A diagnostic essay is an essay that is written by a student following the instruction of his or her educator. However, the name is deceptive. It is not only an essay but also a tool for diagnosing the skills of the writer.
In general, an essay is an excellent tool for diagnosing various writing and mental abilities of a student. A student can show his or her powers of thought process (clarity of thought, consistency of view), expression, cognitive development, composition, grammar, sentence construction, punctuation, spelling, organization of the topic, developing an argument, time management, communication and others. If you ask a student to write an essay, you can test several skills.
● Speaking skill: an essay is a written form of expression. A student’s verbal ability does not reflect in his or her writing. So we cannot test a student’s oral skills, such as fluency, pronunciation, intonation, voice modulation from essay writing.
● Originality: a student can copy a book or a paper to complete the essay assignment. The thought expressed in the essay may not be his or her own. So you cannot distinguish a mediocre from an originally thoughtful student.
● The skill of recognition: an essay does not show a student’s recognition skills. If you want to test this skill, an MCQ test is perfect.
● Time: a diagnostic test should be easy to administer. Essay writing takes longer time than other testing tools.
● Evaluation: as an essay is a piece of the subjective testing tool; its assessment is also personal. As a result, the evaluation process loses reliability.
Keeping aside such drawbacks, a diagnostic essay is a popular testing tool now a day. In some colleges, at the very onset of an academic session, students are asked to write a diagnostic essay, which aims at diagnosing some sets of skills that a college student should have. A student who does not know what a diagnostic essay is, maybe surprised or even frightened. So basically, a diagnostic essay does not mean a distinct genre of essay writing. Any essay can serve as a diagnostic essay. It gains its name not by its topic but by its function or purpose.
So students, now you understand what a diagnostic essay is and its purpose. There is no definite structure when it comes to writing a diagnostic essay. However, there are some tips which could be helpful for you while writing it.
● Prompt: after your admission to a particular class, the faculty member gives you a quick. The teacher gives you instructions to write an essay. He or she asks you to develop the points of our essay on the given prompt. So you have no other source of information, but the prompt. Therefore, you have to go through it very carefully. Remember! Every word carries meaning and is significant to the topic. The key to writing an excellent diagnostic essay is hidden in the prompt.
● Think: through a diagnostic essay, your clarity and consistency of thought process will be judged. So the teacher will appreciate if you can introduce some original idea. After getting the prompt, you need to take a flight to your imagination and come up with some creative and new ideas. A touch of originality can bring you in the spotlight. However, the plans should be relevant to the subject.
● Hurry up: generally, if you are writing an essay, it takes a long time. For a diagnostic essay, you do not get much time. Once you get the prompt, the clock starts ticking. You have to be fast with your train of thought. You do not have the whole day. You can chalk out a draft of the essay and organize the points which you are going to write. This can save time.
● Do not rush: these two tips can seem contradictory. However, they are not. While you need to hurry up, you must avoid making silly mistakes due to rushing foolishly. You have to remember; a diagnostic essay does not have to be as long as a general essay. Even if you have a short time allotted for writing, do not start writing the final essay when the bell rings. Set aside at least a few minutes to decide what you are going to write before starting.
● Organize: try to organize your thoughts. Divide the entire essay into three parts. At first, start with an attractive introduction. Here, you let your educator know that you understood the topic. It would help if you gave an overview of the problem in this ‘introduction’ part. Then, start the actual points of your argument in the ‘body’ paragraphs of the essay. You can illustrate a single point in a separate article. End the piece with a catchy conclusion. Make sure; the ‘conclusion’ summarises the significant aspects of your essay. A well-organized well-organized theme can work in your favour.
● Avoid repetition: try not to repeat the same point under several paragraphs. It would make your essay clumsy.
● Grammar check: you can commit a thematic error. However, never commit a grammatical mistake while writing a diagnostic essay. It creates a wrong impression about you on your educator. After finishing the writing, you may read it thoroughly once or twice to check if there is any grammatical error.
The purpose of a diagnostic essay is to understand your skills as well as your weaknesses. You do not have to be perfect. It would be helpful for your teacher to know your weaknesses and act upon them over the session. Such an essay aims to find out your capacity to make use of several skills at a particular point of a learning curve. It is not a test to find out your knowledge strength. On the contrary, this kind of essay seeks to find out your ability to apply a group of skills to complete an assignment.
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