Essay writing ranks top among the dreaded assignments for students. Unfortunately, essays make up the bulk of college assignments and thus largely dictate your final grade. Also, the fear of essays is not enough grounds for exemption from these assignments.
Often, students struggle with writing essays due to their limited exposure to handling various aspects of essay writing. With some practice, you can master your essay writing and quickly complete various assignments without compromising your paper’s quality.
You must understand the elements of good writing to focus your efforts on improving your skills and ensure steady progress. Here, we will highlight some strategies on how to improve essay writing, to help you secure decent grades in various essay assignments.
What makes a good essay?
A good essay is the marriage of various elements. Among these elements include a focused thesis, adherence to the provided guidelines, original insights, and detailed editing.
As such, practice is essential to help you improve your capacity to manage each of the above-mentioned elements.
How to make your essays better
Success in essay writing calls for patience, practice, and the commitment to start small and build from there. Although you may feel as though some students were born with writing flair, it takes time to advance your writing skills from a novice level to a pro level.
These tips on how to write better essays should come in handy to help you overcome the learning curve and allow you to quickly master your essay writing skills.
- Create an outline
An outline is crucial for organizing the ideas you want to discuss within your essay. Through the outline, you can gauge the completeness of your research and plan your arguments to achieve a smooth flow for your paper.
A well-written outline serves as a guide for your writing efforts, helping you to avoid various conflicting ideas that could side-track your line of argument. Also, learn to develop a reverse outline after the completion of your paper, to gauge how well you expressed ideas within your essay.
The reverse outline can be compared with your initial outline to highlight the changes you made along the way and to gauge sections that require additional research or to be split into two or more manageable paragraphs.
- Read a broad range of essays
Reading the existing essays and publications is a great way to shape your writing. Exposure to academic writing extends your capacity to clearly express yourself while extending your perspectives for future essays.
When analysing papers, gauge the tone and approach of a reader towards a discussion and adopt various elements into your writing process.
- Hone your research skills
Essay writing is a research-heavy task that calls for extensive interaction with various sources to better support various claims within your paper. For this, familiarize yourself with key sites for retrieving relevant literature relating to your field.
For instance, you could make a habit of starting your research off on Wikipedia and using their reference list as a guide toward relevant topic sources. Also, consult your librarian and fellow scholars on the resources that will expand your scope on a topic and offer you a broad perspective on various research ideas.
‘Practice more’ is a common piece of advice that is thrown around to students looking to prepare stronger essays. However, mindlessly writing copious amounts of essays and shelving your work once you are done barely yields quality results.
Ideally, conduct deliberate practice for various aspects of essay writing and consult your tutor for feedback. This approach will highlight various errors within your work, allowing you to steadily improve your essay writing skills.
You could also use various editing tools to identify your common mistakes and work towards reducing the occurrence of various errors within your papers.
- Learn how to manage your time
Time misappropriation is often a cause for poorly written essays. Proper time management will allow you to focus on various aspects of your essay, ensuring the overall quality of your paper.
Ideally, develop an essay writing schedule and chunk your work into phases, ensuring ample attention to various details. Also, consider employing the Pomodoro technique to sustain your focus and ensure maximum productivity in various study sessions.
- Form a group
The philosophy of ubuntu holds as much sense in academics as it does in social interactions. Group study brings together a pool of strengths in different aspects of essay writing, allowing each member to improve their overall essay writing skills.
- Edit thoroughly
Another key step to improving essay writing skills is to familiarize yourself with common errors and the best editing practices. For this, you could start by using an editing app or engaging an editor and asking them to use the ‘track changes’ feature in Word.
This will allow you to identify your common errors and help you to improve your writing gradually. However, be keen when using grammar editing tools as some of the recommended changes may distort the intended meaning of various sentences within your essay.
Writing an essay is a skill that takes time and practice to master. These tips should guide your essay writing efforts, helping you overcome the common challenges experienced by first-time writers.