Writing essays is something you have to get used to doing if you want to make it through college. You also have to learn how to write and structure the perfect essay if you do not want to score poorly. Essays are used to show teachers that you are learning, and understand underlying concepts. The content of the essay is all up to you, but how you write it and how well you do on your essay must be learnt. Here are a few tips to help you create better essays.
Read and re-read the instructions numerous times
You need to do this in order to memorize the questions and instructions. If you commit them to memory straight away then they will remain in your head as you read and work. This will start to steer your thoughts and essay direction in the right way.
Start by brain storming thoughts and ideas
You have no doubt learnt a lot about your essay topic in the last few weeks or months. So a good place to start is with your own mind. Spend at least half an hour racking your brain for potential pointers and ideas. In many cases you will find subjects and thoughts to research into.
Judge your word count by how many points each question has
Your essay instructions may be broken down into pointers and sub questions. In many cases these sub headers, sub questions, etc. will have points designated to them. Add up all the points to get the total e.g. 30, and divide the word count e.g. 2000 by that point amount e.g. 2000/30 and then times that amount by the points for each question, and you will know how much to write for each question.
Plan your essay
Plan the research, the structure, the different elements and how many words you plan to put in each element. You must plan all of your essay down to the last paragraph. Create a structure tree from beginning to end and make it your plans starting point.
Add to your plan as you write
As you research and write, you will see things that you need to add or rework. Instead of stopping and starting, you need to add a note to your plan and come back to it as you work your way down your plan.
Create a clear structure with modules
When you are planning you should set your plan into modules. You need to be able to move pieces around, and edit pieces without disrupting the rest of your essay. Try adding a few notes and headings in your essay, but put them in red because they are all just notes and headings to help you. Delete them when you have finished the essay.
Proofread your essay at least twice
You need to check it for the usual grammar and spelling, but you also need to check it for flow and accuracy. The flow should be simple, since you will find yourself skim reading the bits that do not flow correctly. Accuracy is up to you, but if you read it a few times you are more likely to pick up on your errors and inaccuracies within the text.
Planning is the key to a good essay. It sets the stage for you to do your work. It helps you to structure your essay and will help to stop you from rambling on about the same topic at the expense of other topics. Re-read the instructions multiple times and start planning and structuring your essay from the very beginning.
About the author. Meghan is a writer for Scholar Advisor, an educational portal for students that provides useful education tips and writing guides.