Clustering, or mind mapping, consists of drawing a web of associations: Jot down contrasts, similarities, oppositions, and analogies.For example, let’s say you’re writing about antidepressants.For essays, draw two columns: Not all essays have to be answered with this two-sided structure but it's the best way to start brainstorming as it makes sure all your ideas will go into the brainstorm. Let's use an FCE-level exam question as an example.
To answer this question we might research the connotation of “nothing” during the early modern period.
When we do so, we’ll quickly discover that Shakespeare is punning on “noting” (music), making a lewd sexual joke, and reflecting on human life as created from nothing ( There are of course many more pre-writing techniques (also called heuristic methods).
Set yourself a time limit (a few minutes perhaps), and start writing down whatever comes up in your mind as you contemplate your topic. Topic: my experience volunteering in Nepal The orphanage was in the tourist district, presumably so that foreign visitors would feel sorry and volunteer their time. The roof was leaking and the walls were a patchwork of faded paint and plaster.
Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation, or whether your ideas are good enough. Do remember though that this is a pre-writing technique–I’ve seen a few too many exams that look like some kind of free association. As I quickly discovered, the director was horribly corrupt, and embezzled most of the funds.
Many candidates get stuck at the brainstorming stage.
The good news is that, just like with anything else, practice is the answer.The children were so hungry that they would go begging in the streets.Not that they were all orphans–most of them were simply from families too poor to take care of them.You can tell a story (narrative), explain cause and effect, or provide an example or two (exemplarity).Use whatever method works, but do remember that no amount of pre-writing will help you if you haven’t done enough research to inspire your thinking.Many people think everything they write has to be good, but that's not true at this stage.Turn off the "editor" in your head and just write whatever comes into your mind on the topic.While there is no need to define well-known words, sometimes investigating the meaning and origin of a word can shed new light on your topic.For example, why is one of Shakespeare’s plays called ?Indeed, antidepressants have many negative side effects (insomnia, weight gain, nausea, etc.).Knowing this, we may well wonder to what extent antidepressants are over-prescribed.