Writing an essay can be challenging. You may have excellent ideas, but if you can’t express your arguments clearly, you won’t get the marks you worked so hard to earn. Maybe you struggle with getting started on a first draft, and don’t know where to begin;
Essay writing is an integral part of your academic life. These tips will help you improve your essay writing, and help you go from struggling academically to soaring.
- Read The Question, Then Answer It
Students often don’t read the assignment carefully to find out precisely what the instructor is asking them to do. This includes the length of the essay, as well as the content. If your teacher asks for a one-page essay, make sure that you turn in one page and not a 5-page full-length report. You won’t get any bonus marks for the extra pages, and you may get docked marks for not following instructions.
Read the whole assignment carefully to ensure that you understand what is being asked of you. Then reread it, making notes of all the details like length, due date, and any additional requirements (like the number of sources you need to use, whether or not they want illustrations, and other details).
Once you understand what is being asked for, it’s time to get working.
Pay attention to what first pops into your thoughts when reading the question. These first ideas and impulses can be a good place to start on approaching the topic.
- Make A Point!
A common problem in student essay writing is that the writer doesn’t choose a point of view in their essay. You may spend a lot of time describing things and talking about others’ points of view, but not making an argument for why you think that particular situation is correct or incorrect.
Take a point of view, make an argument, and then find ways to back it up in your research.
- Do Your Research – Check Your Facts!
Usually, your teacher or professor will recommend sources to help with your research that corresponds with the topic for your essay. Do the reading, and write down quotes and statistics that will support your argument, along with proper references. There’s nothing worse than making a bold argument, and then forgetting what page of the 500+ page book you thought you saw the quote on.
You may also want to look up what writers arguing against your thesis are saying, it is helpful to have a broad understanding of the topic, and it may help you craft a more persuasive argument.
- Use An Outline To Structure Your Argument
Start with writing your thesis and create a list of the main arguments you will use in your essay. By creating a clear outline with a structure, it helps organize your thoughts for when you start to write. You can also see in advance where you might need to go back and do additional research to beef up your arguments.
Starting with an outline also helps you stay on track with your arguments so you can choose the strongest ones. Don’t add statements that aren’t supported by your research to pad out your essay. Stick to the most persuasive arguments and make sure they are well-supported.
- Have A Clear Introduction And Conclusion
Introductions and conclusions are tricky things, and a good start is one of the most challenging tasks in writing a good essay. You’ve probably heard that your opening paragraph needs to grab your reader’s attention. One of the most effective ways to do this is to introduce your key idea and lay out your thesis. Your reader will lose interest in a hurry if your introduction is fluffy or full of claims that you can’t support.
Your conclusion should summarize your main points in a way that satisfyingly wraps up your essay and supports your main argument.
Probably the best tactic to use for writing both your conclusion and introduction is not to do them during your first draft. Instead, once you’ve written the rough draft, reread it, and then write the conclusion to fit the essay. Then write your introduction so that it asks all the questions that you have answered in your conclusion.
For more advice on how to write a clear essay Introduction, click here.
- Make Better Word Choices
Make word choices that are appropriate for your topic and your writing style. Don’t complicate your writing needlessly. Padding with overly complicated words and phrases that you don’t understand and that don’t suit the topic will not get you a better grade.
Say what you want to say clearly and simply. Explaining a complicated idea in simple language is a sign that you understand the concept well, and should result in a better grade.
- Always Proofread Your Work
While it may seem like a no-brainer, you should always do a spell check and grammar check at the end of your writing session. Many essays written in the middle of the night have costly typos and grammatical mistakes that can be easily fixed with a simple spell-check.
If you have time before your assignment is due, put your paper away and come back to it in a few days. This time away can help you see mistakes more clearly. When you proofread, look for obvious grammar and spelling errors; but also watch for clear sentence structure and plainly-stated arguments. What seemed to make sense at 3 am when you wrote it, might be stated in a stronger way.
- Don’t Plagiarize
This also may seem obvious, but it is never a good idea to present someone else’s ideas as your own. Plagiarism is a serious offence, and there can be severe academic consequences. Many teachers and institutions use online plagiarism tools that look for repeated phrases in your writing.
Be original. Have an idea and always back up your sources with references to support your work.
- Get A Second Opinion
When you’ve done the work of crafting your arguments, supporting them with evidence, and presenting it all in a well-worded essay, get a trusted second opinion before you turn it in.
Having someone proofread your work can reveal typos and grammatical mistakes that you missed, or can identify unclear arguments or sentence structure. Having a second pair of eyes on your work can only help to make it stronger.
If you need help polishing the final stages of your essay, or need assistance just to get started, Masters Essay can help. Our team of professional writers, editors, and proofreaders can work with you and help you finish your work on time, and show you how to present your ideas in the best way possible.
Take a look at our list of services for more information, and call Masters Essay at 1(800) 573-0840 for more.