Essay Critique (MB)

1. Write a very brief sentence or two summary
It need not be lengthy, perhaps a few sentences just give a sense of what you are critiquing. Do not assume a reader has read the essay you will critique: it provides an overview so your critique has a context.

Do not retell the essay; (give a reader only enough to get an overall picture of what happened, what was described, argued etc..).

2. Write a critique
The purpose of a critique is learn from other writers. What worked? What did this writer do to enhance your enjoyment, understanding, knowledge, etc of the topic.        

In your critique think in terms of: 

  • Meaning -  what the author's implicitly and\or explicitly aims to say.

  • Writing Strategy - how the essay was constructed.

  • Language - what writing techniques were used

Consider the following for your critique
Essay Techniques Style Enjoyment & Message Grammatical Accuracy

Are all techniques  present? 
Do they enhance the message?
How can they be used better?
rhetorical devices
appropriate person?
use of advanced vocabulary
use of surprise
Focus on whatever will help most.
Avoid simplistic yes or no critique.
Do not be vague.
Do not use unclear terminologies
Did you enjoy it?
Did you get meaning?
If so, what?
Focus on whatever will help most;
Avoid simplistic yes or no critique.
Do not be vague.
Do not use unclear terminologies.
Are sentences accurate?
 Did sentences meet:
 Basic Grammatical Accuracy.
Yes or no answers are not helpful.
Explain thoughts completely.
Provide examples where necessary.

In addition to the above also consider the following if the essay is ARGUMENTATION\PERSUASION.
  • Is the argument clear? (what is the argument about)
  • Is the author's position clear? (which side the author is on)
  • Does the author consider and show respect for the other side, but still debunk anticipated arguments?
  • Is there plenty of concrete evidence to support the author's position?
  • Does the author use appropriate reference to logic and reasoning?
  • Does the author use appropriate reference to emotion?
  •  Are you convinced? If so, tell why - if not tell why not.

Below are some tips of What Not To Do

What not to do
The Thesis was good and had meaning. (this says nothing - what meaning?)
The message of self sufficiency stated in the thesis is one that we can all learn from. The author clearly believes that students are entirely responsible for their own education, and far too many of them rely too heavily on their teachers to teach them, when in fact  they should doing more active learning. This is a fine message to give to other young writers and all students.

What not to do---use general undefined and unclear terms

ex: The essay flowed well. (flowed? ..doesn't mean anything)
Because of the proper use of pronoun references and skillful use of verbs, the writing was easy to follow. Additionally, the author
used lots of transitional phrases to establish the order of ideas (Time Order). This was particularly evident when she told of how the doctor's visit preceded her involvement in the confusion with the medical insurance company, Having that knowledge and the time the doctor's visit was established made it more clear that she was being treated unfairly. etc..............................

What not to do-----focus on yourself or convey vague general unclear meaning
ex: I enjoyed this essay. (that is nice to hear but not helpful; be specific. What helped you enjoy it?)
This essay was enjoyable because it can be related to any student situation. We all have lots to do during  a semester, and
all the great examples that this author provided made it very easy to visualize. The examples of trying to do homework, care for
a screaming child, and welcome her tired husband home from work with affection and attention really hit home. For many of us it is like looking in a mirror. What an interesting wake up call this provided. etc....................complete the thoughts.

What not to do-----be vague or say nothing

ex: It was well written (again nice to hear but not helpful: be specific.)
This essay was full of very interesting examples and sensory details. The examples were wonderfully illustrated with lots of vivid
sensory detail. I could picture the lake and the camping trip as if I were there eating hot dogs with the gang. I especially liked the
short story of how they all went fishing and fell into the lake; that was not only humorous, but it nicely let me better understand the
meaning of friendship that this essay portrayed. etc............