Tutor profile: Lili S.
What am I supposed to include in a conclusion to an essay?
Writing conclusions to an essay is a skill that I feel gets overlooked. We've probably learned a hundred different ways to write a thesis statement, but I've seen students struggle time and time again with what to put in a conclusion. It's a tricky part of the essay because it's definitely not the most important part to focus on, but it also is the last impression of your work that the reader will have. It's also tricky because you don't want to introduce any new information, but you also want to reinforce the main points of your piece without being redundant. So, how do you do it? First, use the first sentence of your conclusion to restate the thesis. Now, that doesn't mean you should copy it verbatim. Instead, paraphrase the main point of your paper in a way that incorporates the new ideas your reader should have encountered as they went through your paper. While your thesis at the beginning of the paper is an unproven assertion that you intend to prove, the restatement of your thesis in the conclusion should hit the reader as a statement of fact. The rest of your conclusion should answer the question "So what?" You could write a whole literary analysis paper about the significance of the green light in The Great Gatsby, but you need to ask yourself why that matters to the reader. Does the green light symbolize something that people can still relate to today? How so? Does Gatsby's yearning for the green light illuminate an ongoing societal issue? In what way? A word of caution on this: the conclusion shouldn't become another body paragraph. You should not be including any more contextual evidence. All you should be doing is aligning your paper with a larger issue or situating your essay within a broader conversation.
Subject: Study Skills
I can never find the motivation to finish my assigned readings. How can I do reading assignments more efficiently and not get bored?
I'll let you in on a secret: even English majors get tired of reading! It really can be daunting to be assigned dense chapters of a textbook or a 60-page article for homework, but there are plenty of ways to practice reading more thoroughly and efficiently, without getting distracted. 1. Before you start reading, think about what you're supposed to get out of the article/chapter/section of a novel. Ask yourself how that reading fits within the context of what you have learned in the class so far and maybe write down some questions you have ahead of time that you hope the text will answer. This will set you up to read more actively and focus on high-level information. 2. Speaking of high-level information, find the author's main points before you start reading. Skim the piece very quickly to find the thesis or big idea, topic sentences, and especially take note of what is reiterated in the conclusion. Maybe even highlight these sentences so you can find them easily later on. When you have a good mental outline of what the author is going to talk about, you'll recognize which sections are really important and which ones you might be able to skim. 3. Take strategic breaks. This might mean using a specific schedule, such as 30 minutes of reading followed by a 5-minute break, and so on. Or (and I would probably recommend this method over block scheduling), read for as long as you can right away and make sure you stop reading only once you've reached the end of a section. Before you take a break, quickly remind yourself what you just read. That way, when you come back from your break, you won't have to waste time rereading anything to catch yourself back up to speed, you can just carry on. 4. Lock your phone in a different room. We can unconsciously reach for our phones, especially when we feel ourselves getting bored, and it will make any reading assignment take twice as long- trust me.
Let others better mould the running mass Of metals, and inform the breathing brass, And soften into flesh a marble face; Plead better at the bar; describe the skies, And when the stars descend, and when they rise. But, Rome! 'tis thine alone, with awful sway, To rule mankind, and make the world obey, Disposing peace and war thy own majestic way; To tame the proud, the fettered slave to free: These are imperial arts, and worthy thee. Which of the following most accurately describes the passage above? A. The speaker argues that the fate of empires can be discovered by interpreting celestial events. B. The speaker defends himself as a loyal citizen but expresses regret over the state of the arts in Rome. C. The speaker compliments Greek culture for its achievements in art and science, and singles out administration as a Roman art. D. The speaker deplores the widespread use of slaves in the ancient world. E. The speaker claims that Roman culture is superior to all others in the range and diversity of its achievements.
Answer: C This question is asking us to pick the statement that summarizes the main point of the passage. The way I approach a question like this is to quickly skim the passage once right away. Then, even if you have no idea what the text is saying, jump down to the question and skim all of the available answers. You'll notice that all of these answers are very different from one another. That's because this question is not testing close reading skills, but rather reading comprehension at a more basic level. Once you've read the possible answers, you can reread the passage above with a better understanding of what the passage might be about, which will make comprehension a lot easier. There are a few things to note with this specific text. We can see that the passage consists of two sentences, each consisting of five lines, and the second sentence begins with the word "but." With this structure, it's a safe bet that the first sentence will set up one idea, and then the second sentence will set up another contrasting idea. Based on this information alone, answer C already is the only option that makes sense. Then, once we start to analyze the language more closely, we can see that C is the correct option. Looking at line 6, the start of the second sentence, it says "But, Rome! 'tis thine alone..." which directly corresponds to the second part of option C, which talks about singling out Rome. Then, looking back at the first line, "let other better XYZ..." we can see how the "others" refers to Greece and that Greece is "better" at art and science (the passage uses a series of metaphors like "soften into flesh a marble face" and "describe the skies" to refer to different kinds of art and science). Side note: I pulled this question from a GRE practice test which is similar to an ACT or SAT test. Tests like these not only test your reading comprehension and literary analysis skills but do so under a strict time limit. That is why the tips I include above are essentially reading "shortcuts." If given a passage like this on a timed test, it is beneficial to look at the passage on a structural level instead of taking time to comprehend it through close reading analysis.
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