Example essay
Critiquing the Example Essay
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These are the types of questions your peers will be asked to review about your essay. It is a good idea to ask them of yourself during the writing process as well.

1. Read the first paragraph. Stop reading and write what you EXPECT will be the topic and purpose of the essay. Write your response after first paragraph.

2. Now, finish reading to the paper. Were your expectations met? If not, what do you now think the topic, purpose and audience are?

3. What do you think is the thesis of the essay? Is that sentence supported in the essay BY EXAMPLE? Is the sentence itself a strong statement (not a quote from someone else, not a question, etc.)?

4. Note all the examples you find; these could be whole paragraphs or just single sentences. Evaluate its usefulness or strength in supporting the essay.

5. What did you like best about the essay? BE SPECIFIC

6. What did you like the least about the essay? BE SPECIFIC AND GIVE SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

7. Did anything in the essay surprise you? Be specific!

8. What TWO features of the essay most need improvement? Add a comment/suggestion about what/how they could be improved. Remember that just marking a problem area without explanation won't help the author fix the problem.

Everything you think or feel in response to the author's writing should be written in the text of the essay at the point where you have that reaction.

As you answer these questions about an essay, be as specific as possible about your reactions, and offer suggestions. (For the Example essay, the audience is me, remember, so keep that in mind as you read.)

From this drafting process, the author is hoping to be able to improve her/his writing for a better essay (and hopefully, then, a better grade). Remember to give her/him as many responses and suggestions as possible so she/he can accomplish that.


The best option is to apply these questions to your own writing as you are completing it. As you look at others' works, you will discover that you know more about writing than perhaps you have given yourself credit for. Even if you don't consider yourself an "expert" in English or writing, you could not be in ENG 101 unless you have met certain requirements--you are therefore "expert enough" to respond to these questions regarding something that you have read.