GCSE English Quiz - Writing an Introduction (Questions)

Writing an introduction to an essay can be one of the most difficult of writing tasks - how to start? For those of us who stare blankly at the equally blank computer screen which awaits our well-considered words, it can be easier to skip the introduction and come back to it when the rest of the essay is finished. This option doesn't exist in exams, of course, so it is worth learning a few basic rules to help when writer's block hits.

This quiz tests the principles of writing a good introduction.

1. Which of the following is NOT one of the purposes of an introductory paragraph?
[ ] To tell the reader everything you plan to say in the essay
[ ] To encourage the reader to continue reading
[ ] To let the reader know the topic of the essay
[ ] To state your argument
2. Your introduction should mention the subject of your essay. This is also called the...
[ ] point
[ ] argument
[ ] topic
[ ] evidence
3. Which of the following is true?
[ ] The best introductions have only two sentences: one for the topic, one for the argument
[ ] A good introduction provides an outline of the points the essay will cover
[ ] A good introduction leaves out the argument, instead saving it for the conclusion
[ ] The best introductions start with an anecdote, waffle for a while and then mention the topic
4. One of the most important purposes of an introductory paragraph is to 'hook' the reader. This can be achieved by...
[ ] using an interesting or surprising fact
[ ] beginning with a quotation
[ ] beginning with a rhetorical question
[ ] Any of the above
5. An essay's argument is...
[ ] the main quotation from the text
[ ] a disagreement between the author of the essay and the examiner
[ ] the main point which it makes about the topic
[ ] a disagreement between the author of the essay and the author of the text
6. Out of the following, which would be the preferable length for an introductory paragraph?
[ ] One sentence
[ ] Two sentences
[ ] Four or five sentences
[ ] A full A4 page
7. Pupils are often taught to write 'In this essay, I will ....' -- Which of the following would make the most elegant replacement for this construction?
[ ] This essay will argue that there are similarities and differences between 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and Act I, Scene 2 of Macbeth
[ ] I will argue that, although 'Dulce et Decorum Est' shares its gruesome depiction of the battlefield with Act I, Scene 2 of Macbeth, the poem differs in tone from the glorification of violence expressed in the play
[ ] Although 'Dulce et Decorum Est' shares its gruesome depiction of the battlefield with Act I, Scene 2 of Macbeth, the poem differs in tone from the glorification of violence expressed in the play
[ ] There might be similarities and differences between 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and Act I, Scene 2 of Macbeth
8. Your argument must...
[ ] answer the essay question
[ ] contain no more than twenty words
[ ] be aggressive
[ ] be stated in the most complicated language you can manage
9. In An Inspector Calls, what is the effect created by Inspector Goole's manner of showing each character the photo of Eva Smith? - Which key words should be mentioned in an introductory paragraph written in answer to this question?
[ ] Effect, character
[ ] Character, Eva Smith
[ ] What, manner
[ ] An Inspector Calls, effect, Inspector Goole, shows/showing, character, photo, Eva Smith
10. How does Shakespeare compare love and friendship in The Merchant of Venice? - Which key words should be mentioned in an introductory paragraph written in answer to this question?
[ ] Shakespeare, compare, love
[ ] Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
[ ] Shakespeare, love, friendship, The Merchant of Venice
[ ] love, friendship
GCSE English Quiz - Writing an Introduction (Answers)
1. Which of the following is NOT one of the purposes of an introductory paragraph?
[x] To tell the reader everything you plan to say in the essay
[ ] To encourage the reader to continue reading
[ ] To let the reader know the topic of the essay
[ ] To state your argument
If you said everything you had to say in the introduction, there would be no reason for the reader to finish the essay
2. Your introduction should mention the subject of your essay. This is also called the...
[ ] point
[ ] argument
[x] topic
[ ] evidence
Your topic might be a play, two poems to compare, an author, a theme, a character, the use of language in a text, etc. Whatever your topic is, your introductory paragraph must mention it
3. Which of the following is true?
[ ] The best introductions have only two sentences: one for the topic, one for the argument
[x] A good introduction provides an outline of the points the essay will cover
[ ] A good introduction leaves out the argument, instead saving it for the conclusion
[ ] The best introductions start with an anecdote, waffle for a while and then mention the topic
A brief outline in the introductory paragraph guides your reader through your essay and, therefore, your argument
4. One of the most important purposes of an introductory paragraph is to 'hook' the reader. This can be achieved by...
[ ] using an interesting or surprising fact
[ ] beginning with a quotation
[ ] beginning with a rhetorical question
[x] Any of the above
5. An essay's argument is...
[ ] the main quotation from the text
[ ] a disagreement between the author of the essay and the examiner
[x] the main point which it makes about the topic
[ ] a disagreement between the author of the essay and the author of the text
Your argument is your answer to the essay question, which will be the main point you wish to make. The rest of the essay should be structured to refer back to and support this point
6. Out of the following, which would be the preferable length for an introductory paragraph?
[ ] One sentence
[ ] Two sentences
[x] Four or five sentences
[ ] A full A4 page
It would be very difficult to do the job of an introduction in one or two sentences. A full A4 page will always be too long an introduction at GCSE
7. Pupils are often taught to write 'In this essay, I will ....' -- Which of the following would make the most elegant replacement for this construction?
[ ] This essay will argue that there are similarities and differences between 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and Act I, Scene 2 of Macbeth
[ ] I will argue that, although 'Dulce et Decorum Est' shares its gruesome depiction of the battlefield with Act I, Scene 2 of Macbeth, the poem differs in tone from the glorification of violence expressed in the play
[x] Although 'Dulce et Decorum Est' shares its gruesome depiction of the battlefield with Act I, Scene 2 of Macbeth, the poem differs in tone from the glorification of violence expressed in the play
[ ] There might be similarities and differences between 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and Act I, Scene 2 of Macbeth
Sometimes pupils think it sounds more humble to say 'I think...' or 'I will argue'. It is better to state your argument plainly and clearly. The reader (your teacher or examiner) will know that your argument is what you think and that your essay is what you wish to argue
8. Your argument must...
[x] answer the essay question
[ ] contain no more than twenty words
[ ] be aggressive
[ ] be stated in the most complicated language you can manage
9. In An Inspector Calls, what is the effect created by Inspector Goole's manner of showing each character the photo of Eva Smith? - Which key words should be mentioned in an introductory paragraph written in answer to this question?
[ ] Effect, character
[ ] Character, Eva Smith
[ ] What, manner
[x] An Inspector Calls, effect, Inspector Goole, shows/showing, character, photo, Eva Smith
While you should not copy the full question, you can rephrase it in your answer. Exam questions say precisely what they intend, which means that most of the words in the question are very important
10. How does Shakespeare compare love and friendship in The Merchant of Venice? - Which key words should be mentioned in an introductory paragraph written in answer to this question?
[ ] Shakespeare, compare, love
[ ] Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
[x] Shakespeare, love, friendship, The Merchant of Venice
[ ] love, friendship
'Compare' would not be absolutely essential because it would be possible (and perhaps preferable) to use a synonym for the word