Lots of different people have taught me lots of different things. Whilst my older sister has been a huge influence in my life – it’s good to have an older sibling forge ahead of you making mistakes as they go so you have the benefit of hindsight and the opportunity to learn from their mistakes – the most public lesson she taught me, however, was not directly from her.
Growing up I was always known as ‘Gail’s wee sister’. Neighbours could always remember Gail’s name but stumbled with mine. I was quiet and shy and she was bubbly and a trendsetter. I didn’t mind walking in her shadow; I was used to it and I hated being the centre of attention. However, during a prep class for my GCSE history exam, I soon found myself bang in the middle of the dreaded limelight. My teacher was explaining to the class a good tip for plotting an essay during exams that a previous pupil used to use. Suddenly I felt her eyes on me and slowly it began to dawn on me who the former pupil was, of course it was my big sister Gail. I felt mortified as the rest of the class turned to look at me. So, this was the time my sister, via my history teacher, taught me, and my whole GCSE class, how to write a structured essay.
The tip for those who are still in the business of writing essays in exam conditions is: on the margin of your exam paper list the points you feel answer the question. Summarise these points in your introduction, expand each point per paragraph, then in the conclusion sum up how these arguments answer the question you’ve been asked. What can I say, big sis is no dozer; it’s a good strategy that stops you getting caught up in a tangent and forgetting where your argument is heading. I am also pleased to say I smashed my GCSE history, achieving an A; luckily for Gail or I would not have let her live it down.