10 tips for writing a brilliant question-answer essay

A question-answer essay defies some of the generally accepted rules of writing, including the formatting, style, and structure. This type of assignment requires a clear understanding of the essay questions. Additionally, the order of the questions determines the paper structure. One should not include an introduction or conclusion unless the instructions state so. A question-answer essay does not use the general introduction, body, or conclusion format. Instead, you should respond to each question separately. Question and answer tasks are common in natural science subjects such as biology, physics, and chemistry. Some English and mathematics instructors may also use this style of formative assessment to cover wider topics. However, this system differs significantly from multiple-choice tests.

Here are 10 tips for question-answer essay

Be precise and concise

Use focused writing when addressing the question by ensuring you respond to all sections of the prompt without general ideas. Adding random ideas to the answer may demonstrate misunderstanding and confusion. Your response must be concise and presented with minimal but definitive wording to illustrate composure and comprehension of the main issue in question.

Use structured writing

How you structure your response will determine the impression it will have on the instructor. The correctness of the answer only constitutes a minimal percentage of the final mark for each question. Hence, you may know the answer but have the wrong response. The sentence structure and word choice should demonstrate confidence and the ability to engage the professor. Essay questions and answers always assume a standard structure with the prompt as the header followed by a short and comprehensive response.

Essay questions and answers must have a well-presented writing

Your responses must demonstrate a strong command of the language of the presentation. If you are writing in English, you should illustrate an understanding of the English language by adhering to its rules. You must ensure compliance with grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules to make the answers comprehensible. Additionally, your responses should adhere to the correct parallelism with matching word selection. The tenses should also be uniform, stamping the time scope of the question in the answer. For example, if the prompt requires you to describe the events of the 2008 economic crisis, the response should mostly feature a past tense unless you include comments from the present. Proper presentation can improve your performance by positively influencing the professor’s perception of the writer.

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Use well-documented responses

Although question and answer essays require concise and precise responses, you should not use vague phrases and short answers. Your answers should have complete sentences with reasonable and justifiable arguments. Unless you are responding to closed-ended questions requiring yes or no answers, you should always engage the reader with pertinent and suitable facts. Do not include unnecessary information to illustrate the extent of your knowledge. Instead, use citations to support your answers where necessary. A question and answer essay is designed to gauge the student’s understanding of the topic and specific questions under it. Hence, your response should be detailed enough to demonstrate comprehension of the issue of interest.

The Dos of a brilliant question-answer essay

Use scientific evidence

Although question and answer assignments require short responses, you should use scientific evidence, where necessary, to support your answers. Include a reference page if outside sources are included in your paper, even when the instructions do not state so. However, you should not use outside sources if the instructions prohibit it.

Distribute the word count evenly

Use the number of questions to distribute the word count evenly. For instance, if you have 10 questions to answer in a 1200-word question and answer assignment, use approximately 120 words per prompt. This structure will help you adhere to the requirements and avoid exceeding the word limit.

Use the questions as headers

Use the questions to mark the start of the subsections, indicating the responses immediately under the question. Do not separate the prompts from the responses. You should always include the questions in the document. Do not adopt a general essay format or organize the questions by paragraphs. Use the questions as indicated in the instructions as the titles of your paper sections.

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Answer all questions as per the instructions

A questions and answer essay often has simplified instructions dictating the number of questions the writer should respond to. You should always adhere to the requirement by responding to all the prompts as stated. If such instructions are not provided, it is prudent to answer all the available questions or seek clarification where necessary. Leaving some of the questions answered may lead to lower grades or disqualification from the test.

The Don’ts of a brilliant question-answer essay

Do not include an introduction and conclusion

Do not include an introduction and conclusion unless the instructions state so. A question and answer assignment requires you to address the critical issues specified by the prompts in a limited word count. The introduction and conclusion sections are unnecessary.

Do not change the wording of the questions

Do not change the wording of the questions to formulate headers for the subsections. The professor may need to make references to the original questions to establish whether you have addressed all main parts of the prompt.


  • Organize your time

Organize your responses by allocating sufficient time to respond to each question. This approach is especially important when in an exam room. Some questions may appear more complex than others, limiting your chances of completing the essay on time. You should always start with the easier prompts and finish with the more challenging ones.

  • Create an outline

Although time management is important, the structure of your final document is more critical. Preparing an outline will help organize the paper and distribute the word count evenly. It will also help you establish the order in which you will tackle the questions to minimize time wastage.

  • Search for examples of essay questions and answers online
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Research for essay questions and answers online before you start working on your paper. I usually seek assistance from essay writing services with templates to help write my paper. Some essay questions and answers are readily available online. Although not always correct, most have the appropriate format that could help you structure your assignment. The completed papers will also help you conceptualize the questions and assess different students’ perspectives on the questions.

Examples of essay questions and answers

Some assignments, especially in social sciences, have several prompts designed to guide you through developing an essay. These questions do not fit the criteria for a question-and-answer essay. A question and answer assignment feature different, mostly unrelated questions. The prompts, in this case, cover various topics with a set minimum number of words, either for the full paper or for each question. You can find examples of essay questions and answers online, especially on assignment help sites, Quora, and Study.com.

  • Here is an example of a question-and-answer essay in psychology.

“Respond to the following questions with at least 150 words per question.

1)    What is the relationship between trauma and addiction?

2)    Outline three trauma assessment tools for abused children

End of Prompt”

In this case, the instructor requires you to respond to each question separately. There is no need to include an introduction or conclusion in such a paper. Only use the questions as the headers for the two sections with precise and concise responses. Since the instructions have not prohibited the use of external sources, you can cite relevant journal articles or books to support your answer. Do not paraphrase or use the questions as topic sentences in an essay. Although the questions are related, writing general information about trauma would illustrate a misunderstanding of the instructions.

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