Essays are important not only for students who study English language, but also to writers at the same time. Generally, it is assumed that ability to write a quality essay determines whether you can be a good writer or not.
Writing an essay involves critical thinking, presenting one’s argument and elaborating it while providing solid evidence that your point of view is based on valid facts.
Furthermore, essays also demonstrate your understanding of a particular subject and showcase your vast knowledge. However, the most important characteristic of essay is the “learning” aspect due to the fact it teaches average reader about a real life through the eyes of a person who wrote it. Since essays are extremely important and they will follow you throughout your career, I created a list of different things you should bear in mind to write a high-quality work.
1. Have a plan
The very first thing you should do when you get a title for your essay is to come up with a plan which will connect your ideas. For this, you will need a blank piece of paper where you will write everything you consider including into your essay. This way, it will be easier for you to keep track of everything you’re going to write about. Plus, you won’t have to experience that “what now” moment that usually occurs when you lose your inspiration before you’re done writing.
Of course, having a plan also includes doing a brief research on the subject to incorporate into your essay.
2. Say “No” to stress
If you have a difficult subject for your essay, the worst thing you can do is to panic. When you’re stressed out, you can’t think clearly and compose a plan for your work. You should always bear in mind that essay also requires expression of your own point of view. Whenever you think you won’t be able to include anything into your essay, always ask yourself what do you think about it and come up with a plan based on your opinion.
3. Question should guide you
Essay titles usually include a question that essayist is required to answer. Ideally, you should consider questions in essay title as your springboard and let it do your work for you. When writing your essay, you shouldn’t only mention your own answer (opinion) regarding the question from your title, but also how someone else whose opinion differs from yours would answer at the same time. This shows your understanding of the subject. Then, you can add why you disagree with their answer. This creates a stream of thoughts that is necessary for quality essay.
You should also bear in mind that good essay doesn’t only answer the question asked in the title; it also raises new questions that reader has to answer. Here, you have artistic freedom to showcase your question in different way e.g. in form of a real question, by mentioning something intriguing that would make them wonder etc.
4. Develop an argument and think critically
Critical thinking is the act of methodical, clear thinking in an objective manner. Writing a good essay requires thinking critically about a specific subject. When starting to write your essay think about your arguments about the subject, but examine them critically like they were written by someone else. This will spark plenty of ideas that will develop pro and con arguments which you can include into your essay. Remember, regardless of the topic and title; there are always two sides (pro and con). You should develop your essay in manner that it includes argument about both sides while explaining your own opinion.
While you’re explaining your opinion about a certain subject, you need to present solid evidence that would back up your claims. After all, essay is a form of academic work. For this, you will need info from your research and quotes of famous authors, philosophers, historical personalities etc.
Quotes also act as springboards as you can use them to elaborate why they apply to your subject thus stating your point of view. However, make sure you don’t overdo it. I usually go for two to three quotes that perfectly sum up everything I want to express.
6. Read – write
It’s very important to make sure all paragraphs are linked and the best way to do it is to read what you wrote before. While most people assume this action is time-wasting, it is extremely beneficial for the quality of your essay. When reading what you wrote before you can get inspired and add new things to your essay.
7. Vocabulary is important
While articles and other types of works should be written in informal manner, essay is the perfect opportunity for you to showcase your vast vocabulary. For this, you need a thesaurus or find a useful online alternative.
Essays aren’t concerned with your opinion or arguments only, but the way you express them.
8. Use examples rather than explanations
To some people it can be quite difficult to think of different ways to explain something to prove their point. In these cases, you should use examples rather than explanations. It is easier to think of a useful example that would support your claim than to waste your time on explaining it, particularly if your essay has a limited word count.
9. Know yourself
Naturally, you should always make sure your that essay has no grammatical errors. While checking essay for mistakes is recommended, when you have limited amount of time to write your essay, you should check for mistakes that you usually make. This is why knowing yourself is extremely important for your essay-writing skills. For example, some people usually neglect definite and indefinite articles while others don’t pay too much attention to punctuation. The key here is to determine what types of mistakes you usually make, look for them and correct them.
10. Focus on the backbone
Composition is important. In fact, it is a backbone of your essay. To make sure you write a high-quality work, you should always focus on the backbone. Basically, essay should have three separate, but equally important parts. They are:
- Introduction – identifies the question and determines your perspective about a certain subject. Introduction is the first thing the examiner will read which means it has to catch their attention and build a solid foundation for the next part. Ideally, write introductions short and precise.
- Body – here, you elaborate your take on the subject, mention quotes, develop an argument. It should be written in a formal manner that is still easy to understand. Body of your essay should showcase your understanding of the subject. To make it more appealing, divide it into paragraphs.
- Conclusion – it’s the easiest part to write. All you have to do is to sum up everything you wrote so far in two or three sentences.
11. Mention society
Essays paint a picture of a society the way it really is. Furthermore, every subject can be compared to the society today. Here, you have to think critically about the world around you and define your opinion.
While essays usually include demanding subjects that require deep understanding of the matter, to write a quality work you have to think of the composition and develop a plan that will guide you. Always bear in mind that essay should develop an argument that will also make reader wonder.