One of the best ways to write a great essay is to ensure that you understand the question and understand the wording of the essay question.
If you trying to work out how to understand an essay question, then first decide which section the essay would come under: critical evaluation essay, compare and contrast essay, analyse an essay or evaluate the essay.
When you are writing an essay then firstly you need to the best way to start an essay, and this begins with knowing how to understand the essay question.
Perhaps your essay is asking you to critically evaluate something, in which case you might want to discuss the question and common alternatives and approaches to it.
Highlighting strengths and weaknesses in an essay is also a great way to critically evaluate.
Alternatively, you might be writing an evaluation essay. In this case, you should consider alternative approaches but mainly focus on the concept and key part of the essay.
For example, is the topic in question useful? Has the discussion point been used in any theories and what was the outcome of this? What does application of this theory reveal?
Finding out how to answer different types of essay questions can be difficult but with practice, you will learn how to structure your essay to answer the question.
Once you know where the focus of your essay should lie, it will become easier to research and write it.