How to Write an Essay?
The most widely used piece of writing in any academic environment is an academic essay. Its aim is to provide and support an idea or argument on the basis of research and interpretation of its results.
As a student, you can come across different types of essays. Their content will depend on your academic level and the subject of study. Universities usually require argumentative essays aimed at explaining the author's position and perspective on the specific topic.
The writing process normally consists of three stages:
- Preparation. This involves the choice of the topic, research, and making up an outline.
- Content writing. You formulate an argument in the introduction, provide the evidence for its development in the main body and wrap everything up in the conclusion.
- Revision and proofreading. You check the structure and relevance of the content, correct grammar and spelling mistakes and typos, and format your piece of writing in accordance with the requirements.
Here, we have compiled a short guide on the parts of an essay and how to write them correctly.
The Process of Essay Writing
Every essay needs stages of preparation, writing, and checking. However, the time spent on each of them may differ depending on the academic level and the type of essay. The expository essay for high school can differ a lot from the college argumentative writing in terms of research and idea development.
This is the first and most responsible stage of the essay writing process. You have to:
- decide on the topic;
- do some research and collect the sources;
- formulate the thesis;
- make up an outline.
It is always better to have a clear understanding of what you want to write about and how you are going to write about it. You need to follow certain steps on this path:
- 1. Understanding the goal of the essay, its requirements, deadlines, and the overall assignment. You may need to talk to your professor here to clarify certain points.
- 2. Deciding on a topic. Often, the topic is indicated in the assignment. If not, you need to make up the topic based on something that you are interested in or know well.
- 3. Doing the research. You should find and read some primary and secondary sources and write notes. They will help you focus on the main ideas and evidence in the future.
- 4. Making up the thesis. It is the main point or argument you would like to focus on. It should be clear and consistent because you will always refer back to it in the process of writing.
- 5. Developing an outline. You should map out the structure of your future essay, which will help you start writing and keep to the main idea.
Only after this will you see what you want to include in your essay and start writing.
Writing the First Draft
Instructors often recommend this because it helps to understand and structure the framework of an essay, have a certain view of how to answer the questions and what kind of evidence to use, as well as logically provide arguments and their support.
Remember that the final draft is not an essay yet. It is some raw material and notes put together for your better understanding of what you are going to do next. You are sure to change the ideas and arguments many times while writing, but now, you will know where to start.
So, you have prepared for your essay and can now start writing. The process includes the following:
- creating the introduction;
- developing the main body and organizing it into paragraphs;
- writing the conclusion.
Keep in mind that the introduction is essential because it is responsible for the tone of your overall writing. It should grab your reader's attention and describe what they can expect from it. The introduction should not be too long, but it is recommended to make it from 10% to 20% of the entire text.
The main aims of the introduction are:
- 1. Hooking The very first sentence of your essay should evoke curiosity. Such a sentence is called a hook. You can ask a question, provide some interesting facts, or make an original statement about the relevance of the topic.
- 2. Providing the Background Try to describe the context for your further argument. You can make a review of the previous scientific research on the topic or possible debates on it. You can also introduce and explain some terms and new notions which will be developed in the main body. Do not give too detailed information - it is not necessary at this initial stage.
- 3. Formulating the Thesis Statement This is the central argument of your essay, which can express your personal position. It should not be too long - just one or two sentences - but it should be clear and consistent.
- 4. Mapping the Structure If your essay should be long, finalize the introduction with a brief description of the essence of each part. Your readers will understand what to expect from the writing and continue looking through it.
Here, you will explain your argument, support it with evidence, and develop new ideas. You have to represent and interpret all the information you have obtained from the sources and your own research, which, in your opinion, can support your argument efficiently.
- Length of the Text That depends on the academic level and the type of essay. The average length of the text is 60-80% of the whole essay. There can be three paragraphs in the main body if you write for high school or 6 000 words if your essay is for graduate school. It can even take up to 10 pages or more if you write it for your university program.
- Structure of Paragraphs Paragraphs help create a clear structure for your essay. Every paragraph should be devoted to one idea or central point. This is introduced in the first sentence of the paragraph, and it is called a topic sentence. This sentence needs to be connected with the previous paragraph and represents a new point for the idea development. You need to use transition words or phrases here to make closer connections between paragraphs and sentences.
The following sentences of the paragraph should provide some supporting evidence, for example, data, figures, quotes, or examples. Make sure that you do not just provide the evidence but interpret it and provide an explanation of how it is connected to your argument.
This is the final part of any essay. It can also occupy from 10% to 15% of the entire text. Its purpose is to:
- ✔️ come back to your thesis statement;
- ✔️ provide close connections between your main ideas;
- ✔️ explain why the argument is important and how it can influence further research.
You can end the conclusion with a persuasive and strong statement that will have a great impact on the reader or make them think.
You should not include the following in your conclusion:
- ❌ new arguments and evidence;
- ❌ making your argument unimportant (it's only one of the opinions...);
- ❌ conclusive phrases, for example, 'In conclusion...' which sound clumsy.
This stage is essential for further success and getting high scores for your academic essay. No one is perfect, so you can make some errors and typos which need to be corrected before the submission.
1. Consider the entire structure and organization.
2. Read every paragraph carefully to decide whether they are properly structured and connected to each other.
3. Proofread the grammar and spelling errors.
4. Do plagiarism checking with the help of some reliable online software.
You may also need someone to read your essay again and notice the mistake you cannot see.
Essay Writing Tips to Improve the Quality
Here are some tips that may seem to be obvious, but nobody pays too much attention to them. However, they can make your essay writing process and its outcomes more effective.
- 1. Start your work beforehand. That will help you diminish the unnecessary anxiety about the probability of missing the deadline. You will also have more time to consider and develop your ideas.
- 2. Always keep in mind your main argument and essay question. You can keep your first draft in front of you to understand whether you stick to the point.
- 3. Do not write your essay in one go. Start with the outline, bullet points, or some sentences for each part. Develop your ideas further paragraph by paragraph and make changes if needed.
- 4. Write the main body based on your outline and first draft. After that, you can complete your introduction and conclusion.
- 5. Check whether you have used transitions in your essay. They are helpful to your reader to understand the essence of your writing.
- 6. Introduce your evidence naturally. Paraphrase or use the quotation where needed but try to interpret them any time you use them.
- 7. Revise the first writing carefully. Check whether the essay flows smoothly and your paragraphs are structured in a logical order. You may need to change the structure a bit if you feel that something is not quite logical.
- 8. Leave the essay alone for some days. You will be able to see it with a fresh eye and edit the writing effectively.
Even if the types of essays and academic levels you write them for are different, all the tips and recommendations provided in this article will work well for all of them. Try to look through this article again, and you will always find something new for yourself.