5 Tips that Are Guaranteed to Help You Write an Effective Essay
Essay writing is a skill that must be learned. Unfortunately, it is not something that we can all naturally do, or even something that many of our teachers can do well. This is why we get to college and are suddenly faced with not only taking on new subjects, but also acquiring the sub-skills required to write an outstanding essay. Follow this short guide and you will be on the track to top grades in no time!
- Research your topic thoroughly
- Plan the layout of your content
- Create a first draft
- Cast an analytical eye over your essay
- Scrutinize your referencing
This might sound obvious, but it is unbelievable how much time you can save yourself by being really thorough during the research stage. Many students are so eager to get writing that they dismiss this part of the writing process and end up having to go back to it at a later point. Check off the books on your reading list as you work through it, taking notes of which sections contain relevant information, and which resources you can go back to if you need to do further research. Keeping track of where you find information may seem tedious, but it will save you a lot of trouble when you get to the final stage.
Once you have all of your information in front of you, you will need to decide which pieces are most important and how you are going to order them. This is where you might need to refer back to the assignment details that your lecturer gave you, as they may have given quite specific instructions. If not, be sure to keep in mind the main aims of the essay, considering which facts and statistics or most important, or the points you want to get across to your readers.
The good news is that all of the hard work is now done! The planning stages are always the most time-consuming whether you like writing or not, as you are essentially working with a blank canvas. Now that you have the structure and content for your essay, you just need to start putting it together in a way that will be interesting and engaging for your audience. Although this is the first draft, we recommend that you work on it as a final piece, as this will mean you have less to alter at the end. Think about the points you are trying to make and how to use your language skills to make them. Try and be consistent with the style and tone of the essay, using a spell-checker and thesaurus as you work.
If you have time, we suggest leaving your essay for a day or two between stage three and four, as this will mean that you can come back to it with fresh eyes. When you do review it, read it through quite quickly the first time, looking out for things that don’t quite sound right, or that make you question what you were trying to say. Then go over it in a more detailed manner, searching for small errors or grammatical mistakes that need to be removed.
Finally, spend some time checking your referencing. It is so important that you spend enough time on this, as small errors could mean issues with plagiarism and therefore lower marks. This is where you will be glad that you made all those notes in the first stage, as you can quickly refer to where you found which information. Make sure that you know which referencing style your teacher wanted you to use, and check that it is consistent throughout the essay.