How to Write an Essay Question

An essay question is a type of student knowledge and skills testing that gives a place for critical thinking and creative writing development. Educators should provide the students with qualitative essay questions so they do not seem pointless, ambiguous, or too intricate.

Follow simple guidelines to excel in creating essay questions and optimize the students’ testing in the best possible way.

What Is Essay Question

An essay question is a test type that encourages students to create an authentic answer instead of choosing the right option out of the given answers. It implies a person explaining their views in more than one expanded sentence. The essay question involves the requirements on the response patterns and content students must follow to get the best results. The essay question also contains indicators that make it possible for the educator to objectively judge the student’s knowledge and skills in a certain field. So that it makes it possible for students to show the best they know and for an educator to evaluate it appropriately.

Why Essay Question

Although you may have to waste much time as an educator to construct qualitative essay questions or you may seek assistance at trustworthy platforms, including, the outcomes are beneficial both for teachers and students.

Using essay questions in student assessment enables an educator to test high-order and critical thinking skills. Contrasting to multiple choice or true/false questions, essay questions leave no place for guessing and cheating in most cases. Plus, an educator has a chance to evaluate a student’s thinking and reasoning potential. With essay questions, both you and your students will get a unique experience of exchanging skills and knowledge in the study field.

On the other hand, prepare to spend decent time checking the student’s work. And if your questions are poor in quality, don’t expect the answers to be better so that the time spent will be a waste. That makes it essential to construct essay questions with care and scrupulosity.

How to Construct Essay Question

A properly constructed essay question will motivate a student to display their knowledge and skills in the best suitable way and allow an educator to assess them accordingly. Cover the following steps to create a good essay question:

  1. Determine the expected outcome you are to assess with the help of your question.
  2. If any other kind of assessment suits your situation better, don’t use essay questions for it.
  3. Precisely and clearly outline the task in your essay question by providing the scope and problem to solve.
  4. Present the task in the form of a statement or question.
  5. State the grading criteria and time limit in the task directions.
  6. Break long essay questions into several shorter ones.
  7. Preview your essay question by predicting the students’ responses, writing model answers, and asking a colleague to review your task.

It is normal if you change your essay question several times within the construction steps. This means you improve the task and make it more efficient both for you and your students. Don’t neglect any of the points described above if you aim at a qualitative essay question. You may waste much time and effort on construction essay questions but it will be more interesting for students to provide their responses and easier for you to perform the assessment as a result.


An essay question is a perfect task for students to express their opinion and display their knowledge of the problem question. While an educator may clearly define how well the student understands and may apply the studied material. Yet, this is only possible if an essay question is constructed efficiently and meets the learning objectives.

A good essay question will be easy to understand for students and easy to assess for an educator. Both students and educators should understand the intended outcomes of the task and all the surrounding requirements from the properly constructed question. This is when the essay question usage will be efficient and beneficial both for teachers and students.

Follow the relevant guidelines to construct a good essay question, get a qualified specialist to review your work, and apply your task for the best-expected outcomes without complications.


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