Standard Grade Discursive Essay Writing Techniques

Written by ashley schaeffer
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Standard Grade Discursive Essay Writing Techniques
Preparing techniques for the discursive essay can boost your score. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The Standard Grade system is used in Scotland to test students between the ages of 15 and 16. The English exams have been noted as particularly difficult, and may require extra studying for students to perform well. The discursive essay is one component that appears on the English portion of this exam, and gives students the chance to express their opinions as well as demonstrate their language skills.

Argue For

Once you have chosen the topic you plan to write on, one technique is to strongly argue for one particular stance. The topic should ideally be something somewhat controversia,l so that you can fully embrace your position. For example, you could choose a topic such as abortion and provide a different argument or piece of evidence supporting your position in each paragraph. One argument could state that it is the woman's fundamental right to make decisions regarding her own body.

Argue Against

Choose a controversial topic and take a stance that strongly disagrees with it. Arguing for abortion would mean you have the same viewpoint as someone arguing against "pro-life" politics, but the technique of the essay would be different. Arguing against a viewpoint should focus more on why that stance is wrong versus why the opposing stance is right. Arguing against "pro-life" views might use the misguidance of religious groups dabbling in politics to support that this stance is wrong.

Balanced Argument

Another technique is to show both sides of the argument from a balanced perspective. Since you must state your stance at the beginning, make sure to clarify what aspects keep you tied in the middle. For example, you may state that you believe in both the mother's right to choose as well as the fetus's right to live, and therefore recognise that the situation is fundamentally unjust. You can then take turns alternating between stances from one paragraph to the next throughout the essay.

Accept Both Sides, Support One More

This technique is perhaps the most effective in winning another person over to your position, because it shows that you have the capacity for understanding both sides, yet your judgment has led you to favour one over the other. In your introduction, state why you are able to understand one side of the argument, yet why you must ultimately support the other. For example, you might state that you believe abortion is unfair to the unborn child, but that the lives of those living should be given more importance. You could then argue about the importance of the mother's choice, the burden on society from unwanted children and the overpopulation problem in the world at large.

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