Essay Writing Tips
The dreaded time has finally arrived: the season of neverending assignments and exams. Well for me, it is the season of only assignments as I have chosen to avoid examinations this year. This option to go 100% on essays is available to many in the social sciences. Naturally, many of you reading this may consider me extreamly lucky and may envy my position. However, I can ensure you that writing 28,000 words across 7 essays is certainly not easy. In fact, many of my friends who, like me, were attracted to the notion of no exams find themselves continuously applying for extensions in order to effectively meet the deadline. Somehow, I was able to meet the 4th May deadline (by an hour) and have now sent in all my final year work. This means that academically, I am officially done with University. Accordingly, I have decided to write this blog to provide you with the essay writing tips that enabled me to effectively complete a great sum of work in a small amount of time.
I am well aware that writing essays are a very personalized task, we all have tips and advice that works best for us. Therefore, I am not trying to enforce what works for me on anyone else, instead, I am simply sharing tips that I think are worth trying. Once again, it is important to briefly note that the types of essays I was required to write and analyze were opinion-based, critical thinking essays that are common to the social sciences. Thus, there were no graphs, data analysis, or numbers used, as would normally be expected in a life science essay. Nevertheless, I am confident that the essay writing tips presented in this blog can be applied to all disciplines.
The first tip which I would like to share is that regarding planning: to write an essay without first planning its content and structure is like baking without flour – a recipe for disaster! I find that I can write up to 2,000 words a day with a concise, clear plan. Indeed, if your plan is detailed with all the sources and paragraph points then writing it will be extremely easy. However, if your plan consists of simple bullet points, you may spend a lot of time researching and finding sources while writing and this may break the flow of your writing.
Also, planning your time is crucial, I started writing my first summative essay in February and this gave me around 3 to 4 months to effectively write these essays. Accordingly, my weeks were not filled with the constant need to write as I could have rest days and days to focus on other things. One thing that worked for me was also planning to work on different essays at the same time. For example, if I was working on my gender essay in the morning, I would then switch to work on my security essay at night. I found that this meant that I was never bored or tired of one essay topic. However, I am aware that for many of you this could lead to a lack of focus as you may prefer to finish one essay completely before starting the other – to which I can only say: to each their own.
Another tip that I would like the share is that of structuring your essays: I find that a good structure to underpin your essay is essential for good content. Personally, I like having one paragraph to explore the opposing argument to what I am asserting in favor of; I find having this at the start of the essay very effective as it means the following portions can focus on proving the argument wrong. This also ensures that your essay is not one-sided and has considered other arguments.
As well as this, an additional tip that I think is worth sharing is that sometimes the simpler the writing is, the better. Especially when it comes to dissertations, giving your reader clear signs and indications of what each portion of the essay will do makes the process of reading your essay much easier for them.
I sincerely hope that these tips help you and all the best for your essays and exams.