method suits you best, I strongly recommend you to try them all out. Instantly you will get a feel which methods best work for you.

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