Four tips for writing a great essay

Essay writing is an integral and unavoidable part of every student’s education. Handling the process correctly can transform a burdensome chore into an enjoyable task that yields the desired grade. So whether it’s a short essay that takes only a number of pages or a seminar paper that causes your printer to work overtime, there are several tips that can significantly ease the writing experience and make it relatively pleasant.
First of all, it is necessary to understand that academic writing is not meant to test the student’s literary skills (except for “creative writing” courses). Therefore, it is likely that whatever spontaneously pops into your head the moment you sit down will not necessarily lead to a good grade. The keywords for a good writing process are comprehension and planning. During the comprehension stage, you should read the instructions carefully. Then, make sure you understand the material on which the essay is based. Even if everything seems clear, it is advisable to go through all the material again, so as to refresh and refine your understanding. As you re-read, you should underline the sections that seem most relevant to the essay.


Now, you can start planning. At this stage, it is highly recommended to sit down for a few minutes and sketch a basic outline to represent the work ahead. In other words, write a sentence or two for each paragraph (for a short essay) or chapter (for a longer paper), with a special emphasis on the introduction and conclusion.


Once the outline is ready, you can start writing. Make a basic draft and correct it as needed. Using keywords and transitional phrases to connect paragraphs never hurts, and, in fact, will improve the flow of the paper while tying the different sections together. In addition, it is essential to remember to add references from bibliographical sources in relevant places, indicating where you got the information. This is usually done by specifying the writer’s name and the year the article was published in parentheses. A full bibliography list should come after the summary. A lot of first-year students skip this step and their professors are generally unforgiving of this error.


Finally, if you managed to write a comprehensive paper with a few days to spare before the deadline, it is highly recommended to take a day’s break and then go through the paper with a fresh eye. Taking a rest and re-evaluating the paper helps you form a new perspective. This allows you to notice errors, and missing information that eluded you the first time around.

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