- By Daniel Millions
- Published 07/29/2008
The chances are that if you need to write an essay for college or university then you will need to follow some advice in order to give yourself the best chance of achieving a high grade. If you are writing it for the first time, an essay can appear to be a daunting task. Often the tutor or teacher will ask that you write an essay on a particular subject and will require that you answer the question in a specific number of words. Thankfully there is plenty of good advice out there that can help you to grasp a basic understanding of what is expected from an essay. Read on to discover why research skills and good planning are key ingredients to writing that good essay. The first step you should take is to decide upon a topic or focus on a particular question or issue. This will help you to focus and to narrow the essay down to a set number of points that are manageable for you. The second and most important step you should take before writing the essay is to carry out good research. Without this your essay will not have a good foundation and will surely lack quality and coherence. Visit the college library or use the internet to collect relevant source materials that will help to develop your understanding of the key arguments.
Once this is complete you should be relatively confident about how you plan to write the essay. Using the information that you have acquired, you now need to develop a basic plan or structure of the essay. Some people like to brainstorm in order to facilitate the flow of ideas but as long as you can construct
a plan that organizes the essay, you should be fine. Once you are confident that you know what is expected of the essay and you have completed your outline then you can begin writing. The essay should begin with the introduction. In this paragraph you should introduce the topic and the related issues or problems. You should define key or obscure terms in order to give clarity to your later work. The main part of the essay should address the key points logically and concisely. Once you have addressed this you should then proceed to answer the main question in the essay. The final part should conclude the essay by explaining the main points and arguments and then summing this up with an overview of the solutions or relevant responses. There are a few essential elements of writing that must be adhered to if you are to write a good essay. Common sense will tell you that you need to write using the correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. But so many students take this for granted that they then lose out on easy marks. Therefore it is crucial that you take the time to ensure that the essay is checked for errors. In addition you should make sure that you use paragraphs and follow the guidelines set out for the use of primary and secondary sources. Most colleges and universities will expect you to reference these correctly and will mark accordingly.
Finally, once the essay is written you should check it completely for any of the above errors. Read it and then ask friends or family members to do the same so that you have a second opinion. You should also check the original essay question to ensure that you have stayed on track and answered it completely.