Essay questions often form part of examinations, for instance in take-home exams. In order to succeed with such an assignment, it is vital to understand it.
Essay questions generally consist of three elements: an informative part, providing the essay writer with some kind of background; a directive part, which tells the writer how to approach the task; and an instructional part, which supplies instructions regarding the text that is to be written.
Depending on the teacher's instructions, exam questions may or may not require the use of external sources.
It should be noted that exam questions are often accompanied by general instructions that are valid for all questions within the exam.