At some point, most university students will start to become inundated with essays and assignments.
Essay writing is a common, obligatory academic assignment, usually regardless of course or institution. Therefore, it is a skill that many students need to adopt quickly if they want to keep their head above water throughout their studies.
Nevertheless, essay writing can be tedious and difficult, and you can rest assured that you’re not the only one who would rather aimlessly binge-watch Netflix for hours than face the work. However, when you’re aware of the important aspects of constructing an effective essay, it can help to make the writing process a lot less daunting and stressful, much more productive, and therefore over more quickly.
In this post, we’re outlining some of the most important dos and don’ts that should be considered when writing an essay. These important points make up the backbone of your essay, and as long as you keep them in mind, you can’t go wrong. Refer back to them when you’re writing your essay to ensure that you’re always staying on track.
- DO show a good command of language and use linking phrases to develop your essay.
Your essay should always be smooth and coherent, leading the reader from one point to another. This is why you should use transitions and appropriate linking phrases to connect your ideas to one another. Doing so demonstrates your command of language, alongside your use of basic grammar, spelling and punctuation.
- DON’T over-complicate your sentences as they will become hard to read.
While you should do all that you can to display your command of language, avoid trying too hard by over-complicating your sentences. Making sentences too long or convoluted will make your essay unnecessarily hard to read and understand. Get rid of extra words and phrases, and be sure to adhere to the style guidelines.
- DO clearly identify reliable sources either in the body of the essay or in the footnotes.
When writing an academic essay, it’s almost always essential to include examples to back up your ideas. Be sure to always reference the source of the information – be it a mention of something you have read or a direct quotation – and double-check that your sources are reliable. Reliable sources will ensure that your examples will be much more convincing of the ideas you wish to convey.
- DON’T plagiarise under any circumstances whatsoever.
This rule should be a clear no-brainer for every student – however it is worth mentioning all the same. Plagiarism is viewed as cheating, and can be easily detected. It is certainly not worth risking your academic reputation for. Be honest at all times, and reference every source to ensure you are covering all your bases.
- DO write content that reflects and elaborates on the question that has been asked.
In order to ensure that your essay flows coherently, make sure that the main body of your essay reflects and develops on the question that has been asked. Double-check that you’ve covered every point, and that you haven’t drifted off topic. At the end of the day, the intention of your essay is to provide an answer.
- DON’T write a thesis statement that lacks examples and ideas.
The thesis statement is one of the most important parts of the essay, as it essentially reveals the main ideas of the essay presented in a concise format. Therefore, it should never lack relevant examples and ideas that you will then develop in the main body of the essay.
- DO make a section by section plan that presents an argument relevant to the topic – and stick to it!
The easiest way to ensure that your essay reads well is by strategically planning the structure so that the key points are clear enough to get the message across. Making a point-by-point, section-by-section plan instead of diving right into the deep end of actually drafting it will make the essay much easier to construct.
- DON’T write an essay without a concluding paragraph that returns to the relevant topic.
Another integral part of your essay is the concluding paragraph, which should never be neglected. It should not be a repeat of the introduction, but should tie all of your ideas presented into one concise finish. Be sure to always return to the relevant topic, and provide an answer as simply as you can.
Article provided by Katy Mairs, blog editor at UniBaggage.
(Featured image credit: Notebook with bookmarks and pen vector designed by Freepik. Used under the Creative Commons Licence.)