Academic essay writing could be a scary task, especially if you are not writing on a regular basis, and lack literary knowledge to help you go through with your essay. But, it is not as a hassle as it may seem if you know where to step foot on, to open the doors of A(mazing) grades!
Although there is no standardized formula to write an essay, some basics are needed to set the foundations of a great paper. Here is all you need to know to impress your professor with your excellent writing skills and topic analysis!
Usually, an essay is all about digging into the depths of various perspectives on issues that play an important role in the module taken. Sometimes, you will have to analyze contradictory viewpoints. However, it should all be done through the prism of empirical research evidence before you project your opinion and criticism on the topic discussed. What you have learned within your module (theories, methodologies, ideas, etc.) are valuable tools for writing your essay. You will need to be very clear about the fundamental values, assumptions and viewpoints that support the course’s core topics and theories as showcased in lectures.
In order to produce some great, high-standard work, you could:
1. Make Sure You Have Completely Understood Your Topic
You would not believe how many students, just like you, misinterpret the question being asked and write an entire essay on a totally wrong subject. So, read carefully and try to analyze your question. How? Easy…
Ask yourself this: Is the statement true? How? To what extend? How can I make things clearer? Should I assess two different issues and then state my own evaluation in the end?
2. Start your Careful Research and Organize
OK, now you know what you will be writing on. So, it is time you gathered some research evidence to back up your statement. At this point, you will most likely come across a large number of sources (webs, journals, books, presentations, etc.). Carefully assess your sources. You do not want to rely on facts, statistics evidence found in unreliable sources! This could flush the entire work down the drain. Make sure your sources are reliable (not personal blogs, no .com, no sponsored sites, or sites that promote products or services of any kind, etc). Prefer peer-reviewed works and books from reputed authors that are RELEVANT with your essay’s topic. What is the meaning of using the opinion of a renowned astrophysicist if you are writing a social sciences’ essay? Relevance is a great element when evaluating your sources.
Admittedly, you will have to cross out some of your sources, due to irrelevance. At this point, it should be wise to keep a list of references because you may get lost when your search is over. Remember, you have to keep it organized, especially if you are into LOTS of pages. Once you do this, your essay should really start coming together.
3. Let’s Write the Intro
The introduction must be clear and concise. Your understanding of the question being asked should normally be reflected through your introduction. Take your time. Like ancient Greek philosopher and writer, Plato, said, “the beginning in every task is the chief thing” (The Republic, Book II, 337-A). Just make sure your beginning clearly explains where you stand on the matter discussed and how you intend to prove your point. This is your thesis statement and should normally be the last sentence of your intro.
4. Next? Paragraph Building
This is where you write the body of your essay. The first paragraph introduces your topic. The very first sentence of each paragraph should be the overview of the rest of the paragraph. Make your statement and then use your resources to explain and prove it. If you need to contrast ideas, then better do so in separate paragraphs. Also, carefully follow the format and referencing styles required by your instructor, so you do not lose marks for failing to follow guidelines.
Note that whatever you write which is not based on what you actually know and is borrowed from somewhere else, needs to be properly referenced in your essay, to avoid plagiarism. Been caught for plagiarism could end up in an F, or worse, depending on the educational institution’s regulations. You could even get expelled, so mind mentioning the author when you are using their opinions, facts, numbers, etc.
5. Sum it up in a great conclusion
If you have been writing on a comparison question, you might need to write an evaluation paragraph, before proceeding with conclusion. Conclusion, like introduction, has to be concise, evaluative and plainly reflect the work been done throughout the essay. It is the place where you mention when you started (thesis statement) and how you have proved your point.
Once finished, this is NOT the end of your task!
Go over the essay and check for typos, grammar errors, and spelling. Make sure it flows well and makes sense. If you feel you need to switch places to paragraphs, feel free to do so. A good strategy is to pass your essay to someone else (friend, relative) and ask them to read what you have written. If that someone is a professional in proofreading academic essay writing, then it should be perfect!
II. Check for Proper Format and Referencing style
Each school has different guidelines, in regards format. Make sure you have become familiar with the different format types (APA, MLA, Harvard, etc.) and closely abide by the guidelines your teacher has provided you with. Do you need double-spacing or single-spacing? Do you have to write footnotes? Sometimes, instructors ask for a particular format, e.g. APA style, and change requirements a bit (e.g. ask for single-spacing). Mind that too. Your instructor’s requirements are those you should stick, too. It would be a pity to lose marks for something that can be so easily checked!
Finally, make sure you have followed the right referencing style. Familiarize yourself with the referencing style in place and adhere to it strictly.
Now you know the secrets, go for it!
Do you have any other success-advice for your peers and students in need of academic essay writing tips? We would love to hear them! Please feel free to comment!
You can also check our tips about How to Write a Striking Persuasive Essay, coming real soon!