Over the previous six chapters we have seen how important it is to interpret carefully the meaning and implications of questions. Learning to do this well means we’re better able to see the structure our essays should adopt in order to produce a full and relevant answer to the question. What’s more, we’re less likely to overlook the significant, though subtle, issues that might be hidden in the question. Almost inevitably, when we overlook the importance of doing this well, we end up with essays that not only are confusing and poorly organised, but miss the point. In this lies the importance of the three-step technique. It develops those skills you need in order to use your analytical abilities effectively. Once you’ve used it two or three times, you’ll be confident that you can interpret any question whose meaning and implications depend upon a perceptive analysis of its concepts. But, as we saw, there are other reasons why these skills and abilities are so important. If we overlook them we’re likely to disqualify ourselves from the highest marks on offer. Those who mark our essays are likely to assume that we simply haven’t developed that thoughtful, reflective ability to question the assumptions we make when we use language.
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