Do’s and Don’ts in Essay Writing
Essay writing is an art form, and it takes a certain set of skills to make the most of the word count that you’re given to get your point across. Meanwhile, invigilators are tasked with grading papers based on a specific set of criteria, which is why it’s so important to learn what they’re looking out for and to meet their expectations.
But it can be hard to tell where to get started, and it can be even harder to improve an essay that you’ve already written. That’s why experts from essay writing service have done the hard work for you and shared some of our top do’s and don’ts when it comes to writing an essay.
Let’s get started.
Make it easy to read
Professional essay graders have to mark dozens of papers per day, which means that their attention can start to drift after a couple of hours of work. That’s why it’s so important to make your essay as easy to read as possible, whether we’re talking about the formatting and layout or whether we’re talking about using clear, simple language that engages the reader. It’s also a good idea to use bullet points, bolding and other techniques to get key points across, as long as the essay guidelines allow it.
Use the introduction to provide a summary
The introduction is the perfect place to tell readers what to expect from the rest of the essay. Think of it as being a little like the blurb of a book – it should summarise the course that the essay will take and give potential readers a good idea of what to expect.
Use the present tense
When you use the present tense, it makes people feel as though the essay is unfolding as they’re reading it. This can make it more engaging and hold people’s attention, and it will also help you to keep sentences simple – which brings us on to the next tip.
Use simple language and sentences
A lot of people are tempted to use complicated language to try to make it sound as though they know what they’re talking about. Unfortunately, that can be off-putting for invigilators while simultaneously making it more difficult for you to focus on your arguments. The very best writers know that less is more. Like Charles Bukowski said: “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”
Work with professionals
Don’t forget, there are people out there who can help. You can look around for the writing service or hire a professional proofreader to take your essay to the next level. Just be sure to check beforehand that it’s allowed within the rules of the course that you’re studying. In most cases, a proofreader or an editor will be allowed, and that can make a huge difference in terms of the readability of your final piece.
Vary from the brief
Many essay guidelines will specify a certain style of writing, and you’ll want to adhere to that. The same goes for word counts – they’re provided for a reason, and while you can usually go over or under by 10%, it’s best to be as close to the provided word count as possible. That said, never bulk out your essay just to meet the word count – if you’re doing that, the odds are that you’re missing something important.
Use slang and colloquialisms
Essays tend to be much more formal than other forms of written communication, so you’ll want to adjust your writing appropriately. Even if you’re used to writing a blog or a journal, writing an essay is a different beast entirely. The need for formality means you should avoid slang, pop culture references and colloquialisms. You should also avoid contractions (i.e. ‘there’s’ instead of ‘there is’) in most cases.
If you plagiarise, you’ll get caught out – it’s as simple as that. Essay markers now have all sorts of tools at their disposal which can pick up plagiarism in a heartbeat, and there are also the ethical implications to think about. Doing your best to write a great essay is one thing – unashamedly stealing is something else entirely. Even rewriting sentences won’t make you immune, so it’s best to focus on original thoughts, quoting other people’s work as appropriate to strengthen your argument.
There’s a big difference between subjectivity and objectivity. When you write objectively, you’re putting the subject of your essay front and centre, refusing to be swayed by any inbuilt biases or to superimpose your own thoughts on to the subject matter. Subjective writers, by contrast, focus too much on their own opinions when they ought to be sharing factual information. Saying that over 130 pyramids have been discovered in Egypt is objective. Saying that pyramids are awesome is subjective. Make sure you know the difference.
Think it’s finished when you’ve typed the last line
There’s always room for improvement, and your essay will never be totally finished. When you’ve typed the last sentence, there’s still plenty more work to do. For a start, you’ll want to seek feedback from lecturers, fellow students and even trained professionals, and you’ll want to go through a few rounds of editing before giving it one final proofread to iron out any errors. Take every chance that you can to make improvements and to act on the feedback that you receive. After all, you want your essay to be the best it can possibly be.
Let’s be honest, 80% of your essay is up to you. After all, it’s what you’ve learned from your lessons that determines whether you’re meeting the goals of your course or not. That remaining 20% is all about your ability to argue your point coherently and to form a well-structured, well-written essay that lecturers will love.
Ultimately, it all comes down to handing in the best essay that you possibly can. You might know the subject inside out, but if you’re not following these do’s and don’ts then you’re not making the most of your potential.
Bio: Laura Buckler is a professional writer specialising in essays and academic journals. Formerly a lecturer at University College, Laura is passionate about learning new languages and helping the next generation of students to ace their coursework.