Tutor profile: Jenna M.
How do I organize/format an argumentative essay?
What I find really helps me in planning an essay is to make an outline. Include sections for the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. In your introduction, you should start with a couple of general (but not too broad) sentences introducing the topic and then add more details about the specific topic you're going to be writing about. In the final one or two sentences of your intro, you should present a strong claim (the point you're going to be arguing), followed by your sub-claims. You should have a body paragraph for each sub-claim, and each should start with a sentence introducing the sub-claim. In your conclusion, you should wrap up the argument by summarizing your points without repeating too much information, as well as expand on your claim by suggesting a further topic for study or comparing it to another related area.
What tools can I use to better understand a passage from a difficult/dense novel?
The first step in reading a difficult novel is to do it slowly and make sure you have enough time to comprehend the material. Making notes and summaries in your own words can also help you understand the main events of the novel. Additionally, it might be helpful to look up words you don't know and make a list of these to look back at, as well as make a character and idea map to keep track of the story as it unfolds.
How do I annotate an article/passage and pick out the main idea?
What I like to do when reading a passage for the first time is to first read it for clarity, making sure I understand the author's words and intent. Then I go back and read it for a second time, highlighting key ideas and making notes in the margins about questions I had while reading and paraphrasing in my own words. When picking out the main idea, it is important to understand the author's intent or reasons for writing the passage. Then, look for the evidence the author gives to support their overall claim, which will give you a better understanding of the main idea.
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