Magoosh GRE

The three point intro

| November 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

A strong introduction is the bedrock to any essay, it is a means of establishing a line of argument that will run throughout the piece of work and guide the student towards a substantiated conclusion. My experience of having marked hundreds, if not thousands of essays over the years, is that a significant percentage of students have no idea about what an introduction is for and  make no use of it in their essay format.


The point of an introduction is to answer your question in an abridged fashion, it is almost a statement of intent that responds to the question.

So let’s take a question: ‘To what extent did Henry VIII dissolve the monasteries for financial reasons?’

We automatically know with this question that we are being asked to judge and consider a range of motivations, and that one must feature as being a stronger explanation than the others. For the purposes of this article,I will argue that Henry VIII was overwhelmingly motivated by financial gain.

So point one of our introduction is what I can the preamble, it’s a little scene setter that stops us from launching into argument in a clumsy way.

So I might say something like: “The golden legacy that had been left to Henry VIII by his father, a united country and a full treasury, was all but squandered the mid 1530s, with disquiet over the divorce and a faltering economy, Henry needed both support and cash…”

In the paragraph above I have set the scene, contextualised, and introduced two competing themes, support and money. Now I will add point two of the introduction, the thesis or line of argument, and this, essentially is the ‘what I think” bit, a supported judgement.

“…However, the main motivation for the dissolution of the monasteries beginning in 1537 was financial, the king was facing an epic financial crisis and the monasteries were too tempting a source of revenue to ignore.”

The final part of the process is the methodology, the means by which I will demonstrate this thesis. I might say something like: ” in establishing this argument I am going to examine two different historiographies, Geoffrey Elton and John Guy, and a range of primary texts recorded at the time of the closure of Tintern Abbey and monastic houses in Gloucestershire.”

The three point intro sets the scene, explains what you think and demonstrates hoe you intend to prove it. If this firm logical response to the question set is matched by lots of actual reading and evidence to substantiate your argument, you should have the ingredients of a first class piece of work.

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