Writing an essay that will be read by your lecturers and professors is a daunting task. The questions run through your head questioning if you wrote an essay that will get you a good mark. In the following article, we’re going to share some advice as to how you can go about writing an essay that will get you a good mark.
Step 1: Understanding the Content You’re Writing On
So, you’re writing an essay for University or high school or for whatever purpose, what’s important about starting an essay? Knowing the topic and question as well as the rules that go along with it. In order to answer the question, you need to read it and break it down. What is the question asking? How will you answer it? You need to build up your research bank and find relevant readings which you’ll be able to cite in your essay. This is very much the start of the entire process of writing your essay, you’re collecting information and beginning to consider how you’ll respond to the question. This bleeds into the next step.
Step 2: Building a Strong Argument, Case or Discussion
Now that you’ve collected all the information and have read the question and rules you need to truly plan how you’re going to write according to the requirements. Now you break down all the points you want to discuss in relation to the essay’s overall question. We have the typical introduction, the body and the conclusion. The introduction needs to explain the overall content of the essay. Your lecturer knows the topic of the essay, they’re the ones who set out the question. However, you need to consider that they may not be the only person reading this essay. You need to state the question and how you’ll answer it in the introduction so anyone can pick it up and understand the essay. Use your research to build a strong body, and tie it all together with a strong conclusion.
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Step 3: Write, Check, Edit, Repeat
Writing will mean rewriting. Writing an essay is no different. We don’t get everything right on the first try. Sometimes as the writer, we become too invested and often throw too much emotion into a topic or in some cases, a format that is not called for it.
Writing for an academic audience requires a professional tone and so we bring in the idea of:
- Writing – the content
- Checking – Paragraph by paragraph
- Editing – Paragraph by paragraph noting tone, style, structure, word usage and grammar/spelling and making changes.
- Proofreading which we talk about in the next step.
Step 4: Proof-Reading
Well done you’ve finished the essay, have you checked your work? You’d be surprised how easy errors can just slip by you without you even realizing it. It’s important to go over the essay a few times to check if your work is spelt correctly, the grammar is correct, and that the actual content makes sense and flows. It’s also advised to take a break after finishing the essay before checking it, fresh eyes help you detach yourself from that euphoric feeling of finishing the essay in the first place. Take this process seriously to ensure that the writing not only is of high quality but that it also makes sense.
Step 5: Checklist
Essay checklists are things you go through on your essay and make sure all points are present or done.
For example, you could have a checklist that tracks your progress; Planning, Research, Outline, Intro, Body, Conclusion, Edit, Proof-read, second proof-read, submit.
Or you can use it to ensure there are certain elements in the essay that are requirements for example;
Mentioned the essay question, explained how it would be answered, introduced each paragraph overall point, concluded the essay by using the prior information to answer the question, had references (as it is generally a requirement in order to pass), no conjunctions, no spelling errors, etc.
This helps ensure that things that you know you possibly forget are never forgotten or glossed over thus strengthening your chances at creating a worthy essay deserving of great marks.
In conclusion, go write an essay that’s going to get you great marks, approval from that pesky lecturer and a sense of pride knowing you did a great job.