Headings Up!

Dear MJ

This might be a silly question…but why do I need to use headings and sub-headings on my answers?

What’s the purpose of these? I feel it is all just aesthetics. I’m sure not making any marks by making my answers look pretty.

Kind regards,


Hi Eden

While I’d agree that content is still king and that there are no marks given for headings and sub-headings, I don’t want you to lose sight of the benefits of using them.

Here are at least 4 key advantages of headings:


It may feel like aesthetics as you make your answers more presentable, but headings bring forth structure to your answer. When you have structure, your responses appear clearer, more sensible and logical altogether.


Headings provide focus on your answer. You may not feel it now, but when you are time-pressured to produce a report, headings help keep you in line on what you need to discuss in a specific section. It is very easy to get distracted writing answers that can take you all over the place. Headings will help you avoid waffling and getting off track.


As you plan your answers and write key points that will later turn into your headings and sub-headings, you mentally make note of how many key points you’ve made and proceed to calculate how many marks you can get for each. This then brings us to the next linked advantage of headings, which is….


Planning depth in your answer goes hand in hand with mentally allocating marks. While you write your key points, thinking about how much detail you can write in each section, you can visually see how many marks you can get as well. The more details, the more marks and vice versa.

Now I do not mean to say that you can’t have all the above trimmings on your answer without using headings, but it really does help. Get past the idea that it’s all aesthetics and replace it with the thought that headings have a bigger purpose than that. And in any which case, how much time do you actually need to type them out when they already come from your key notes anyway?

I hope I’ve helped you understand the significance of headings a bit. All the best with your preparations.

Your tutor

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