How do you write an essay, where do you find all the information you need, and how do you make sure your essay can get you the highest grade possible? These are all common questions that many students have when they need to write an essay, and they haven’t done it before.
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Write an Outline
Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), an outline will help you make sure that your ideas flow and get your message across in a logical manner. Outlines can also be extremely helpful for those who struggle with writer’s block.
The act of organizing your thoughts will spark creativity, which is exactly what you need to start writing. To keep yourself on track, it’s important to start from a template or even copy and paste one from an old essay.
There are lots of great templates online—just do a quick Google search!
Draft Your Introduction
The introductory paragraph is arguably one of the most important parts of your essay. It’s what initially grabs a reader’s attention and cements their interest in reading further. If it doesn’t, there’s little chance that they’ll continue reading.
That being said, your introduction should also be interesting enough to intrigue readers and motivate them to read on. Once you have their attention, it shouldn’t be difficult to keep them reading right through to your conclusion.
Draft Body Paragraphs
A paragraph is an idea or point developed in a group of sentences. In an academic paper, each paragraph should make a specific point about your topic and present examples or evidence to support it.
The main ideas of each body paragraph should be arranged in an order that leads logically from one idea to another. You may want to state these ideas as numbered points so you can keep track of them in your outline.
If you are writing a five-paragraph essay, for example, one through four would be your body paragraphs. After you have completed your first draft of all three body paragraphs (and any other required paragraphs), ask yourself if they follow a logical progression and if they are organized in an appropriate order.
Determine a Logical Conclusion
The conclusion of your essay can be your strongest argument, so make sure it’s well thought out. Keep in mind that each of your body paragraphs should have a main idea that is ultimately supported by evidence from outside sources (your research).
You might consider summarizing your findings and adding a couple, so what? Statements to make sure you’re effectively tying in everything you discussed. This way, you’ll also be able to see how much time you spent on each paragraph: if one paragraph took up twice as much space as another, then maybe there’s more information here than we need.
Be sure to include a strong thesis statement at the end of your paper! This will help readers understand what exactly you were trying to prove with your paper and will remind them of all the points you made along the way.
Proofread and Edit
While you’re still in writing mode, it’s easy to overlook grammatical errors and other mistakes. One of the best ways to help ensure that your piece is not only well-written but also mistake-free is to have someone else read over it.
This may sound obvious, but since many writers are perfectionists, it can be hard for them to step back and allow others to proofread their work. However, once you get past that hurdle, having a second set of eyes on your work will greatly improve its quality.
Make sure whoever reads over your essay knows what they’re looking for (misspelled words or incorrect grammar), so they don’t overlook anything.