How To Improve Your Academic Essay Writing

An essay is an academic piece of writing which can either be formal or informal. The purpose of an essay is to express and provide insight into a particular topic or issue and persuade the readers to your point of view.

How to structure your essay:

  • Mind-mapping – The purpose of mind-mapping is to visually grasp as many ideas centered around your topic or issue. This allows the writer to organize and understand the information much quicker and faster.
  • Introduction – A structured essay always starts with an introduction to your topic. An introduction indicates the main purpose of the topic, catches the reader’s attention and leads them into the topic. This is kept very brief and keeps the reader intrigued as to what is to be expected in the next paragraph.
  • Body – The body of the essay relates to the main idea/ view point. The body of the essay represents all the important facts and information. The information can be broken down into many paragraphs and there must be a logical flow in between paragraphs.
  • Conclusion – Here, no new information or ideas is introduced. The purpose of a conclusion is to reiterate the main argument and reflect on your evidence/ findings of your essay. This ties in well with your introduction as it persuades readers to your point of view.

What to avoid when writing an essay:

  • Passive writing
  • Slang or jargon
  • Plagiarism
  • Using unreliable sources
  • Sentences that are vague or too broad
  • Information overload
  • Going off the main idea or topic
  • Lengthy sentences

Essay Hacks:

  • Divide your essay into as many contextualized paragraphs
  • Add quotes for inspiration that is relevant to your topic
  • Try and elaborate your content by using examples or illustrations
  • Only and use Wikipedia for reliable sources

How to improve your writing skills:

  • Know your audience – This is one of the most important tips. Knowing who your audience is will help the writer to determine the style and tone of writing. This allows the writer to center the content around the audience and how to best educate and persuade them.
  • Avoid using repetitive wording – This often takes away from the main idea that is brought to the reader’s attention. If you want to elaborate on the same idea or point, replace the word/ phrase with synonyms.
  • Use an active tone to your writing – Writers need to ensure that they are making the necessary grammatical changes and editing to their essay.
  • Spell check – Run a spell check through your entire essay. Read it aloud to yourself at least twice to ensure that it is good to go.
  • Seek a second opinion – Having someone read and double check your essay is always a good idea. By asking a relative or a friend to read through your content is helpful because as a writer, one tends to overlook mistakes that someone may potentially pick up.

For many, writing an essay can be very stressful especially if you do not have a structure. It is important to know the purpose of the topic and what you are trying to achieve through your writing.

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