Tip 1: Start Early!
I cannot stress how important it is to start your essay the moment you get it, if you really want to write a strong essay and make it the best that you can. The more time you have, the more time you have to edit it and spend time on it.
Tip 2: The More Drafts the Merrier!
When writing an essay, it is important you write multiple drafts. Start by writing your first draft. If you feel that your essay can build on what you started with, than continue editing and making multiple drafts until you get to your final copy. remember to save each draft so that you can go back to previous ideas and hand it in with your final copy so that your teacher sees the effort you put into it. However, if you don’t like your first draft, don’t stress. Just re-write it. I can almost guarantee you that your first draft will be almost completely different from your final draft.
Tip 3: Plan it Out!
Before you start writing, plan out what is going to consist in your essay. Think about:
- topic of body paragraphs
- 1 or 2 points in each body paragraph
Tip 4: Writing a Theme
Writing a theme is probably the hardest thing to do in an essay. Your theme has to reflect what is being talked about and represent the whole essay, not just one paragraph. I always had trouble creating good themes. Therefore, I would recommend just starting off with a rough theme. Just start off with a theme so that you have something to work with and then once you start writing your paragraphs you can continue editing and perfecting your theme.
Tip 5: Writing an Introduction
Writing an introduction is something I always struggled with. Just make sure to state your theme in the second sentence of your intro paragraph. Don’t worry about making your introduction the first thing you have to finish writing. You can develop your introduction as you write the other paragraphs.
Tip 6: Search the Internet
The internet is a great place to search and brainstorm for ideas. Your ideas for your essay do not all have to be your own. You can search the internet for other ideas because they can give you insight to things you may have not thought of. Of course, don’t copy word for word how the internet wrote the idea, but take the topic of the idea and do research for it. The internet can take your essay to a whole new level because it can open your eyes to the ideas you didn’t think of! (Please make sure to only take overall ideas and not the exact words and subtopics under the big topic!)
Tip 7: Body Paragraphs
Over past times of writing essays, I have compiled a good and strong layout to write an effective body paragraph. Your first sentence should outline what you’re going to be talking about in that paragraph. Throughout your paragraph, each sentence and connection you make MUST relate to your theme. Always, whenever you finish making a point always refer back to the theme. Therefore, you can address the author of a book and what they did that relates it to the theme. You should always end each paragraph that way. However, make sure you are not saying the exact same words when you refer to the theme. Change up your phrases and make slightly different points that still reflect the theme when you are referencing back to how your statement reflects the theme.
When writing essays I always had a problem with adding non-relevant information. I wanted to add certain points to my essay because they were really good and smart. However, sometimes they were not always referring back to my theme or supporting it. Therefore, you need to read each line of your essay (excluding the introduction and conclusion) and think how does this relate and support my theme. I know it may be hard to take out certain parts of your essay but it will make it better as a whole altogether! I promise!
Additionally, in your body paragraphs, try not to summarize the information (unless the essay is a summary of something) but rather explain it by making connections and using the fifth w, why, to explain what the writers or characters are doing.
E.g: Instead of saying:
Summary: ” In order to find work and have a safe place to stay, Viola works as the Duke’s servant and gives herself the name Cesario”.
Insight/Explanation: “Viola’s gender switch and deception to Orsino benefits her”.
Tip 8: Keep Focused
In relation, to writing your body paragraphs, try to keep focused on the idea for each paragraph. It is good to have lots of support in your paragraph but sometimes it can get out of focus. If you have one example for each paragraph and can explain, prove and support it with quotes and explanations, that is better than having three examples to explain one idea. You don’t want your paragraph to be all over the place with ideas. Keep focused.
Tip 9: Repetitiveness
Raise your hand if you are the person who tends to repeat yourself when writing an essay. *raises hand* Yes, sometimes I repeat myself through an essay because I want to reinforce what I am saying and don’t know how to say it. Repetitiveness is one of the worst things you can do in your essay. Just as I mentioned in the previous tip, read each sentence and make sure that it is not pretty much the exact same thing as you just mentioned. It is okay to rephrase sentences but not just change one or two words. Of course your theme rephrased can be repeated through your essay, but if within your paragraph you feel that you are not making different points relative to the paragraph topic and overall theme, take it out. Just make sure overall when you are reading your essay,each paragraph is defined to one topic.
Tip 10: Transition Words
I love using transition words! Transition words spice up your essay and make it more interesting to read. It is also a great way to connect thoughts and ideas without have to completely start a new paragraph and make it seem like you’re changing the topic. To be honest, when I was younger, I would only use transition words like “then” and “also”. Though, now I rarely use that word anymore. When you get into older grades like in high school, it’s time to start using bigger and powerful words. Here are some of my all time favourite transition words to use that I would encourage you to incorporate in your essay.
- In addition / additionally
- Despite …
- Ultimately (conclusion)
Tip 11: Using Synonyms
When writing an essay, it is always great to use other words than your basic words. I’m not saying you need to have a very complicated and long words that nobody known, but it good to use the non-common words but still basic, that are just forgotten. There are so many words that we don’t use on a regular basis that can be included in your essay that are not words that you can understand or remember. For instance, if you want to use another word for “show” you can use words like :
Whatever the context of your sentence is, you can use any of these basic words that we ALL know and it will add so much more to your essay than just saying “show”.
Tip 12: Conclusion
It has been said that your conclusion is the least important part of your essay. This is because your conclusion is pretty much a recap of what you wrote in your essay. In your conclusion make sure to outline the overall theme and how it was portrayed in the overall points you made for your body paragraph.
Tip 13: Trust your Gut
When editing your essay, if you feel that a certain part, sentence or phrase doesn’t sound or feel right, spend time on editing and correcting it. There are so many times where I have written something in an essay and it made sense but it just didn’t feel right including it in that form. I ended up handing it in without fixing it and my teacher ended up commenting on it. I should’ve trusted my gut and spent the time and effort of fixing it. Therefore, that is why I encourage you to trust your gut and perfect your essay until it “feels and sounds right”.
Tip 14: Ask your Teacher
If you are given the oppourtunity to have your teacher look over your essay, take it! Having your teacher look at your essay because they can tell you things they like, don’t like, and want to see in your essay. Last year, I had an english teacher who only liked specific ideas included in the essay. Therefore, if I was allowed I would go to him to have a look at my essay so that I could adjust it to his liking and ideas.
Good luck on writing your essay! I hope these tips and tricks will come to benefit you in writing your essay one way or another. Writing an essay can be a stressful thing. However, don’t give up and keep persisting until you perfect it! If something doesn’t feel write, keep adjusting it until you feel 110% proud and confident in what you are handing in. Start off with a positive mindset and end off with a positive mindset.