Throughout your academic studies, you will be asked to write countless essays on a wide range of topics. Academic writing requires a student to clearly communicate their thoughts, properly structure sentences, use accurate grammar, and present content of an essay in a logical manner. There’s no surprise, then, that essay writing is challenging for many students. The article has been written to guide you through the process of writing an essay. Keep reading to find out how to create essays that will occupy the high end of the marking scale.

Phase 1: Writing

The challenge of producing a top-notch essay is grounded in the fact that it requires a considerable amount of preparation. This is especially so for a research paper. To ensure that the essay addresses the question in the assignment and does it properly, you have to research the topic. To this end, visit a library, conduct online research, or read newspapers.

 

Find out which sources are considered acceptable by your professor. Some instructors allow the use of non-scholarly sources in their assignments and essays; others insist on the use of academic sources only. If your professor is picky about reliable sources, it is better to stick to academic works such as peer-reviewed articles, edited books, conference proceedings, and theses. To ensure that a work you intend to use in an essay is academic, consider the following attributes of academic sources: abstract, considerable length, references, author affiliations, proper format, charts, and recognized academic publishing house.

 

NB It is never OK to reference Wikipedia in your essay. You might use the online encyclopedia to familiarize yourself with the research topic; however, you should opt for other sources to gain a deep understanding of the subject.

 

During the research process, take extensive notes and don’t forget to keep track of used sources. Make sure not to ignore facts that contradict your claims because an A+ essay always presents two sides of the argument. After truthfully presenting the arguments of others, come up with original ideas to make the essay uniquely yours. Take your time and brainstorm as many ideas as you can. After analyzing generated ideas, choose one that can be supported by strong evidence from your research. This idea will be a core of your thesis statement.

 

NB A good thesis statement should focus narrowly on a topic. Don’t make it too long and convoluted by including excessive information and roaming off-topic. Also, your thesis statement shouldn’t pose a question.

 

The key to producing an excellent essay is planning. Write down your main ideas and create topic sentences for them. Create bullet points with supporting evidence underneath each topic sentences. It’s a rule of thumb to have three supporting arguments for each main idea.

 

After mapping the structure of your essay, start writing. You shouldn’t worry about length at this point; however, don’t produce several pages if you were asked to write several paragraphs only. Put your thoughts into writing while avoiding sweeping generalizations, which can confuse or annoy your intended audience. It is also a great idea to avoid personal pronouns the use of which makes an essay less authoritative.

 

When the body of the essay is finished, it’s time to come up with interesting introduction and title. The principal purpose of these two structural elements of an essay is to introduce readers to the issue at hand and give them a general idea of your position. Make the audience interested in what you have to say by avoiding general expressions and focusing on the most important arguments.

 

Summarize your key points in a conclusion. Reiterate why your arguments are important. Supplement them with implications and help the readers to remember your essay by restating your thesis statement.

Phase 2: Revision

Finish the essay a couple of days before the submission date. This will allow you to revise it later. The revision is extremely important because it helps to:

 

•  Revisit ideas and arguments,

•  Double check for errors,

•  Add a final polish

 

During the revision phase, eliminate spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. If necessary, consult a style book. Make sure to avoid repetitive and vague language. An A+ level essay should be clear, concise, and polished. Help your readers to understand when one section of the essay ends and another begins by using transitional words and phrases. Resort to transitional words whenever you want to show contrast or opposition, make an emphasis, or indicate a purpose.

 

NB Use adjectives sparingly. An essay overburdened with descriptive words can be hard to read.

 

A college essay should be formal in tone. For this reason, it is essential to avoid colloquialisms, contractions, and abbreviations. Don’t try to write in the manner reserved primarily for spoken language. A casual tone is not acceptable in academic settings; therefore, it will be perceived negatively by your instructor. Furthermore, refrain from using filler words such as Basically, Obviously, Well, Even, Really, Simply, and Just.

 

Analyze the flow of each sentence in the paper. If it doesn’t seem like a sentence belongs there – go ahead and cut it out. Don’t become attached to your writing to the point of not willing to prune bloated language. Any sentence that doesn’t help your ideas to flow should go.

 

Finally, ask a friend to read your essay. This will help to ensure that your paper is persuasive. Additionally, a peer reviewer might find mistakes and inconsistencies that detract from the quality of the paper.

The Overall Essay Structure

Here’s the overall structure of a standard five-paragraph essay:

 

Introduction

•  An attention-grabbing sentence;

•  A thesis statement;

•  A preview of the following subtopics.

 

Body Paragraph #1

•  Topic sentence;

•  Supporting details;

•  An elaboration of how the argument proves your thesis.

 

Body Paragraph #2

•  Topic sentence;

•  Supporting details;

•  An elaboration of how the argument proves your thesis.

 

Body Paragraph #3

•  Topic sentence;

•  Supporting details;

•  An elaboration of how the argument proves your thesis.

 

Conclusion

•  Restatement of the thesis;

•  Summary of key points;

•  Implications or call to action.

Additional Essay Writing Tips

 

•  The length of each essay section should be proportionate to its overall length,

•  If a professor asks for a 5 to 7 pages essay, it is better to submit an essay that is 7 pages long,

•  Whenever possible, opt for an active voice, which sounds more assertive and concise.

 

By mastering and following the described techniques, you will write an essay the right way (even when it’s ghastly boring) and thus, significantly increase your chances to get a good grade!