If you want to ruin a student’s day, just remind him/her of an overdue essay. Of course, there are ways of outsourcing that work by checking out the essay writing service ratings, yet you cannot postpone writing your own essays indefinitely.
Essay writing is a skill set that not only serves you in high school or college. You will carry the ability to form a cohesive argument well into your career. Only resort to outsourcing your tasks if you are short on time or completely unfamiliar with the subject.
Even if you think you are not good at writing essays, you would be surprised at what you can write if you first master the basics.
First steps: select and outline
During my college days, I rarely had a teacher that requested an essay on a specific topic. Usually, teachers will give you paper assignments to check your ability to argue and write using proper language. Essays tasks are rarely given to test your knowledge; that’s why we have exams.
Assuming that you are free to choose your own topic, there are 2 strategies to pursue: familiarity or interest.
Selecting a topic you are familiar with will drastically decrease the time you have to spend doing research. This can be a tremendous advantage, especially during tight deadlines.
The other route is to decrease the dread and boredom of being forced to do something you don’t like. Pick a topic that piques your interest, and the hours will just melt away. As the saying goes: “If you do something you like, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
Once the topic is chosen, it is unwise to jump into writing and see where it takes you. Almost every writing task, from novels to newspaper articles or essays, will involve some form of an outline.
The outline allows you to predefine each subheader and argument as you structure the essay beforehand. You can determine the word count and simply fill-in each section when you get started.
Also, the total word count seems less intimidating because it is split into these manageable blocks.
A simple successful formula implies:
- An introduction
- A thesis statement
- A body
Don’t burn yourself out, laying the groundwork while adding a short and lackluster conclusion. The absence of a strong closing argument can ruin even the most brilliant essays.
Remember that the conclusion is your knock-out shot, so make it count.
Vocabulary and grammar
My previous point is worth restating: exams are for testing knowledge; essays test your ability to write essays and present an argument. Your teacher will pay special attention to your use of logic, argumentation, sentence structure, and vocabulary.
Every field of study worth its salt has developed specialized terminology, mainly in Greek or Latin just to spite us, regular mortals.
My advice is to not go overboard with particular terminology. Nothing will discredit you more than misspelling or misusing a complicated or obscure word. It will indicate that you tried to show off, and failed miserably.
Better air on the side of caution, only using specialized terminology when absolutely necessary.
As for grammar, syntax, and sentence structure, pay attention!
How can you be trusted to discuss the way Mithochondria convert chemicals and oxygen into ATP when you can’t figure out where a comma goes? Sure, your essay may debate the implications of Comtinental Drift, yet you just misspelled “Continental.” You get the point.
In addition, take care not to overuse long sentences or short sentences. Be sure to weave them together, having a pleasant cadence to your writing. A successful formula would be to follow-up two long sentences with a short one.
Also, remember that paragraphs are not random. Each one should contain a related point.
Students’ essays are no different in demands or structure from the papers published in major science journals. You are free to check out how the big boys write theirs. In fact, it is strongly encouraged to read other works and take inspiration from them. Be careful only to inform yourself and not blatantly plagiarise.
If you are not familiar with the academic writing style, I would recommend that you do some research first.
Try to avoid the familiar, friendly language of your typical blog posts. I know that we live in the age of informality, but this is one of the few situations where a formalized way of writing is still cherished. No slang or informal expressions are to be included in your essay.
Aside from the style of writing, try to include as many citations and studies as possible. Regardless of the subject, the odds are that rivers of ink were written about it. Either link the related studies or include quotes. You can even paraphrase as long as you explain the source and context.
The point is to demonstrate to the teacher that you’ve mastered the 1-2 punch of academia: statement, followed by a citation.
You’re done. Now check again
Finishing a challenging task often creates a great feeling of accomplishment. Yet, we shouldn’t rush to celebrate before checking our work. Spellchecking and verifying our grammar shouldn’t take long.
If you’re not in the mood to edit and check, you can purchase capable spellcheck software such as Grammarly.
Either way, it is your duty to make sure that your work doesn’t have any sloppy mistakes.
As any champion procrastinator can tell you, the hardest part is getting started. The breath of air before taking the plunge is the hardest to swallow.
After that initial impulse is defeated, the dread of having to write your essay swiftly goes away. Following the advice laid out in this article, it is almost impossible to fail. You only need to respect the standard rules of grammar and argumentation.