- May 30, 2022
- Posted by: IGBAJI UGABI
- Category: Academic Writing Guide
Essay Writing Tips – 11 things to note before commencing an Essay Writing
An essay is defined as a short piece of writing in which the writer presents his side or perspective on a particular topic. It is a piece that tends to convey the thoughts of a writer about a particular subject.
Essays are written to either describe, explain, or convince the reader to accept one’s opinion about something as being superior. Here are the top tips that can help you in writing winning essays.
For most students, Essay writing is the toughest and most tricky form of writing assignment which is often issued in class. This is so because of a number of reasons which include:
- Failure to understand the topic of the essay.
- Inability to gather adequate sources for the essay.
- Inability to properly structure the essay.
- Inability to spell words or properly structure a sentence.
Hence, the sole aim of this article is to dish out juicy tips which students ought to note before producing well-written essays. If you want to stop getting low scores in your essays, make sure you read till the end.
Choose a Thoughtful Topic
This topic can be easily removed from the list because most academic essays come with topics and moreover, some persons reading this text might certainly have topics already and just need direction; but, they are some who are yet to start.
You need to choose a good topic to write about. This is certainly a concern, especially for new writers. The topic should be a Focal point, it attracts people to read your writeup but be careful, it must not be just Click baits, attracting readers but with no real substance in the body of the essay.
Always identify the type of essay before you start writing
In order to make Essay writing tougher than it seems, most lecturers and teachers fail to tell students the type of essay which the given assignment topic falls under. Oftentimes, students do not even know those specific assignment topics can even be classified as Essays.
Lecturers and Teachers do this most times because they wish to test the research ability, attentiveness of the students and the level of understanding that a student has regarding a particular topic.
In addition to that, different forms of essays are written in different ways. Hence, the minute a student fails to understand the form of an Essay which ought to be used for a given topic, getting a high mark on the assignment becomes more far-fetched.
How to Identify the different types of Essays
In a nutshell, an Essay can be defined as a long piece of academic writing which is aimed at informing or persuading the reader(s) regarding a specific subject matter. There are many types of Essays but it has four main types, these include; Argumentative, Expository, Narrative and Descriptive Essays.
The sole aim of Argumentative and Expository Essays is to persuade the reader(s) to understand a topic from a particular point of view. Hence, it involves thorough research and expression from a specific point of view. On the other hand, Narrative and Descriptive Essays are designed to inform the reader(s) about specific experiences.
Hence, it involves creativity and much lesser research. From these classifications, it is clear that the writing styles which ought to be used for each type of essay differ so does the given assignment topic which was issued by the lecturer or teacher. Examples of each include:
Expository: Identify the changes which came with the enactment of the ‘sit-at-home law.
Argumentative: Has Corona Virus left behind a positive or negative impact on the world?
Narrative: Write a story that ends with the words, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’.
Descriptive: Describe an object which is of sentimental value to you.
If you look closely, these Essay topics have different words which expose their true nature. For example, the expository essay topic commences with the word ‘identify’, the word ‘explain’ can also be used in place of the former.
Similarly, the argumentative essay topic is posed as a question which is worthy of some sort of controversy or contradicting views. Hence, it is important to take note of these words before commencing the academic write-up.
Always commence with an outline
Simply put, an outline can be defined as a list which shows the sequence or main ideas of an essay. Drafting an outline is a very important step in any form of academic writing. This is so because it gives the reader a particular sense of order that he/she will use to construct the entire academic piece.
In other words, writing an outline is synonymous with reading for an exam, if you are not properly equipped for the exam, you will fail. Similarly, if you do not draft an outline, your essay will be disorganized.
Make sure that the Structure of the essay is clear and static. It is divided into three parts
-The Introduction: This is the first Paragraph of the Essay, it is written as a pathway into the work itself. The length of the Introduction is dependent on the length of the Essay, however, an Ideal introduction is about 2-3 sentences. It carries the thesis of your argument
-The Body: This is the entire weight of the work, it contains all the vital points to be outlined in the Essay
-Conclusion: This is the wrap-up of everything that has been talked about in the Essay. It is the essay summary which re-enforces the thesis.
How to draft an Essay Outline
It was previously stated that an outline is written in form of a list. It should also be noted that an outline is not included in an Essay or any form of an academic piece. This means that drafting it does not require special attention and it can be as rough as possible.
Think of it as a rough sketch-drawing idea which will later be used as a guide for an original portrait. Hence, an outline can be drafted in the following simple steps:
- Write down the topic or thesis statement,
- Decide and write down the points or topics which will be discussed in the paper,
- Arrange these points in a logical order in such a way that these points connect with the original point.
If the reader is not sure of the points or topics regarding the essay topic, he/she can reconstruct the outline multiple times while conducting proper research for the essay.
Always conduct a proper Research
Research can be defined as the systematic investigation and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions regarding a particular topic or subject matter.
One of the mistakes that cause students to get low points during essay writing is their inability to conduct proper research before commencing the essay and while writing the essay. The essence of this research is to source valuable information as well as proper inspiration to produce valid points for the essay.
In fact, one of the core reasons why teachers and lecturers give students essay topics is to ascertain their researchability. Hence, when a student fails to conduct proper research for an essay, it leads to the following setbacks:
- The essay turns out to be very scanty because the student only produced a few points relating to the topic.
- The essay turns out to be poorly structured because the student failed to get inspiration and proper guides from previously written essays relating to the topic.
- The points which are produced by the student relating to the essay turn out to be less convincing or even unrealistic.
How to conduct proper research for an Essay.
In order to conduct proper research for an essay, the student must go through the following simple steps:
- . Read the essay question and understand it thoroughly:
Understanding the given essay question is very vital because it serves as the foundation of the research. This is so because, if a student fails to understand the given topic, he/she can take a wrong turn during the course of the research and provide wrong points for the given topic.Hence, in order for a student to properly understand an essay topic, he/she ought to:
- Read the given topic multiple times and try to give it some sort of meaning.
- Search and read about different ideologies relating to the given topic online or in a library.
- Ask fellow classmates for their ideologies relating to the given topic, compare and pick out the most suitable ideology.
- . Evaluate and analyze the Information provided:
The provided information in this context could come from the ideologies provided by fellow classmates or the long string of information which will be discovered by the student online or in the library. After gathering information, the next step is to compare, contrast and fish out the information or resources which will be most ideal for the essay topic.
(iii). Construct an outline based on the evaluated information:
After evaluating the provided information, the next step will be to write an outline based on this information. Similarly, it is advisable for the student to look for past essays which were written regarding the given topic, not to copy and paste but to get a basic idea of how to construct and write a new essay.
Put in much simpler words, if a student is able to find a past copy of an essay relating to a given topic online, he/she can look at the structure of the essay, the way in which the past writer unveiled specific points relating to the given topic and, the structure of the essay.
Deducing from the method(s) employed by the past writer, the student can get inspiration and also pick out points which will be used to construct an outline for the essay.
(iii). Research these points one by one.
In order to gain more insight about a particular point, the student ought to research the topics which were written out in the outline one by one. This is important because it will give the student a broader insight into the particular topic. This way, the student will be able to make the point more believable and realistic.
Use a writing style which is most suitable for the type of essay
It was earlier established that it is important to identify the type of essay before commencing the writing. This is so because these different types of essays require different writing styles. On this note, the types of essay writing styles include Expository, Narrative, Persuasive and Descriptive.
As the name implies, expository writing can be defined as a form of writing which exposes facts. Similarly, it can be regarded as a form of writing which educates its readers, rather than entertaining or attempting to persuade them. Expository writing aims to deepen the reader’s understanding of a particular subject matter.
From the stated definitions, it is clear that the expository writing style is used to write an expository essay. Hence, during the course of writing the essay, the writer ought to:
- Provide his/her opinion regarding a particular subject matter.
- Make this opinion look realistic and convincing.
- Attempt to change or shape the reader’s mindset regarding that particular subject matter.
Persuasive writing is a form of writing which is aimed at convincing readers to believe in an idea or opinion or to perform an action. In order to engage in this form of writing, the reader must first of all have an in-depth understanding of the given topic and its setbacks(if any).
This way, it will be easier to criticize, manipulate and convince another person to see the subject matter in a new light. Persuasive writing is mostly used for argumentative essays.
This is a form of writing whereby the writer uses descriptions and sensory details to aid the reader in creating mental pictures about a particular person, object or event.
This form of writing requires a large deal of imagination and creativity and lesser research compared to other forms of writing. However, research is also advised because it aids inspiration.
This form of writing is mostly used for descriptive essays, in order to add a touch of realism to the piece, lecturers and teachers mostly ask students to share particular experiences or experiences which will correlate to a particular subject matter.
Simply put, narrative writing is a form of writing which tells a story. In other words, it can be regarded as a piece of writing which tells a story. Hence, narrative writing is mostly used to curate narrative essays. This form of essay largely depends on creativity and imagination, just like a descriptive essay.
Deducing on the definitions provided, it is clear that the different types of essays require different writing methods. Hence, it is important for writers to first be aware of the essay type and then the writing style and structure.
Write a Good Introduction
The Introduction for me is the most important part of your Essay. This is the part that states what one should expect from the essay. This is the reason some writers write the Body of the Essay before the Introduction. The introduction sets the tone for the essay and should be crafted beautifully in order to make the reader get interested in the Essay.
The length of the Introduction is dependent on the length of the essay, but for normal essays, 2-3 sentences are enough. They should be able to produce a tip of what is to come while capturing the readers’ attention.
You can check other tips to write a good introduction for your essay so as to achieve your goals. Princess Nnennaya Onoh (PhD) in one of her lectures has it that an introduction is where you say what you are going to say.
Present your Thesis
The thesis is a powerful quote that sums up the entire essay. It is a Punchline you build your entire essay around. Your thesis normally comes in your Introduction. The thesis is your main argument in the essay. When asked to present your thesis, you are simply expected to present a sentence that tells your opinion about the text. After this, you can now state your argument, trying to explain your thesis.
For example, if you are asked to write an essay on the topic, “Essentiality of Food Security to the Nigerian Security”. You can start thus:
“Hunger is pointed out as a Huge Factor for theft in every society, Hunger emanates from an inability to either find something to eat or unavailability of the funds to get the available food; Imagine when the funds are there and the food becomes the challenge, we will gradually be heading into full-blown anarchy”.
It might seem a bit long but then it presents the basis for every other thing to be written in the essay.
This is where findings come in, before you start writing an essay, you have to do thorough research about the topic. You need to state in clear terms the facts that will back up your points.
The sole aim of an essay is to convert to the readers the ideas of the writer. The writer tries his best to make the reader see the reasons for his side of the story. The points should be stated so that the aim of the write-up can be achieved.
This comes with evidence to back up your thesis, it is usually the body of the essay. Most times, writers make the mistake of making assumptions about vital information presented in their write-ups. Assumptions and generalisations sometimes make you sound less confident in your thesis statement.
For Example, consider these statements; “Almost everyone I know has suffered from Covid-19”, “I think Nigeria has the best GDP in Africa, followed by South Africa”. Both of them don’t show conviction at all. Don’t assume or generalise, instead research for facts.
Use Clear Terms
Every essay should be as understandable as possible. It is important to write an essay that people will easily understand. The diction of your essay is a determinant of your expected essay. In writing essays for a general audience, it is important to use simple and concise English, unless you what to narrow your readership.
Cite your sources
In writing your essay, it is important to cite your sources. This is important, especially if you are working on an Academic Project. You need to make reference to your sources of additional information.
Revise/Proofread your essay at least twice before submission
Simply put, proofreading can be defined as the art of carefully checking a write-up for errors in text and structure before it is published or shared. Proofreading is an important aspect of essay writing because it rids the essay of all forms of errors.
Oftentimes, it is the structural, syntax or grammatical errors in the essay that makes students to get low scores in essay writing. Hence, it is always important to go through the academic piece more than once to be sure that it is error-free.
Similarly, writers are advised to take a little break after completing the essay, and before proofreading it. This way, the writer will be able to look at the piece from a different angle. It will be easier for the student to identify errors this way.
Alternatively, the student can make use of online applications which are specialized in proofreading, if they are not sure of their skills. An example of such an application is Grammarly.
So many Persons make the mistake of writing an essay without looking through it thoroughly before publishing. It is Important to go peruse the work carefully so as to avoid Spelling and Grammatical Errors or omissions that should have been useful in the Essay. Revising should not be done in a haste, it is the last part of the Essay so reading between the lines is required.
Understanding what is required of you in the essay is also very important, the target audience also has some form of influence on the tone and diction of the Essay. The application of these tips will definitely help you take your Essay writing to a Whole New Level.