Writing Superior Essays
Writing superior essays is quite a process. To some, essay writing is inborn. However, for many, knowing how to write superior essays that score high marks is a process that must be learned, understood, and practiced often.
Fortunately, you can easily learn how to write superior essays by learning techniques, strategies, and formulas that you can also apply when writing any academic piece. Whether you are writing a standard essay, a reflective essay, a thesis, a course assignment, or a dissertation, the techniques you learn can come in handy.
These strategies and techniques, if followed diligently and properly applied, will guarantee top marks for your essays and other academic writings you may use them. Without much ado, let’s get into it and look at these strategies in depth.
Strategies to Writing Superior Essays
1. Understand the Question
If you are looking to write a superior essay, make sure you completely understand what the question is and what you are expected to write. Failing to properly understand what the question is all about, is the most leading cause of getting a miserable grade when it comes to writing essays in general.
Your best shot into understanding your essay question lies in the key terms used in the question itself. The terms included in the question are categorized into two basic kinds.
· Command Terms
The command terms are usually verbs or nouns that imply action. For instance, evaluate, discuss, describe, argue, and assess falling under verbs and analysis, appraisal, comparison, rebuttal, which fall under nouns.
So, if the essay question is asking to critically evaluate a specific theoretical approach, for example, you need to grasp an understanding of not only the mentioned theory but as well as the other common approaches. You must weigh all of them against each other while highlighting the qualified strengths and weaknesses of each theory. More importantly, you must craft a well-justified and assertive conclusion. For instance, the conclusion should answer questions like: Is the theory good? What are the flaws? How can it be improved?
· Discipline-Specific Terms
Discipline-specific terms refer to concepts, theories, and authors relevant to a specific academic discipline. For instance, you can find your essay question has terms such as Renaissance, Eschatology, Kantian, Piaget among others. With such an essay, you must know exactly what these key discipline terms mean and what you are expected to do.
How you answer the essay question should be guided by, and limited to these terms. If you have doubts about the terms, feel free to consult your professor as soon as possible or chat with your classmates and find out what they mean.
Essentially, the wording of your essay question should guide and tell you how to approach and write the essay. The key terms used will show you where the focus of your essay should be grounded as you research and write.
2. Draw Up an Outline
Once you understand the question, the second thing to do is to define the focus and shape of your essay. By doing so, you will be able to make efficient use of the time available to write your essay. More often, students underestimate the amount of work need to write a superior essay thus resulting in a disappointing grade.
So, if you want to get good marks in essay writing, you should make a plan for your essay the moment you receive the essay question, read it, and understood it. In order to come up with a clearer outline for your essay, you should be guided by the topic question and any relevant background knowledge you might have concerning the question from your lectures and previous own readings.
Also, it can be helpful to do some brainstorming of the topic question to identify and assess contributing ideas, as well as do some preliminary reading around the topic question to get a wider perspective. Certainly, you don’t have to worry much about getting exactly the correct outline since it can be amended as you collect and digest more material about the topic question.
Ideally, the main purpose of an essay outline is to: help you focus ideas so they narrow in on the topic question, to enable you to arrange your ideas in a suitable sequence while guiding you to develop your thesis statement and enable you to identify key areas for your further research and reading. An essay outline will help you remain committed to sticking to the outline and ensuring you are not left with too much to do before the hand-in date.
3. Identify Relevant Resources
Writing the essay may be the core business, but identifying and reading a wide range of relevant resources is equally necessary. Mastering how to sift through huge amounts of information in a short period is a crucial academic skill.
By the guidance of your draft outline, identify relevant sources such as books, journals, articles, and websites and gather relevant material from them. But how can you effectively identify the right materials for your essay from these several resources?
Here are useful strategies that can help expedite the entire process without hassle.
- Learn to identify and use the key terms to refine your searches, whether you are searching online, in databases, or the library catalogs. The key terms with help you zero in the most relevant materials for your essay writing.
- After you have positively identified the prospective sources, learn to assess their relevance and value. You can do this by reading through the abstract – if there, the table of contents, headings, and the first and the last paragraphs in specific chapters or sections of the sources. By doing this, you will be surprised to discover more relevant material that can help build on your topic question.
- Come up with a practical note-taking way to enable you to jot down some useful notes that will facilitate your later return and use of the specific notes and material as a whole. For instance, you can use a notebook or cue cards with different color codes for easy identification of specific categories of information. More importantly, make sure to record full bibliographical details, including the page numbers for each source you use.
- Extensively read through the materials purposeful rather than rushing through in the hope of finding useful information. Ideally, assess and analyze what you read from the material to determine the relevance and significance of the material.
As you read through the material, look for relationships relating to the different aspects and elements of your essay. As you explore and analyze the information you get, also be pondering about and developing your thesis statement which is the base argument of your paper.
4. Write Your First Draft
Most students start to write out their essays, at least tentatively, when they are gathering, assessing, and analyzing the material. However, you can write your first draft in a more controlled and direct way without a hassle. You can do this with the guidance of your outline, notes you gathered and preliminary writing you might have done already. most importantly, be guided by your thesis statement. In order to write a good first draft, consider paying close attention to the following factors:
- Structure, flow, and coherence of ideas
When writing your first essay draft, pay close attention to the structure the essay takes as well as the flow and coherence of your ideas. Not only should the ideas be relevant to the topic question, but should be presented coherently and cohesively.
Ensure each paragraph you write focuses on and develops a single idea that is linked to the other ideas of the previous paragraphs and anticipates the idea of the next paragraphs. More importantly, the flow from one paragraph to the next should be smooth.
- Formal language
Make sure that your writing upholds the conventions of grammar, punctuation, and academic formal writing style. Most importantly, it adheres to the writing style of that specific discipline.
- Accuracy of language
Make sure you use words that clearly and concisely reflect your thoughts. No fluffy writing!
- Accuracy and relevance of references
Make sure you follow the correct format of referencing style you choose are using in the essay writing. More importantly, ensure that you acknowledge all the sources you use and that you cite them whenever you use the exact words from those sources. Proper citing of your sources upon which you derive information ensures that you are not accused of plagiarism – a serious academic offense. In fact, recurrent and severe plagiarism can lead to the suspension of your essay or studies.
Being critical when drafting your essay will make your essay superior and stand out. It will also prove that you are not just repeating the arguments you have learned from various material but essentially engaging with theories academically.
A better way to polish this practice is by paying careful attention when reading through various materials. You will find that the authors don’t just summarize previous studies and research but provide a critique leading to the research of their own.
5. Proofread and Careful Editing
Once you have completed your first draft, put it aside for several hours or possibly a day before embarking on proofreading and editing it. Ensure to edit your essay with a specific purpose. Most students prefer to edit their work in phases.
- The first phase is editing spelling mistake When editing spelling mistakes in your essay, don’t let your spell-checker handle everything because you might be misspelling some words that are specific and unique to the spell-checker.
- The second phase is editing syntax. Make sure the arrangement of words and sentences is well-formed and flows smoothly. The commas, punctuation marks, clauses, and phrases are used appropriately.
- The third phase is editing the overall flow, strength, and coherence of ideas. Make sure that your ideas are presented and flow logically and are coherent. Consider presenting the stronger ideas first followed by the weak ones.
- Finally, edit any reference citing errors throughout the essay. Make sure the references are listed alphabetically on the reference page.
6. Present the final version of your Essay
If you have gone successfully executed the above steps, you are now ready to write the final version of your essay. When writing the final version, do it with extreme care, because this is not the time to bring in new information, let alone new errors or repeating the old ones. More importantly, ensure your essay is formatted according to the requirements of your discipline.
Components of a Superior Essay
The introduction to your essay must contain an attention-grabbing statement or at least make the introduction sound interesting maybe by starting with a quote for the specific topic question. Also, make sure that the introduction moves from a general to a specific view in regards to the topic.
Provide the reader with a ‘road map’ of the essay in a logical order. the ending sentence of your introduction should be the thesis statement. The thesis statement is perhaps the most important element of the introduction as it states the aim of the essay and offers insights into the author’s evidence and examples.
The body features the evidence and examples in support of your ideas in the essay. The paragraphs should follow a logical order and must include a topic sentence that ties the discussion back to the thesis statement.
Moreover, ensure that the transition sentences are incorporated to give the essay a perfect flow. When giving examples to the evidence you provide, ensure they are relevant to your specific topic question.
The conclusion to your Tiktok essay should simply wrap all your arguments and points while restating the main arguments in a simplified way. Leave the reader with something to think about, especially if it is an argumentative essay!
Without a doubt, there is no magic trick in superior essay writing, However, understanding the essay question, identifying the relevant source and reading extensively to gather information, drafting your first draft, editing, proofreading, using the right academic language, and finally polishing your final version of the essay, can help you turn in a superior essay.
While we recommend writing superior essays to earn the highest mark, it is very rare to earn a 100% score. Regardless, keep writing superior essays!