It’s around that time of year when essays are due in, preparation for exams is already starting and everyone is stressed (very stressed, almost ‘going grey’ kind of stressed). I recently handed in three essays which count towards my final degree (oh my, ARGHHHH – bit scary?). Through writing these essays I have devised a list of the three most handy tips I know of… and trust me, they are handy.
1. Plan, plan, plan.
This is arguably the most important element of essay writing and if you don’t do it then well slap on the wrist for you (or no dessert – I don’t promote violence). Planning is crucial for the thought process and organisation of ideas. Often, (don’t worry I was one of these) people can have an essay that is full of incredible (ground-breaking, well, if you are me… yes, you are supposed to find that funny…) ideas but they can become muddled and confused. This is because they aren’t planned out properly.
Begin by breaking down the question, then organise your readings in relation to the question (add in a load of pretty colours – that’s important too, oh and a few post-it notes) and then finally incorporate a planned out introduction and conclusion. I actually write my introduction last, because then I find I am able to write a concise starting point for my discussion.
This is just a simplified way of going about a plan, but I am sure you get the idea. If not then leave a question below and I am happy to help!
2. Reference as you go!
We can all mutually agree on how irritating referencing can be, especially when you have ‘browsed’ 952 websites, opened 21 ebooks and pretended to use the library. Well, I just reference as I go, particularly when I am writing notes for my essay. This means that my referencing is basically already done by the time I come to write up my final copy and it saves the painstaking task of going through pages internet history amongst those ‘two minute Facebook and twitter checks’.
3. Ask a family member or a close friend to read your essay before you hand it in.
This is something that I find personally very helpful. I often ask members of my family the essay question, because then they are able to provide immediate responses (often not related to my subject in anyway but still). This helps me to view my essay differently, and perhaps see a point of view I would normally ignore.
Another trick to ask a family member or a friend (who isn’t on your course) to read your essay. They will be able to notice grammar mistakes, spelling errors, poorly worded sentences and ‘gaps’ within your work as they are not familiar with your content.
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If you would like to read more posts from this series, then you can view part 1 which talks about applying for university here! Alternatively you can read the post prior to this, “A University Room Haul” by clicking here :) (Part 4 is still missing but will be up very very soon).
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