If you are either in school or college, you will probably have to write an essay (or several of them) at some stage. Essays are a teacher’s favourite when it comes to assignments, and you should be prepared to deliver one of high quality, that will meet their expectations.
But even if you already know what is expected of you and have written several essays before, some practical tips can be all you have dreamt. They can help you to get better marks and get your work done quicker, both things that will put a smile on your face.
So let’s see nine of the best practical tips for essays below:
# 1 – Ask for clarification
It is a very obvious thing, but plenty of students don’t do it because they are concerned of sounding silly in front of the class. But if you aren’t unsure about any aspect of the essay assignment, especially about the question you have to answer, you should ask it straight away. It will minimise the chances of delivering something that is not what your teacher want.
# 2 – Talk to someone about the topic
A great way to test your arguments is talking to someone about your essay’s topic. It is preferable that you don’t choose a classmate to do it, as they are in the same boat as you. Look for someone who isn’t thinking about the subject at all, such as your parents or siblings. Ask them if your ideas make sense and what you need to add to them.
#3 – Read it aloud
To find out if your writing is good, read it aloud. Even though you have prepared it tobe read, the way it sounds will let you know if the style is good, if your sentences are too long, and if your ideas are boring. Do it over and over until you be happy with what you hear.
# 4 – Use a Thesaurus
If you want to impress, try keeping a thesaurus beside you while you are editing your essay. Then look for repetitive or weak words (such as good, interesting, or great) and substitute them for something with a bit more of flavour.
# 5 – Pick only one answer
After doing lot of research, you might have several great ideas in your mind. Your brain is bubbling with all them, and you feel like a revolutionary ready to take over the world and defend the fantastic solutions you have come up.
Unfortunately, an essay isn’t the right place for you to do it. You probably have a maximum number of words that you can write anyway, and it should be enough to defend only one idea decently. So stick to it if you want to write a great essay, or it will become too confusing.
# 6 – Write about what you understand
Another thing that might have happened during your research is that you found out several relevant arguments that you would like to mention in your essay. But you might not know much about some of them, as they rather seem very complex to you.
If this is the case, write only about what you feel comfortable with and can express with your own words. Otherwise, you will be tempted to copy entire sentences (which will get you penalised due to plagiarism), or your sentences will be missing strength. It is best that you defend only one and rather asimple idea at the highest level in your essay instead of messing up trying to write about things you don’t understand.
# 7 – Add some examples and statistics
If you want to prove that you did the right amount of research and that you know what you are writing about, add some examples and statistics to your essay. Of course, it doesn’t work on all topics, but when it makes sense, do include these elements to your arguments. It will also help your teacher to visualise your ideas, which will increase your chances of better marks.
# 8 – Always write a plan/outline
Many students are so timepressured when they get to compose their essays that they just draught it away after research is done. But while it might make sense to you, you should never write an essay without preparing a plan or an outline first.
You need to gather all information you got and then decide what you will go in the introduction, in the body text, and in the conclusion, paragraph after paragraph. Believe it or not, your writing will be much easier after doing it, and your editing time will be reduced. You will also avoid repeating the same arguments over and over, forgetting to mention them altogether, or creating a weak conclusion.
# 9 – When you think you are done, go back to the beginning
Any essay starts with a question, and it should also finish with it as well. So when you decide that your workis done, get your assignment paper again and check it to see if you haven’t lost the point and not answered the question in your essay.
You might find out that some of your paragraphs have nothing to do with the answer you meant to give, for instance. If it happens, don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself: just re-write it and adjust what is needed. Worst case scenario, you might have to do further research. But better that you do it now, instead of getting a bad mark and evaluation from your teacher later.
Writing an essay can be hard work, but it is also one of the best ways to develop your research and writing skills, plus your critical thinking. So use the practical tips above so to make it less tiresome and save your mind to come up with the best possible ideas. Your teacher will be pleased for sure.
About the Author:Janet Anthony is a blogger from Kansas City who has been writing professionally for five years now. She mostly writes about educational tools, writing tips, self-education, and blogging. Her motto is “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows”. Find Janet here: twitter, facebook, LinkedIn.