Essay writing is compulsory for you as a student in almost all layers of academic learning. It’s something that you cannot avoid as long as you’re still in school – high school or college. Hence, you need to learn how to write essays. Every student needs sufficient essay writing skills to write high-quality essays and get high grades.
Although it’s possible to outsource your assignments to an essay writing service, you would be able to learn more through research and writing and also save your money for other things. This article discusses five tips to improve your essay writing skills.
- Understand the essay question
The first thing to do when writing an essay is to understand the essay question. Know what’s required of you, and you’ll be able to write the essay appropriately. There are certain things you can look out for in your essay question:
- Content words- this explains the essay’s main theme and what you should focus on in your writing.
- Instructional verbs give you an idea of the approach to use for essay writing. For instance, analyzing an idea and explaining an idea are two different things. Both are Instructional verbs you should follow for the essay. So, look for what action you’re told to take and follow that approach.
- Limiting words- this tells you what you should focus on in your essay. For instance, if you’re writing about “the effect of global warming in the Carribean region,” it’s different from “the effect of global warming.” The limiting word in the first instance is “Carribean region.” So your essay must be tailored and limited to that region alone.
These are the things to note to understand your essay question and write a proper response properly.
- Always have an outline.
Creating an outline before writing your essay helps you develop a solid essay. Essays mostly have a basic format or structure that you will follow: introduction, body, and conclusion.
Introduction: This is the first paragraph of your essay. It highlights your thesis statement and provides the necessary background information that the reader should know about the topic.
Body: This is the main part of the essay that discusses different points to back the thesis statement. Each paragraph should contain a point to support your argument.
Conclusion: This section summarises the main point of the argument and links it with the thesis statement.
When creating your outline, you need to break it down into the different sections of the essay, as discussed above. But the most important part is the body section. Prepare at least three points to back your argument in this section.
- Use other sources and evidence.
It’s not enough that you have an argument you’re backing or points you’re making. What makes your essay good is that you can back up your points with evidence and other sources. Once you’ve determined the stand you’re taking on an argument, you must conduct extensive research and gather enough evidence to support your point. This includes using statistics, illustrations and quotations.
Apart from adding the evidence to your essay, you should also analyze each to show how they support your point. There must be a strong connection between your point and the evidence you’re using.
Additionally, you must remember to cite your sources well. Show your readers where you got your evidence from. This increases the credibility of your essay. This often means you have to cite the source within the essay and add a bibliography or reference list to provide full details at the end of the essay.
- Create drafts
One of the common mistakes that students make with essay writing is that they write the essay once and move on from it. To write better essays, you must learn to create drafts. There should always be an initial and final version, even if it means redrafting them only once.
Your initial draft is the rough, unpolished version with unrefined thoughts and gathered evidence. When you’re done creating this version, take a break before returning to it and improving on it. Express your thoughts more clearly, create connections between the evidence and your argument, refine your words and thoughts, and strengthen your argument. This way, you would have two essays on the same topic with contrasting qualities. Unfortunately, many students write the essay once and submit the initial version without giving themselves the chance to improve it.
- Get someone to proofread your essay
Editing and proofreading are the final parts of writing an essay. But the truth is, you cannot proofread your essay as well as someone who didn’t write it can. There are errors you won’t spot because you wrote them. Also, having someone else proofread it gives you a fresher perspective and insight into your point. However, if you have no one around to proofread for you, you can do it by yourself. Give yourself some time before proofreading it. Take a day or two after writing. Make sure you don’t submit your essay without proofreading it.
There are many ways that you can improve your essay writing skills. This article only mentions a few, but if you can practice these tips, you’ll see the staggering difference in your essay quality.