How to write an essay: tips for getting the best result in the class
When it comes to writing essays you need a really good plan to get some really good results.
Look carefully at the instructions.
- Read the instructions carefully. Be aware that sometimes tutors do make mistakes when they are setting work, so if there is something that you are not sure of then ask your tutor.
- Make sure that you are very clear about what is being asked of you.
- Make a note of when the work needs to be submitted, the length of the piece of work and if it needs to be referenced what reference system should you be using?
- Read the instructions again and make sure that you are familiar with the type of work that you are being asked to produce. Remember that each type of essay will be drawing on different writing skills.
Look for examples.
- Even if you are familiar and have experience of the type of work that you need to produce it is well worth looking at several examples.
- Ask your tutor if they have some examples that they can share. Ideally they will have a selection and they may even be able to talk you though some of them if they have not already done that with the class.
- Using an academic search engine, select some websites that offer free examples of the type of essay that you need to produce. Again hopefully you will be able to access essays that exhibit different levels of ability (a good, outstanding and poor) in order for you to make comparisons. You may even be able to find some essays that have been annotated which is really helpful.
- Further searches on the internet will find you some videos that have been produced by tutors that will give you further advice that you can draw on at any time.
- Plan. Start with a really good introduction; make sure that for the main part of the essay, each of the paragraphs have a logical progression of ideas. Make sure that each paragraph starts with an introductory sentence and paves the way for the main part of the paragraph. The last sentence of the paragraph should act as a conclusion for that paragraph and leave the way open (introduce) the next paragraph.
- Don’t totally rely on the spell-checker as sometimes the spell-checker picks up some bad habits. Try to make the time to completely read through your work regularly as you write.
- Recruit someone to read through your work. Choose someone who has experience of writing, someone who you trust and can give you honest feedback.
- If you finish writing your essay early then you could ask your tutor if they would be willing to read though your work and offer any additional advice regarding any changes.
Topics and planning
- Now you need to find some really good topics. Again if you go online you can find several sites that will provide you with lists of topics. Make sure that the topic list is for the right types of essay. Even if you cannot find a suitable topic, the lists may provide you with some extension ideas.
- Once you have your topic idea, do you need to complete any research? If you do plan your research as it is very easy to get side-tracked and spend your research time planning for another set of homework or even shopping!
- Devise an outline. Does the plan follow a logical progression of ideas? Start adding some more detail to your plan.
- Plan some target milestones and add the dates to your diary. Be realistic about what you can achieve within the time. If you are not sure check in with your tutor.