Essay writing often seems to be an exasperating and cumbersome task for students. Whether the paper is for a scholarship, a contest, a class assignment, or an exam, many students often find it to be burdensome and infuriating. While essay writing is a huge project, there are many writing tips you can use as a student that will help you break it down into manageable parts. Following this procedure is one of the easiest and most efficient ways of drafting an article successfully regardless of the purpose it seeks to serve.
1. Read other people’s essays
Starting a study group is a great way to exchange essays which will help you develop your own essay-writing style. Read as many as you can from fellow students and academics on a variety of subjects and as you do so, be critical: what do you like and dislike about them? How persuasive are the arguments presented? Is the argument a balanced one, with points adequately supported with evidence?
Prewriting is the stage of the writing process during which you transfer your abstract thoughts into more concrete ideas. Although prewriting techniques can be helpful in all stages of the writing process, the following four strategies are best used when initially deciding on a topic:
- Using experience and observations
- Asking questions
At this stage in the writing process, it is OK if you choose a general topic. Later you will learn more prewriting strategies that will narrow the focus of the topic.
3. Choose an interesting topic
The next step in writing an essay is selecting a topic. Your teacher may provide you with or let you select one on your own. When picking the topic for your essay, ensure you select one that you can handle with ease. Additionally, ensure that you are familiar with it. This way, it will be easy for you to gather and collect information for your paper.
4. Present an argument
You should be able to summarise the main theme or argument of your essay in a single sentence. If you can’t, it’s likely that your essay needs more of a focus. Think about what you’re trying to say and structure the rest of your essay around this. Each new piece of information you introduce should link back to and help elaborate on your main argument.
5. Structure, flow, and focus
Having a clear and logical structure will help ensure that your essay stays focused and doesn’t stray from the question being answered. Each section, paragraph, and sentence should add value to the argument you are presenting. As you are writing, it is good to take a step back and ask yourself: what values does this sentence/section add? How does it link to my overarching argument? If you find that you can’t answer those questions, there is a high risk that you have strayed from your core argument, and you may want to reconsider the path you are taking.
6. Check your references
There is an abundance of online tools to help you with referencing, but many students still lose marks in their assignments. Any ideas that aren’t your own — even those you’ve paraphrased — should be referenced. It’s almost important that you use the correct style of referencing and that your referencing is consistent throughout your essay. Most referencing styles feature in-text citations with a full reference list at the end of the essay. You’ll find that it is easier to reference as you go, rather than trying to find and write up all your references at the end.
7. Stick to a simple format
Each teacher will have their own advice when it comes to the format of your essay, and you’ve probably heard a range of different acronyms and analogies. In general, your essay should consist of the following elements: Introduction, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusion.
8. Use simple, solid, and precise sentences
Complicated sentences may be confusing, not only for the person reading and grading your essay but for the students themselves. Writing complicated sentences doesn’t indicate an elaborate writing style. Rather it may show your inability to convey information in a simple and readable format or to break sentences in a logical way. Complicated sentences increase the risk of grammar errors and stylistic mistakes. Famous writers, like Hemingway or Fitzgerald, wrote simply and that didn’t make their writing any worse.
9. Write a proper conclusion
One of the most overlooked areas of academic essay writing is the conclusion. Your conclusion is what ties all your research together to prove your thesis. It should not be a restatement of your introduction or a copy-and-paste of your thesis itself. A proper conclusion quickly outlines the key evidence discussed in the body of an essay and directly ties it to the thesis to show how this evidence proves or disproves the main argument of one’s research. There have been countless great essays written, only to be derailed by vague, weakly worded conclusions. Don’t let your next essay be one of those.
10. Get feedback from your friends
After writing your paper, give it to your friends to have a look at it. Their feedback will help you know if you are making progress or not. Also, you can teach some of them how to improve their writing skills as well as develop an interest in academic writing through your work.
11. Add the finishing touches
Re-read your paper once more to warranty that everything is in order. This is because there are some mistakes that you may not have come across during the proofreading stage. Or, there may some information that you do not need to have in the paper. So, go through your work once more before you get to submit it.
In conclusion, writing an essay is a tiresome and daunting task for many students. But with help from your teacher and some research you can do online, this task will no longer be a burden for them. Also, if you are looking to learn how to write an essay and make it perfect, above are some tips that you should put into consideration.