Strong Introductions - INTRODUCE! Many Intros don't even mention the name of the play or the playwright, anor do hey explain what the essay will discuss, in order - i.e. it is a good idea to explain your intended structure.
Structural Flow - Make sure the structure of your essays has some 'flow'; that your argument follows through logically and doesn't jolt from one thought to another. Think about a flow of ideas, often a flow of themes or sub-themes can work towards making a good structure in an essay.
Depth of Analysis: Use good quotations and pick them apart. Let me rephrase that. PICK. THEM. APART. Think about the connotations of individual words in your quotation, WITH REFERENCE BACK TO THE QUESTION. And think depth.
Conclusions: work on a strong conclusion which isn't just a list of what you have said, but which perhaps raises one final interesting and thought-provoking idea.
DON'T USE 'QUOTE' AS A NOUN!!! The word is 'quotation' please... Most irritating.
Avoid 'I'. You need to have your language as formal as possible; the word 'I' is the most personal word on the planet, so don't use it. 'We' is fine, as you're sharing an idea with someone else (the essence of intellectualism!) It's easy to give an opinion without using the word 'I'. 'I think that Nora is a childish character because...' sounds much more 'primary school' than 'In this scene an audience might see Nora as childish because...' or 'Nora may be regarded as chilish in nature here, as she...' or 'Nora's childish character is clear in this scene...' - ANSWER THE QUESTION! Not all questions are clear - so interpret them. Pick the question apart before you begin. What does it really mean? What is the examiner expecting to see in your answer? How will you approach this? Are there two sides to the argument or perhaps even more? An essay isn't a place to simply retell a story... Eve