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Essay Writing Guide

An essay is a brief write-up on a specific theme or subject. Formal in nature, essays are designed to get academic viewpoints of authors on a particular topic. By comprehensively and systematically detailing all the concerning matters, an essay further analyses and assesses a specific topic. A good essay contains arguments and thoughts presented in a rational and objective way. When writing academic essays, broader observations would not help an author in bringing about an adept essay. Academic essays need to cover the questions asked to answer or require verifying something or coming up with a thesis- aided by reasoning and facts. Moreover, proper examples and appropriate attributions are considered as indispensable elements when drafting academic essays. However, most essays-be it academic or general, have to meet a word limit, often. Below given are some useful tips for drafting a perfect piece of essay.

For skilfully drafting an essay, remember:

  • To have a proper and prior planning.
  • To acquire a clear understanding of how you are attending the question, where you are heading to and why.
  • To identify the important points that you want to include in the essay.
  • To make it clear how the important points connect with each other.
  • To guide readers in a consistent and progressive method.
  • To assist readers in recalling your points.
  • To form well-organized paragraphs of related information.
  • To make use of connectors, transitions and conjunctions to relate each idea to its preceding and following points.

A good essay format comprises of:

  • An introduction that could grab readers’ attention, establish a scene and give details on how you are going to answer and interpret questions. If necessary, you can even define major terminologies in the introductory paragraph. Furthermore, a short outline of the issues or problems that you are going to examine in the essay also can be mentioned.
  • A body that details all the ideas as outlined in the intro part. You can further divide the body into paragraphs according to your requirement. Usually, the first paragraph covers your first point, as it starts by introducing the main point of the paragraph. The sentences that follow elaborate, develop and exemplify the main point. In the next paragraphs, by using linking words or connectors, you can relate the major points of your essay in a progressive way. It is in the body where you need to raise your arguments and place your evidence.
  • Finally, a conclusion that sums up your whole points and ideas. You need to make it apparent the key argument that you rose in your essay, probably in your last sentence. To finish, state limitations of your essay in brief and put forth your suggestions regarding the question or topic of your essay.

The different stages of a good essay are:

1. Planning

  • Carefully analyse your essay question, prepare a rough draft or outline of the essay and employ a plan to direct you to perform a detailed research.
  • Note the key terms, phrases and ideas that you require to describe.
  • Map what you need to do through the essay- is to give reason for, to analyse, to comment on, to compare and contrast or to relate, to critically assess, to discuss or describe or define, to explore or investigate or examine, to distinguish between, to interpret or justify, to illustrate, to state or to summarise etc.
  • Do your research to assist you further in your writing as you can adopt skimming and scanning techniques for acquiring a wider-knowledge in the area related to your question.
  • Polish your plan. If you miss covering any important points while conducting the research, include them too. Throw out all unnecessary and irrelevant points. Set the physical appearance of your essay. Include adequate illustrations and examples. Record all the reference details of works that are going to assist you in writing your essay.

2. Writing

  • Start off with drafting a rough copy.
  • Finalize your main points and elaborate each point on each paragraph by linking the paragraphs with proper connecting words.
  • Follow a format- introduction- that leads to the body- and conclude it.
  • Choose your style of writing- as in academic writing, evaluative and argumentative and descriptive are the three commonly used writing format.
  • Keep the rough draft for at least two days- approach the copy with a fresh mindset.
  • Edit your rough copy. Keep a checklist that could aid you in assessing your write-up by raising several questions such as are the points clear, are the paragraphs pertinent to the question, is there adequate data to support the topic, are the contents superfluous, does the essay follow a logical, progressive order, are the references correct and accurate etc.
  • While adding references, make sure you follow an accepted referencing style, for instance, there are APA, Harvard, MLA etc. style guides for providing an accurate citation to materials.
  • Write your fine copy if you are satisfied with your rough draft
  • Use standard and formal language and avoid dialect. Also, avoid using abbreviations and writing in first and second person. Shun wordiness in lines. Do not go for emotive and personal language, instead use logical and rational statements and arguments.
  • Be concise, clear, accurate and honest as readers cannot clarify their doubts. Avoid repetitive ideas and irrelevant words. Do not complicate the points, use simple, layman language. Also, be precise to the point. Avoid using clichés, collocation and vague words.

3. Proofreading

  • The prime aim of proofreading is to curb or reduce errors in writing. It would help you in keeping your essay free of grammatical, syntax and punctuation errors.
  • If you do not get someone for proofreading, re-read the copy yourself and revise it accordingly. Go through the reference list and check if it supplements the names, data and quotes that you used in your essay.
  • Recheck once again to ensure that you have not missed any relevant points and finally, submit your essay with the concerned authorities.

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