Hello again! Today I am going to share with you some essay writing tips that I believe will help you to write a better essay and hopefully make you feel more comfortable about writing them.
Essay writing is very different to what you were probably used to at school, as referencing needs to be included at the end of each essay to show where you got your research from, however we will come on to this later.
Step 1: Choose the right question
Occasionally you get a choice of questions to answer. You should go for the one that you know more about and feel like you can find information online or in the library relatively easily. You may even know some points already that you can include to answer the question, or have your own opinion on it that you can add. This will get you off to a much better start.
Step 2: Time your essay well
However tempting it might be to go out socialising the week or even day before your essay is due, make sure that your essay is completed first. When you get the question it is easiest to start researching straight away; that way you have more time to find more information and make your essay even better without it being rushed. Also, if you get it done before the deadline, you could even check it through with your tutor and see if there is anything you can improve on. It is always good to look over your essay with a fresh mind the day after it is finished to check for any grammatical mistakes.
Step 3: Try not to get distracted
Where you are writing your essay makes a difference. If you are easily distracted by things in your room and need a quiet space, then maybe the library is the place for you. This prevents procrastination and you will be able to concentrate a lot more.
Step 4: Making a plan
Make sure you have a set plan so you know what you are writing about, including your points, arguments, evidence and conclusion. This makes it a lot easier to structure your essay and as you find extra bits of information, you can add it to your plan as you go along. It also helps you to make sure that it all flows before writing your final copy up. You will be given a word count when writing your essay, so make sure that you stick to this limit to avoid losing marks; you could include how many words you want to write for each paragraph in your plan.
Step 5: Make a clear introduction
Your introduction should include some key definitions that are in the question and that you might have read in the text book or learned about in lectures. These show that you know what are you talking about and also explains to the reader what exactly the essay is about. This way, the reader has a clear understanding of the essay flow.
Step 6: Referencing
Universities expect you to reference, so make sure that you are using the correct referencing style that your department wants. This can usually be found in your course guide. I prefer to reference as I go along so I remember exactly where I got that information from, whether it is a journal article, book, website, newspaper article or video; however some people prefer to add all their references in at the end, so they stay in the right mind set to keep writing while they remember their ideas. This website includes the handbook for all departments and is great to get you going http://www.essex.ac.uk/students/study-resources/handbooks/.
Step 7: Make a good conclusion
A conclusion sums up your essay and makes a final decision as to what you are proving/arguing. Throughout your essay, you may feel strongly about something or be arguing for and against something, however at the end you need to make a decision as to what you think the answer to the question actually is to summarise.
Step 8: Don’t panic!
If you time your essay well then there is no reason to panic. There is always help around campus, such as from your personal tutor, department, lecturer or teacher, so don’t hesitate to ask because they will be willing to help!