Essay skills are essential in many subject areas, not just English. In order to secure top grades and impress examiners it is vital that you follow certain key steps.
Never dive in and start writing before you have written a plan. If you are writing a coursework or a class-based essay you can take your time about this and really research your subject. Find key bits of information that really emphasise your points, such as facts, quotes or statistics. Figure out what your key arguments are and make sure your plan includes an introduction and a conclusion. Even if you are in a timed exam, the short time spent planning can make the world of difference. Jot down your key points and any important bits you can’t afford to leave out so you have something solid and structured to follow when you start writing.
Have a proper think about your audience – what tone do you need to be using? Is your language too repetitive? Are there any inappropriate or poorly constructed words or phrases that need removing? Be wary of using overly colloquial language in essays unless specifically instructed to do so and try to vary your vocabulary to make for an interesting read. If your essay contains aspects of persuasion why not take some time beforehand to look up key techniques that could help you?
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to hand in an essay without checking it. Read it through and look out for spelling errors or sentences that don’t make sense. If you are not in an exam setting and have plenty of time for this it’s always a good idea to ask a friend, tutor or family member to read it too as they may also help you to spot things you may have missed.
If you find essay writing tough going, working with a one to one tutor can help you to hone these important skills.
Happy essay writing!