Teachers’ Advice for Writing a Perfect Essay
Essay writing isn’t easy, and many students dread this task. The main reason students struggle with essay writing is that they’ve never been explicitly taught how to write one.
Australian academic researchers found that ‘once students enter secondary school, teaching subject knowledge competes with a focus on teaching basic writing skills.’ Teachers in Years 7-10 ‘never or rarely’ ask students to ‘analyse a model of good writing to identify what works.’
Developing good essay-writing skills is critical to academic success. These skills not only help students produce good essays, but they also enable them to think critically and logically.
Teachers are well-placed to give advice on what they look for when marking. These teachers’ tips will help you write quality essays that meet all the marking criteria.
Analyse Models of Good Writing
Secondary teachers might not get as much time to focus explicitly on writing as they’d like, but there are plenty of examples of good essays for you to analyse. You can find these online or ask your teacher to provide some. Look very carefully at the essay to determine why it’s considered an exemplary model.
Determine What the Question Is Asking
This may seem obvious, but according to teachers, it’s not uncommon for students to misinterpret the question. Look for keywords like ‘compare,’ ‘contrast,’ ‘explain,’ ‘evaluate’ or ‘discuss’ to determine your approach. Rewrite the question in your own words to ensure you understand it.
Examine the Marking Criteria
The marking criteria outline exactly what your teacher is looking for and the skills being assessed. Read through the criteria carefully and use this document as a guide. Teachers advise that too few students do this when writing an essay.
Complete Your Research
Most essays will require research. This is much easier when you clearly understand the question and marking criteria. Pinpoint what evidence you need to find and be sure to use reputable sources. Don’t forget to include references for your sources.
Start Planning Your Essay
There are many essay templates available, but they all use the same basic structure. One excellent template is the box plan. This template is particularly helpful for visual learners. The PEEL structure is highly recommended by teachers for plotting each paragraph.
Come up With Topic Statements
Before launching into writing your essay, it’s helpful to first come up with your thesis statement (the central point of your essay) for your opening paragraph and the topic sentences for each body paragraph. According to teachers, breaking down the writing process in this way makes it more manageable.
Produce Your First Draft
Now that you have your structure and topic sentences, you’re ready to fill in the gaps and complete your essay. This step should be relatively easy due to all the work you’ve already put in. It’s simply a matter of adding the evidence and evaluation, and then linking to the next paragraph.
Write Your Final Draft
Try to leave your essay for at least a couple of days before writing your final draft. This will allow you to look over it with a more critical eye. It’s also a great idea to ask someone else to read it and highlight anything they don’t understand. Teachers recommend reading over the marking criteria when working on your final draft to make sure you’ve covered everything.
Need Help With Essay Writing?
A tutor can devote time to helping students develop the writing skills required to write quality essays. Unlike classroom teachers who have limited time to devote explicitly to writing, a tutor can ensure that students are given time to analyse exemplary models and practice their writing skills.
Contact us to find out more.