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I have an Psych professor who likes to give essays instead of exams. His final exam is an essay that is supposed to encompass all we learned this semester. He gave us a checklist of what it should cover. The only problem is, I don't know where to start. The checkpoints could all easily be separate essays, and I don't know how to combine them in a thesis statement without just resorting to "In this course, we learned..."

How do you create a thesis statement and focus an essay that has an enormously large scope?

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If you'd like, I could post the prompt as well. –  Caleb Jares Dec 4 '11 at 23:04
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Without knowing the course material or the checklist, my impulse is to say that you should look for a theme, or something which most or all of the points have in common. What do they all relate to? What ties them all together?

Failing that, group the bullets. Maybe three of them are about Freud, four of them about various methods of treating mental diseases, two are items which have been reclassified within the DSM, and three are about what age certain diseases are expected to present. There are your essay sections, so write those first, and then see if those groups can be wrangled into a lengthy thesis statement.

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Thanks, in the meantime I talked to an English major and she gave me the same advise :) –  Caleb Jares Dec 5 '11 at 2:22
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And now you've talked to two English majors who gave you the same advice. ;) –  Lauren Ipsum Dec 5 '11 at 12:07
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