Whether you are a school student or an undergraduate, essays are one of the most significant forms of assignments in your academic life. Essays tend to reflect your research, critical thinking, and organizational skills. This paper contributes to your overall grades and hones your theoretical knowledge based on specific issues or events. The best part of writing essays is that once you get the hang of writing this paper, you can all kinds of academic papers with ease. So, let’s check out the seven main techniques for writing an A-grade essay. You can apply these techniques to write any other academic paper as well.
Read and re-read the essay question
You know what to write in the essay if you choose the topic. However, most of the time, your professors may provide you with an essay question to uncover. Take your time to read the essay question carefully. There might be some underlying meaning to the question, which you must figure out before writing the paper.
Look for instructional words or phrases in the essay question. These instructional words convey what you are required to write in the essay.
Here are common instructional words along with their respective meanings:
- Account for- Provide the reasons for something from a logical approach.
- Analyze– Examine the constituent parts of something along with their inter-relationship in detail.
- Clarify– Unpack the complications related to a topic to make it clearer to readers.
- Consider– Give careful thought to the topic.
- Compare and contrast– Reveal the similarities and differences and put them in opposition to highlight the differences.
- Criticize- Provide a judgment on something via a discussion of the evidence.
- Evaluate- Figure out the value or worth of something based on different factors such as truth, morality, logic, and utility.
- Justify– Highlight accurate grounds for decisions, conclusions, and handling possible counterarguments.
- Outline– Write down the main features and the general principles of something without going into too much detail.
Before you start researching or writing the essay, you should know what is exactly expected of you. And for that, you need to understand the meaning of the question first.
Read and gather notes
So, you know what is required of you to write in the essay. Now the question is: what to write in the essay? That means it’s time for you to conduct thorough research to get hold of credible pieces of information to include in the essay. Do not research like everyone else. Instead, try to do something creative.
Here’s how you can find unique pieces of information:
- Read lecture notes– Your class notes can provide you with valuable hints related to additional reading materials.
- Refine the research findings– Do not use all the pieces of information that you might find during the research process. Instead, refine the findings to use only the most significant details only.
- Read actively– Besides collecting relevant pieces of evidence, you must also keep an eye on key arguments made by authors in your field.
By the end of this step, you will be ready with the significant pieces of information to include in your essay. Take a look at the information to check if it’s absolutely relevant to your essay topic.
Create a mind map
Now your focus should be on brainstorming ideas for the topic. The mind map will help you organize the details logically throughout the essay. You may have conducted thorough research, but it won’t matter unless you organize the details accurately in the paper.
Let’s assume your topic is:
“Discuss the benefits of e-commerce websites.”
Firstly, draw a mind map of all the details that you already know about the topic. Secondly, add the information that you researched.
This will help you arrange all the pieces of information in a meaningful way throughout the essay. An outline is what you need to structure your main points without enabling a loose end in each section of your essay.
Write the opening paragraph
An ideal essay consists of three sections- An introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. Let’s see what each section covers. The introduction, for example, is the opening paragraph. It lets you create the first impression on your readers and hence is often the deciding factor for your professors whether or not your essay is worth reading.
The introduction should consist of the following elements in this order:
- Background information– The background information helps your readers understand a brief context about the topic before they dive into details.
- Thesis statement– This statement conveys the main argument upon which your essay is based. The thesis statement governs the rest of your essay and hence is the most important part of the introduction.
- Scope– Finally, after the thesis statement, write down what your essay covers and let your readers know how you have organized the details.
Students often waste the maximum amount of time writing the introduction. You can write this section after you have completed the body paragraphs. That way, you will know what sections you have covered and the approach you took to write the paper.
Arrange the details in the body paragraphs
The body paragraphs are where you are expected to flaunt your researching skills. So, evaluate all the main points of your topic and evaluate them using valid evidence. You should also mix your arguments with quotations, facts, figures, and illustrations to layout your response.
Keep these points in mind while writing the body paragraphs:
- Keep one per paragraph only.
- Make sure there are at least these two elements in the paragraphs:
- An introduction to the new idea.
- The role of that idea in your overall argument.
- Evaluate all the points logically.
- Use transitions to help the readers move from one paragraph to another.
- When you are using evidence, explain why and how the evidence backs up your argument.
You might need some help framing the body paragraphs. You can check out examples to learn how to arrange the details in body paragraphs.
Conclude the essay
Your essay conclusion comes at the end of your essay. The purpose of this section is to provide closure to your readers regarding the topic. Summarise all the main points that you evaluated in the body paragraphs of your essay. Keep these points in mind while writing the conclusion:
- String together all the main points of your essay in the concluding paragraph.
- Restate the thesis statement in new words. Show how you have finally proved the thesis statement in your essay.
- Move away from the narrow focus to the broader implications of your argument.
Note: Including any new information in the conclusion only confuses your readers. So, make it a point to avoid any new details in this section.
Cite the sources
Plagiarism has always been a severe issue among professors, writers, and students. It occurs when you present someone else’s work as your own. It is somewhat synonymous with stealing. Once your essay is labeled as plagiarised, it affects not only your overall grades but also your academic reputation. The best way to avoid plagiarism in your essay is by citing sources.
Here’s how to cite the sources:
Include in-text citations to provide credibility to authors within the main text of your essay.
You may have used different types of sources such as books, journals, audio-visual, etc., to write the essay. So, compile all of them and write down the sources in the bibliography.
Note: Consult with your professors about which referencing format to use in referencing.
Essay writing is a process. And the process isn’t as easy it seems to be. You have to be patient enough to implement all the tips discussed above and get the process done. The main key to write A-grade essays is reading the question first carefully, followed by conducting thorough research and finally writing the paper.