How to Develop Awesome Essay Writing Skills
It takes practice to become a good essay writer. Students who struggle in this area often get discouraged and lose confidence. By taking the time to develop your skills, you will find writing essays easier and more enjoyable.
An academic essay presents an argument, also known as a thesis. You’re not just sharing your opinion in an essay which is why you need to support your thesis with evidence, presented in a logical order.
These steps will help you plan and structure an essay for the best results.
Analyse the Question
Before planning your essay, it is essential that you fully understand the question. Circle key words and look up definitions for any words you’re not familiar with. If you’re still uncertain, ask your teacher or tutor for help.
Know Your Topic
It doesn’t matter how good your essay writing skills are if you don’t know your topic. Once you’ve analysed the question, it’s time to review your notes and do extra research if needed.
While you’re reviewing information, brainstorm or create a mind map to help you decide how you are going to approach the question.
Write an Outline
An essay consists of an introduction, main body and conclusion. The main body is where you include your evidence and examples. The introduction gives an outline of your approach to the question and the conclusion sums it all up.
An essay should include at least three solid examples to support your thesis. This means your plan should have at least three paragraphs for the main body with one idea per paragraph.
It doesn’t matter if some examples need more than one paragraph. Nothing about an outline is set in stone; it’s just a guide. Don’t be surprised if your thesis changes once you begin writing. Essays make you think more deeply about a topic which is why teachers assign them.
Take a Break
Students often make the mistake of trying to write an essay in one sitting. This isn’t ideal as your mind needs time to work through the information.
If you let your thoughts simmer for a day or two, you’ll have a clearer focus. This is because while you’ve been relaxing your subconscious has been doing all the hard work.
Edit for Focus
The purpose of your outline is to help you stick to the topic. If you go off on a tangent unrelated to your thesis, it gives the impression you don’t understand the question.
Make sure each paragraph begins with a topic sentence that clearly signals how it relates to your thesis. If you’ve included any information which doesn’t support your thesis, remove it.
Polish Your Conclusion
The conclusion is often treated as an afterthought, but this is where you reinforce that you’ve answered the question and leave a good impression. A conclusion should be short, concise and recap your argument.
Style and Grammar
Presentation is important so make sure you run spell and grammar checks and format your essay correctly.
Use concise language and don’t use big words for the sake of it. Use the subject’s vocabulary to demonstrate your knowledge, but only if you’re certain you’re using the terms correctly.
Ask for Feedback
Once you’ve completed your first draft, it’s time to ask for feedback from a teacher, tutor, parent or friend. Other people can see things you’ve missed, such as typos, unclear sentences and problems with your argument.
Feedback is the fastest, most effective way to improve your writing, so don’t be upset if there are areas that need more work.
Follow these steps to develop awesome essay writing skills!