How to Write Great Essays in Every Subject
Essay writing is a skill students need for many subjects at school. While teachers often assign essays for assessment tasks and exams, not a great deal of time is spent teaching students how to write an essay.
Without this foundation, essay writing is much harder than it should be. These tips will help you to plan, structure and write great essays in every subject.
Analyse the question
The first step in essay writing is to work out exactly what the question is asking. Re-read it several times and underline key words. Write the question out again in your own words. If you’re still unsure, ask the teacher.
Research the topic
Now that you understand the question, it’s time to revise your notes and do some research on the topic. As you conduct your research, think about how you’re going to approach the question and start highlighting evidence you might use.
Plan an angle
After research, you’re ready to come up with your angle. Every essay has an angle, or an argument. Remember, you don’t always have to agree with the question. Sometimes taking a different approach can earn you big marks if you can do it well.
Select your evidence
Clarifying your angle allows you to select the evidence that best supports your position. Go through your research notes and highlight the most relevant points, quotes and examples.
Create a plan
Now that you have your argument and your evidence, you’re ready to write a detailed plan. Work out how many paragraphs you need in addition to your introduction and conclusion. Map out what you’re going to include in each paragraph. One paragraph should flow logically to the next one.
Write a draft
Now it’s time to produce a first draft of your essay. Remember the introduction needs to clearly state your position and outline what you’re going to discuss in the body. Each paragraph in the main body should consist of a topic sentence, some analysis and evidence. The concluding sentence of every paragraph needs to restate your point.
Refine your draft
After completing your first draft, try to put it aside for at least a day or two so you can review it with fresh eyes. When you read through it again, pinpoint any sentences that are not clear enough and rewrite them. You might need to swap paragraphs around and delete or add evidence. Pay special attention to your conclusion. It should sum up your overall argument in a couple of sentences.
Find a proofreader
We recommend you read through your essay a few times before giving it to someone else to read. Ask this person to point out anything that’s not clear and pick up any typos and grammatical errors. You’re now ready to hand your essay in, knowing you’ve done the best job you can.
Ask for feedback
When you get your essay back, your teacher should provide detailed feedback. If you’re unsure why you received the mark you did, ask for further advice.
Essay writing is not an exact science, and it’s fine to mix the steps up if this works for you. Don’t be concerned if your argument changes as you refine your draft. This is a good sign that you’re learning.