Essay writing is a huge part of any university career. There is absolutely no doubt that you will be doing them, a lot of them. Since that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure that you get it right the first time around. Writing an essay is a process, and involves several skills.
Once you learn and use these tips, you’ll be an essay-writing pro and stand out from your peers.
Follow the writing process
It looks like this:
This is truly the best and only option that will create you a solid essay. First, think about what you will be writing about. If you already have a topic or prompt, then circle your thoughts around that. Brainstorming can be done in many visual ways, so you can get creative.
Then, think about the order you are going to write your ideas in and make a general skeleton of what your essay will look like. After that, start writing!
This is the 4th step in the writing process above, and perhaps the most important. Editing and proofreading is an absolute must. You have written your first draft of your essay. It’s called a “first draft” for a reason. Don’t hand it in. Go through and reread what you have and fix the mistakes. They will be there. One of the best ways of proofreading is reading your essay out loud. You’ll be able to hear what should be changed. Another option is to have someone else read it over. This can be a friend, family member, or peer. You can also go to your university’s writing or tutoring center for help, if one is available to you. There are so many ways to do this vital step that there’s no excuse not to!
Fully answer the prompt
One mistake that many writers made is getting off track with their essay response, or forgetting a key point that was asked to be covered. Avoid this by looking at your prompt and breaking it down. Exactly how many things does it ask you to write about? What are they?
From there, make sure every paragraph pertains to the question that’s being asked, and that you don’t go off on tangents. If you don’t have an exact prompt, then always use your thesis as a reference point instead.
Organize and format correctly
Talking about paragraphs, here is the order you should follow:
The introduction and conclusion speak for themselves. When it comes to the body paragraphs, the number of them depends on how much you have to say. For basic essays, there are usually three. Once you start advancing in your classes though, this number will increase greatly.
What type of formatting does your professor want? These are easy points that can hurt you if you’re not careful. Check the font size, font type, margins, header and footers, if it should be double spaced, and most importantly, if you are correctly following the citation format for when you use references. If not, you can get into a lot of trouble for what looks like plagiarism.
Know your audience
Sometimes, the only person you are writing for is your professor. Before you hand in your masterpiece, make sure this is true. Think about the prompt and if there is someone else intended to read it, real or not. Gear your language towards that group. This is the case for persuasive essays, response essays, and personal essays, among others.
Create a checklist
Or at the very least, look at the rubric your professor probably gave you. He or she will be using it to grade your essay, so you’ll want to make sure that your essay has all the points mentioned on the higher end of the scale.
A better way to do this is to create a general checklist of what a good essay is supposed to have, for example, no spelling errors, no run-on sentences, centered title, an interesting first sentence, etc. and pull it out after you’ve written each paper. Go down the list, and make sure you’ve covered everything.
With these tips, you’re bound to write a good essay every time, and, with each one it only gets easier and easier to do.