What’s the one thing that students dread even more than an exam? Most likely, it’s an upcoming essay submission. Even if you love writing, the idea of drafting, editing, and proofreading an essay can give you the chills. And if you aren’t particularly fond of writing, even the idea of selecting the topic for an essay can be daunting.
Nevertheless, essays are going to be a part of your student life. You just have to find a way to deal with them.
The good news is that there are several hacks you can use to make the essay writing process easier and stress-free. Of course, the ground-rule is to start preparing early, so that you don’t have to struggle with meeting deadlines at the last moment.
In this blog, we’ve handpicked a few useful essay writing tips that’ll come in handy for all school and college students. Let’s get started.
Useful Essay Writing Tips
1. Carefully Read the Task Sheet
As a student, the most common essay-writing mistake you can make is to not go through the assignment task sheet.
If you jump right into the process of drafting the essay, you’ll likely miss out on important points such as the word count and writing guidelines. This, in turn, means you might have to rewrite the essay altogether even after submitting it on time.
That’s why it’s important to thoroughly read the task sheet and exactly what your teacher/professor is looking for.
Watch out for any specific questions you have to answer or statements you need to analyze. This is also a good time to look at the assessment criteria and understand how you’re going to be evaluated.
Sometimes, the task sheet will also include guidelines on the essay structure and style. Also, your professor will mention how you need to cite references and other details.
2. Choose a Relevant Topic
Now that you’ve gone through the task sheet in detail, you have a better understanding of what your professor wants in the essay.
The next step is to select a topic that’s relevant to the task sheet and complies with the guidelines. Use your imaginations and creativity to look for topics that are closely related to the question/statement/quote mentioned in the task sheet.
This is also a good time to consult your teacher for help regarding topic selection.
Once you’ve shortlisted a few themes and subjects, prepare a list of potential topics. Next, weigh your strengths, likes, and passions to pick a topic that appeals to you the most.
3. Start Research
You can’t write an essay without performing thorough research first. Make sure you consult your school/college librarian to find the right reference materials and books. Also, you can read more about the topic on the internet.
Irrespective of the topic you select, make sure you have a firm grasp of it before you start writing.
4. Prepare an Outline
Your essay needs to have an attractive introduction and an equally memorable conclusion. Also, you should divide the body of the essay into short paragraphs and group related paragraphs under meaningful sections. Unless you create an outline in advance, your essay won’t have such an easily readable structure.
Make sure the outline mentions what you’re going to cover under each section. Also, you should assign an estimated word count to each section.
5. Get Help from Others
When you spend a few days writing an essay, it’s easy to lose perspective and get stuck in a particular section.
If you think that your essay is becoming dull, monotonous, or repetitive, ask a friend to give it a read. They’ll look at it from a neutral point of view and give you the right advice to make it better.
Likewise, you can use the internet to find help with your essay. From online study groups and tutors to discussion forums and e-books – you’ll find plenty of resources and inspiration to resume writing.
You could also consult your professor for a deeper insight into the sub-topic that’s causing trouble.
6. Don’t Forget to Relax
Writing an essay can be physically and mentally taxing. It’s also going to be extremely time-consuming.
Make sure you reward yourself with frequent breaks to clear your head and relax your mind. Otherwise, you might end up hitting writer’s block sooner or later.
7. Write & Rewrite
Even if you’ve completed the first draft, your essay is far from over.
Once the first draft is done, you need to revise it and check for any spelling or grammatical errors. This is also a good time to check whether the flow and tone of your essay are consistent.
You might have to work on a couple of drafts before you’re satisfied with the essay.