Some Hopefully Helpful Essay Tips
Over the last three years I’ve written a fair few essays, which is wholly unsurprising considering I study history and politics. My have ranged a fair bit, ranging from a low of 42 to a high of 81 (I have no idea how I got that it was in first year) and I thought I’d share a few tips for university level essays. This is in large part because me and some of my friends have been editing our younger siblings’ first essays, and I even be putting off doing some editing to write this.
One of the hardest things to do is start writing an essay, so personally even if I haven’t done much research I’ll just start writing the introduction and start of the first paragraph. Normally this is utter crap and deleted or seriously revised by the time I submit an essay, however It means that I’ve started and from there I can actually start thinking about how I’m going to structure my essay/argument/ramblings
One key difference at university level, when compared to school level, is that you need to argue your case. Of course there are multiple different sides and possible arguments to most essays, however although you need to acknowledge them, you should try and state your argument throughout the essay and when talking about other arguments explain why your argument is better. Don’t wait till the end of the essay to reveal your argument, nothing in your conclusion should be a surprise.
That brings me to another key theme of universities essays that have mainly kept me above 2:2s, that is say it once, in the intro, spend the essay saying it then say it again in the conclusion. Although your argument may well, and should evolve over the course of the essay, it should be a constant theme throughout your essay, and shove it down the markers throat at every opportunity. Also try to make the markers life easy, they are the one giving you your marks overall, so make sure your sentences have full stops, not just loads of commas, something I routinely fail to do, as well as ensuring that it is fully referenced, bibliographied and doubled spaced.
The last key thing to remember is to include some of the historiography if writing a history essay, or existing literature/ theory in politics (depending on the type of essay), or if you fancy being all interdisciplinary, which is rather in vogue at the moment you can do both. If writing a history essay I will generally try to throw in some political perspectives/theory as the markers love that for reasons I don’t fully understand, think its something to do with adding complexity to my argument or what’s not. If writing a politics essay I will always try to include the historical context behind the policy/political philosophy in question, the normally goes down really well as it really does add greater depth and context to the essay so I kind of get why markers like it.
Anyway, those are my top tips for writing semi-average essays, enjoy.
Oh, you are always going to over the word limit and sorting out references and bibliographies is the most tedious job known to mankind, but essays are fun its all good.