Writing an essay can be a daunting task, so with the knowledge of a few simple truths you should be able to just walk through the process with confidence.
Even if you think that you know what you need to do, take the time to read through the instructions several times. Initially focus on the task that you are being asked to do. The truth is that many students “think”, they know what they have to do but when they read the instructions carefully they realise that their initial assumption was incorrect. When you read the instructions carefully make a note of the important things such as how many words you are needed, the type of essay and when you need to hand it in.
One of the most important aspects of essay writing is that you cannot just write ad hoc so to speak, you need to put a lot of thought into the planning stage of your work. Planning works the best when you set aside some time to think and jot down a few notes, which you can then go back to and do some serious brainstorming. Just because you have brainstormed an idea does not mean that you have to use all of the ideas. You need to be selective and think of making them into a logical progression.
It does not matter what sort of essay that you have been asked to write they all basically follow a similar pattern, namely Introduction, Main and Discussion or Conclusion. Some essays will require you to also formally cite the references that you have used throughout your work. If this is the case you just need to use the correct format. If you are writing an argumentative essay then make sure that you provide both sides of the argument equally rather than just give a one sided point of view.
Regard each paragraph as a mini essay. Each paragraph should have a beginning, middle and end. It should also only cover just one point that you are making. Your first sentence should be the introduction to the content of the paragraph. The last sentence should be the conclusion and pathway to the next paragraph. Make sure that the order of your paragraphs make sense, by showing a progression of ideas rather than separate ideas that are unrelated in any way.
Grab the attention of your reader. Look at examples of other people's writing. See if you can pick up the strategies that they are using to invite the reader to continue reading. Depending on the content of your essay, try starting the introduction with a brief but effect anecdote or start with a quote from a prominent writer. You could try an attention grabbing joke. If you go down this pathway make sure that it is both appropriate and that it relates to the topic of your essay.
This is the biggest truth! Don't write an essay then just not bother to read it through. It's surprising the amount typos that you will find when you re-read.
Don't rely totally on the spell-checker. If you make a particular typo error consistently such as 'fro' instead of 'for; the spell-checker will assume that you really wanted 'fro'.
If you make any changes then, make sure that you read through you work, in case other changes are needed, for example plurals and tenses may be the most apparent.
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