Read the question. Underline/highlight what it wants and understand what it wants you to do.
Be alert! Sometimes when the essay asks a formative question (formal/informal letter, etc.) they've already given you a piece of info that you must add in.
For example, you'll be writing an informal letter to your cousin James about how to lose weight. When you start to write, you need to take note that the person you are addressing is your MALE COUSIN JAMES. Not Sarah or Amin.
Brainstorm. Yes, I know. Waktu exam mana sempat nak brainstorm. So what you do is you jot down the keywords that you want to include in your essay as you write. Keywords? Apa itu keywords? Isi. Point. No need for loooong sentences. Small phrases or just words will do.
Step 3: (Opening)
When starting out your essay, try and start with a general statement or stimuli. Macam karangan bahasa Melayu, ayat pertama mulakan dengan ayat umum atau rangsangan.
Wait, does this mean I have to write 'Pada zaman globalisasi ini...' in English?
No, you could just start with 'people nowadays...' or if you are given a situation and you have to finish the story, then why don't describe the weather?
Step 4: (Content)
That moment when you write and write and suddenly stop because you're out of ideas...
Yeah, everyone has those days. So what do you do? Ask yourself the 5W1H questions. What's that?
For example, you just can't think of anything else to write after 'the disease has spread around the country'. Ask yourself, WHY has it spread? HOW do you stop it?
Like my English teacher used to say, "Try to make a conversation with your essay." It's like you're a reporter and you have to write down the answers to your questions.
Step 5: (Closure)
Here's my formulae for writing the first few sentences for different closures:
a) For negative issue
The *citizens of.../people of.../school/government/people you're talking about* must realise that *issue* is *a bad thing/can cause harm to all beings/the enviroment/what you're talking about* and the right action must be taken.
b) For positive issue (benefits)
It is clear that *issue* *holds an abundance of benefits/has many benefits* to *you/the people/what the question wants*.
In the end, *I/we/the people in your story* *had a good time/decides to go home/what happened in your story*.
Take note that this is for the first one or two sentences, unless you are writing a story.
Next, write what you feel, what you hope or end it with a phrase. It's kinda like a mix and match.
a) Negative [feel + hope]
I am very distressed about the lack of cleanliness in the neighbourhood. I hope that the authorities would take immediate action accordingly.
b) Positive (benefit) [hope + phrase]
Hopefully more parents would be aware that letting their children ride bicycles to school isn't such a bad thing. Remember, to make others trust you, you must first give your trust to them.
c) Story/Situation [all three]
Johan and I felt very sleepy after a long day in Tok Aba's orchard. Even though our arms ached after picking so many fruits, the smiles etched on our faces just wouldn't leave. As I drifted off to sleep, I made a silent wish to be able to help my grand father with his orchard whenever I visit.
Ok, tu tak nampak sangat phrase dia eh?
Hope this helps! :)