If you’re not an expert essay writer, then the idea of having to write an essay may send shivers down your spine. Fortunately, like anything else in life, there are tricks to writing an essay that can take the stress out of it, as well as make it easier to do well on your essays and get the grades you want. In this article, I will go over 8 of these tricks to help you write better essays.
Tip #1: Start from an outline
The first thing you should do when starting an essay is to write an outline. This will provide a checklist of what needs to be included in your essay. It will also help keep you on topic and prevent you from being sidetracked by other ideas. Your outline can simply be a list of bullet points or even just a page with only one line on it, so as long as it helps you organize your thoughts and includes all of your topic’s required elements, that’s all that matters.
Tip #2: Write each sentence carefully
Because essays are evaluated according to how well they are written, you must make sure that your essay is free of spelling and grammatical errors. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a perfect score for an essay just because of some silly mistakes now would you? So it’s very important that you proofread every sentence before sending off your completed paper. Even if you have another person check over your paper for grammar mistakes, it’s best to go through and read each sentence carefully yourself.
Tip #3: Stick to one idea per paragraph
Writing concisely is an art, and developing your ability to do so will help you communicate your ideas more clearly. It’s tempting to bury every thought you have in a single essay, but avoid doing so. Instead, try using one paragraph per idea – then make each paragraph as detailed as possible while still keeping focused on that single idea. Additionally, it’s important to remember that every paragraph should conclude with a clear transition back into your main argument.
Tip #4: Proofread your essays
Many college students simply do not proofread their essays. It is easy to see why – they are under huge pressure and cannot be bothered with such things as proofreading. This can cost them dearly, however, especially when it comes to grammar errors. Grammar mistakes in an essay written by a student will reflect very badly on that student’s writing ability. To make sure that your essay is free of these errors, you should always use a spell checker and read your essay backwards.
Tip #5: If you can’t write, show it visually
Your writing should be clear and concise, but there are times when even that isn’t enough. If you’re having trouble conveying your thoughts in writing, consider breaking out a visual aid. Slideshows and infographics are a great way to make your point quickly, clearly, and above all—visually.
Tip #6: Don’t wait until the last minute
This is a huge mistake that college students consistently make. They wait until two days before their essay is due and then they have to pull an all-nighter to finish it. You will not do your best work if you’re exhausted. The key is to start early, so you can draft and revise several times before submitting it to your professor. Remember, there are no late penalties in college—take advantage of that!
Tip #7: Ask yourself Who am I writing this essay for?
Many students don’t stop to think about who will be reading their essay. To ensure your essay is well received, take a step back and ask yourself: Who am I writing for? What do they want from me? What response are they looking for? This can help you fine-tune both your thesis and your tone. If you know that your audience is likely to be academic and conservative, for example, it might make sense to write an argumentative essay that takes a more measured approach. If you know that your audience will likely include high school teachers or other professionals in education fields, it might make sense to write an informative piece instead of an argumentative one.
Tip #8: Save all drafts of your essay before submission
This is one of my favorite pieces of advice. There’s nothing more anxiety-inducing than having a friend look over your essay right before it’s due and realize there are still a few typos that need to be corrected. Save yourself some time and energy by double-checking for errors before handing in your work!