Writing an essay is a skill which takes time and practice to develop, and although you might have some fantastic ideas and arguments in your head, if you don’t put them all down on paper in a well presented essay format you are not going to get a good grade.
To help you write an essay to the best of your abilities, here are our top six essay writing tips:
1. Challenge all ideas
It’s very easy to challenge and test an idea, opinion or argument you don’t agree with, but what you should always do is also challenge those you DO agree with. All angles have to be covered if you want to write a balanced essay.
2. Link your points to the question
Although it may seem obvious to you, always make sure you link your arguments to the question. The reader needs to fully understand any ideas or arguments you are making, and how they relate to the original question. Don’t get too involved in your essay that you forget that the reader needs to be able to follow your thinking and structure.
3. Don’t be too smart
Although it’s nice to use fancy words to explain your argument, you must remember that the reader needs to be able to understand your essay. Using complex and convoluted language just for the sake of it is not going to be a good way of expressing yourself on paper.
Use specialist language where necessary, but refrain from making your essay over complicated for the sake of it.
4. Write a succinct conclusion
Your conclusion needs to be brief, to the point and clear on how you answered the question. Draw all of your ideas and arguments together to create a succinct conclusion.
Your conclusion should aim to bring completeness to your essay, and if possible, finish on a positive tone. Be careful not to keep beating the same drum, and instead summarise how your essay has answered the question in a few sentences.
5. Edit out mistakes
Check, double check, and triple check your spelling and grammar – your essay should be completely free of any errors. Also ensure your essay is correctly formatted and referenced properly according to the guidelines set out by your university.
If you want to further guarantee your essay is free of mistakes, ask someone else to look over it as well. Two pairs of eyes are certainly better than one, and you may be fortunate enough to know someone who has experience in writing or even marking essays that can offer advice on the quality of your paper.
6. Meet your deadlines
One of the most popular reasons for a student to receive a lower than expected grade is because they didn’t give themselves enough time to write the essay. You should use all of the available time given to you, rather than leave anything until the last minute. There is no time like the present, and when it comes to writing an essay you should start straight away with your research.
A draft of your essay needs to be completed as soon as possible, so you can then begin to make amendments and improvements well before the deadline. Each day you review your draft gives you more time to achieve a higher grade, and make all the adjustments you want before you settle upon your final essay.