Writing an essay implies an interesting intellectual exercise to craft thoughtful arguments on a certain topic, sometimes within a particular word count. For each student, an essay means the chance of making it a little better than the last one. But how can you cross that line between good and better or even the best?
There are some techniques that can help you achieve your goal and improve your essay writing skills.
Read what others have written
Similar to reading books, reading other people’s essays will help you build and develop your own essay writing styles. Try to read the essays of your academics and peers, on a wide range of subjects. Different disciplines might require diverse styles or arguments, so the wider you read, the more techniques you will get in contact with, that you could, later on, use in your essays.
When you read other essays, also try to be critical. Ask yourself what you like about them, what you don’t like, if the argument is a balanced one and if the writer has applied techniques that you have not seen before.
Build a dictionary
A rich vocabulary will help you express clearly what you mean. You can even build you own dictionary in which to add words that you found somewhere and you would like to use them. Always work to expand your vocabulary as there are always new words that can help you express a point of view more effectively. This method will also help you reduce waffles and increase precision.
Before you begin planning your essay, you should think about what resources you will use (the internet, books, etc.) and also make a timeline. Write down everything that you want to read and try to gather all the material that you need. Prepare a timeline for how long you will spend researching and reading, writing and planning, and leave at least a day before the deadline to have time to make significant changes.
Some teachers give reading lists for essays; others don’t. But even if you are given such a list, you should go and find other sources yourself, to add depth, breadth and a fresh perspective to your essay. Remember to use only valuable and reliable sources such as academic articles.
Make an outline
Planning is the most important step in creating an essay. Has your teacher ever said about an essay that it has unclear lines of argument or a poor structure? Well, that is why you should not mess this part up. Write down interesting ideas about the topic you want to write about and figure out which is the conclusion of your essay. From this point, you start working backward and create a skeleton with the main points you want to emphasize.
Start filling the skeleton with ideas and information that you have, arguments and nuances. Ask someone to read you plan to see if it’s relevant and if it makes sense. Remove anything that is irrelevant. Now you just have to polish your ideas and organize your thoughts.
Punctuation, tone of voice and syntax
Check if your essay is easy for the reader to understand. Replace sophisticated sentence structures, as well as long and rambling sentences. Be careful about the punctuation, as poor grammar can kill your essay no matter how good it is. Is your tone of voice engaging and interesting? A confident tone of voice will show the reader that you are confident and know what you are talking about.
By applying these techniques, you will be manage to take your essays to the next level and avoid flaws that you used to make in the past.