Any suggestions on getting Better at the ESSAY section?

Failed Band 8 because I got absolutely destroyed in the essay section, which surprised me because at least when I was grading it myself I was able to hit on points on the test. Maybe I just flat out got them wrong this time or my format was super confusing with all my chicken scratch and work and wasn’t clear what my answer were.

The PM section I absolutely killed it everything 70%+

Does anyone have suggestions or recommendation on some type of tutor or class that I can get some help on the essay section? I’m going to assume I’ve just been practicing on the essay mocks incorrectly, which probably ultimately hurt me thinking I was doing well but wasn’t. It’s definitely a very defeating feeling.


I went to one of Marc’s bootcamps this year and would highly recommend it for anyone taking level 3.

The last post here by KSTHANE gives a great summary of the bootcamp.

My only addition is that I was glad there wasn’t a lot of in-class problem solving (outside the IPS workshop) as the time was well spent pushing through the entire curriculum and then leaving you with priceless prep material to take home and hone in on your individual weaknesses.

Personally was defeated by the essay section last year too so I know the feeling.

  • Digital watch with timer and lap feature (make sure its silent ie not Timex) – when you finish an essay question that required 15 minutes in 8 minutes its a huge confidence boost and hopefully it helps keep you from falling behind on the essays and leaving some questions blank you may have been able to correctly answer with better time management.

  • Practice lots of writing and a few timed essays – made the mistake of not preparing myself for the pace of writing essay answers last year for level 3 and focused on reviewing items sets too much.

Find someone else to grade your practice AMs. Either pay someone or exchange with someone else taking Level III.

I know I would do this for someone.

These guys did a great job in grading my mocks - i paid something like $80 for grading 10 mocks. i cant think of any better advice. I focused on AM mocks did well for both AM and PM. Focus on AM mocks…thats my advice.

I tutored with s2000magician…I live close so I met with him, and also did Skype. He’s a great resource, a great person, and was truly concerned about me getting past L3.

If I were you, I’d re-solve the 2016 test and then correct it yourself and have someone else do as well (or post them here). The contrast should be where you need to improve.

Congratulations stor!

more proof that s2000 magician is the shit! Great guy. Was tutored by proxy via his articles for level 1/2 and they were invaluable.

Last year tried to rush and finish whole AM - managed to answer all questions and at the end received most AM sections less than 50 and failed. This year I watched on youtube a video with a guy who is in charge for the exam: He explained how they grade it: if you are not answering what they ask they give u ZERO points (when I watched the video, it was t-1)… This time I answered AM only what I knew but this I checked twice to be sure. At the end I left ca. 2 whole questions (not parts, whole questions) open due to time constr. At the end its history - I passed today: my take away focus on what you know in AM… Do not try to answer all halfway good, this wont get you points

Here’s one for you: Level Up Marc vs S2000 Magician in a steel cage match. Who wins?

Interesting. Everyone makes such a big deal out of the timing on the AM portion. I finished with almost 30 min to spare (and used that time to rework some previous answers, and did make changes). And there was still at least one question I left completely blank. I think we can conclude many, many people write too much. I am sure there are many questions for which one or two sentences are adequate for FULL MARKS. Once you’ve answered the question, stop writing.

While I agree this is true, the problem is it’s likely candidates aren’t sure if they answered the question so they just keep writing. Or erasing/crossing out and writing more. Rather than just accepting that they just need to put down something and move on. It’s a hard pill to swallow to effectively throw in the towel on a question.

Best advice I got here was bring a watch and time each section so that you HAVE to be done at a certain time or you move on. You start a question at 9:18, must be finished by 9:42. If it’s 9:41 and you’re still writing, finish up with your best guess and keep going.

Leaving anything blank is simply unacceptable, IMO.

Depends on whether winning requires two thumbs or not.