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Alternative terms: essay, written argument, presentation, analysis, literature discussion, review

What is it?

A short or longer argument based on a specific question and delivered in either spoken or written form, in which you:

  • Methodically handle (describe, summarise, analyse, synthesise) the provided or self-selected sources based on a specific question.
  • Provide your own analysis and/or arguments based on these sources.
  • Draw conclusions and define any applicable follow-up questions.

What is tested?

  • Your specific knowledge relating to one or more subjects. This knowledge can be either in-depth or multidisciplinary.
  • Command of your knowledge on higher cognitive levels: application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
  • Capable of systematic reasoning, formulating arguments and drawing plausible conclusions.
  • Sometimes simultaneous testing is conducted of oral and/or written social communication skills, methodical and reflective thinking/action and/or awareness of social responsibility.

How will I be tested?

  • Assignments that you complete individually and at home.
  • Based on the question set, you handle sources and build up an argument.
  • In many cases, your lecturer and fellow students will give you interim feedback about how you can improve certain aspects.

How will I be assessed?

  • You show that you can use the relevant sources in the correct manner in order to underpin your arguments.
  • You show that you have properly understood the criteria for this assignment and have correctly applied them.
  • The lecturer will compare your answer to the rubrics or an answer model created in advance
  • The following criteria may also play a role:
  • The subject (theme) is systematically and convincingly formulated.
  • The structure of the essay, the 'story' and the reasoning is clear, unambiguous and easy to follow.
  • The essay is well-founded (arguments both for and against, references made to sources at the HBO [higher professional education] level that are cited in the correct manner, evidence – including relevant examples – provided to support the arguments).
  • In the essay, a clear distinction is made between your own opinion and the opinions of others, facts and other aspects etc.
  • The essay is easily readable, the writing style is adjusted to suit the target group, and the essay is written in correct English.

What feedback will I receive?

  • Assessment from the lecturer in the form of a mark.
  • Personal or general comments on errors made.
  • Tips about possible improvement opportunities.
  • You may also receive an answer model created by the lecturer.

How do I prepare for the test?

  • Examine the question in detail and ask questions if you are unclear about anything.
  • Read essays by fellow students and examine the way that they structure their argument and which sources they use.
  • Search for relevant sources at HBO (higher professional education) level.
  • Show the work that you have done to fellow students, family or friends and ask them to assess your writing style and other criteria set by the lecturer
  • Stick to the assessment criteria and ask the lecturer for examples from previous years
  • Ensure that you have gained knowledge of exactly the right content.


  • Try to ascertain the weighting as accurately as possible. What exactly do you have to do and how difficult is it?
  • Determine how much time you need and how much time you actually have
  • Make a good working schedule.
  • Check afterwards whether you have truly answered the question set.
  • DON’T just blindly go about it.

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