Final evaluation of your essay

You need to read over your work for a final time before you submit it.

Initially this will be to check your spelling and grammar, but you must also consider carefully the most common mistakes made by students answering law essay/problem questions, which are costly in terms of marks.

These are:

  • The student fails to answer the question or neglects part of the question:
    • Usually every fact given in the question will be relevant so consider each in turn and look at whether they give rise to any legal issues.
  • The student fails to address what is being asked of them:
    • For example, you were asked to 'discuss' an issue but you presented a one-sided-argument.
  • The essay is poorly structured, perhaps missing an introduction or failing to reach a conclusion based on the evidence presented:
    • Check through your essay before handing it in.
    • Make sure you go through our law reports and essays structure section, or dissertation structure section and make sure your piece of work is structured in a similar fashion!
    • Does the conclusion follow on from the arguments you presented in your essay, or do you change your mind randomly at the end of the essay? The latter will not earn you a good grade.
  • The arguments are weak, not supported by evidence/reason or authority, or are non existent.
    • You will need to include relevant arguments in your work, and searching through sources and articles is the ideal way to find material that supports your own ideas.
    • Do not make up reasons or arguments to support your work as this will only lead to you scoring a low grade.
  • The materials used are not properly referenced or no supporting material is cited.
    • Again, search through books, journals, articles and legal documents to find relevant material to support ideas and conclusions you present.
    • Learn how to correctly reference your materials. Most universities give handbooks to law students, but if you do not have one, you can find out how to reference the Oxford way, and the Harvard way here on Law Teacher.