You’re probably already familiar with the basics of an academic essay.
From crafting an essay outline to writing your conclusion, we’ve covered all the fundamental steps in essay writing.
However, when it comes to writing a paper that stands out from the rest, you’d need to apply some essay writing best practices.
1. Make time for your essay
Writing a good essay takes time, and you can only afford to write a lousy essay when it is due in the next few hours.
To guarantee that you have enough time for your essay, we advise you to set an earlier deadline for your project and start as soon as possible.
Break down your writing project into smaller, manageable tasks like researching your topic, outlining your essay, and the actual writing.
Remember, it’s impossible to write a full paper in one sitting. So don’t procrastinate! Allocate the right amount of time for each task and schedule them into your calendar.
One quick essay writing tip is to apply the Pomodoro technique. It is a productivity hack that breaks your work time into 25-minute crunches and 5-minute rest intervals.
This is the best setup that will allow you to get into the writing flow while making sure you get some pause in between to go on writing for a few sessions.
2. Research and outline before writing
Though it doesn’t sound much like an essay writing hack, we need to emphasize this obvious writing tip that a lot of people seem to ignore.
Many students tend to do their research before, during or even after writing. But this can lead to messy writing without a proper central argument.
You don’t want to write 10 pages of an assignment, only to later realize you have multiple points supporting different arguments.
Researching first and writing afterwards can allow you to choose the best information to use and assure that you have a solid thesis statement backed by various supporting ideas.
Having a detailed essay outline will also make sure you stay on track and focus on the truly essential points, as informed by your research.
But If you are the kind of writer who needs a rough draft to get a better sense of your ideas, feel free to go ahead and write as you research.
The main reason behind outlining is to plan your essay structure and organization clarity. So if you need to achieve that through drafting, you can also try reverse outlining.
By all means, you can research and fact-check as you go. However, putting in the study and planning your outline first can save you hours on end when you’re actually writing.
3. Use strong references and evidence
Though we all know that our essay should be backed by a good amount of resources, there is still an important consideration: Are your references and citations trustworthy?
Don’t only rely on online resources just because they are accessible. Instead, you want to make sure your information is from reliable resources.
When using Wikipedia, you may meet some resistance as your instructors may tell you that the encyclopedia website isn’t the most credible source for writing your essay.
And that’s true. However, it is a great place to find valuable sources on the topic.
In every Wikipedia article, there’s a “references” section containing a list of relevant books and articles that you can refer to support your essay instead.
Another fantastic way to find reliable sources is Google Scholar, a search engine that limits your keyword results to only show academic works and research papers.
You can even cite as you go by simply clicking on the cite button and selecting the style guide that you wish to follow.
Essentially, get your essay material from different sources, including newspaper articles, books, research journals, websites, reports, and more.
4. Know everything about your argument
The primary purpose of your essay is to convince readers about your ideas. A thesis statement (your main argument) is the essence of your paper.
So decide on an argument you are familiar with or make sure you know everything there is to know about your thesis statement.
Generally, decide your thesis statement based on the information and points collected. Draw a mind map and find which argument has the most supporting evidence to back up your claims.
When writing, assume your audience has zero knowledge of your topic. Provide the complete background to your readers to let them get a thorough understanding of your topic.
Take nothing for granted. Cover all the basic information, terminology, and even general facts that you think everyone knows to help make a more persuasive argument.
5. Use simple and clear language
Academic essays may be exploring complex information and ideas, but this doesn’t mean your writing needs to be tough to understand.
Instead, convey your message using simple and straightforward language.
You can have the most agreeable thesis, but it would be tough to convince your reader if your writing is disconnected and confusing.
Most importantly, your essay needs to impact and evoke your reader’s emotions. And you can only do that using language that we are all familiar with.
Demonstrate knowledge of topic-specific vocabulary by using the right word choices, but avoid writing robotically.
Add variance to your essay by using different sentence structures or Idiomatic phrases to create an engaging essay.
6. Pay attention to tenses and flow
Writing an essay is different from a blog post. You need to pay attention to using the proper tone and writing style, as noted by your essay prompt.
If there’s no specific instruction on what tone to use, your essay should assume a formal tone. That means avoiding personal pronouns like I, you, and we.
Passive voice also makes your writing more confusing to read. So always assume an active voice and write how you would talk to ensure clarity.
7. Follow the word count limit
Another consideration is to never go over the word count limit. Some professors can be strict with the word count limit and refuse to read anything after the last word count.
We understand. It’s easy to lose track of the number of words when writing, so having a word count limit for each section can help you manage your essay better.
Allocate more space for elaborations on segments that answer the essay prompts like the body of literature review or analysis instead of the introduction.
Essay going over the word limit? Here’s an interesting video by Millennial Classicist on cutting down the word count.
8. Edit and revise
The perfect essay goes through rounds and rounds of edit and revision.
Before making sure your essay is free from any spelling and grammatical errors, there are a few critical points to watch out for when you are editing your writing:
- Does your paper directly address the requirements of your essay prompt?
- Are all your main points explained clearly in a topic sentence and backed by supporting evidence and examples?
- How is the flow of your essay? Is there a clear introduction, body, and conclusion?
- Does your essay have long-winding explanations or descriptions?
- Is there excessive use of adjectives or adverbs? While the use of adjectives can make your writing more colourful, overusing them can distract your readers.
- Are your citation and paraphrasing done correctly using the designated style?
Reread your writing to see if any parts lack information or can be further improved to strengthen your essay.
9. Get external feedback
Having someone else read your essay is the only way to confirm that your message and idea has come across properly.
Getting another fresh pair of eyes on your essay can also catch mistakes you’ve missed and offer a different perspective when reading your writing.
They can see through your tunnel vision by pointing out confusing areas or places that need more explanations.
Generally, you can swap your work with your friend and edit each other’s work. If not, you can even submit your essay directly to your instructor or a professional to get some feedback.
10. Proofread your essay
Among our essay writing hacks, this one is king. Even if you are confident you have completed the best essay, take time to proofread and check.
Original: SourceGive yourself a day after completing your essay, then revisit to check your spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and grammar.
Having lots of mistakes can suggest carelessness and hurt the credibility of your arguments.
When revisiting your essay, remove any irrelevant or redundant details, especially if it does not serve a purpose or support the point you want to make. Split long sentences or rearrange key phrases to improve readability.
Though proofreading your essay may take another hour or so, it is crucial to make sure the last version you submit to your instructor is error-free.
Ultimately, essay writing doesn’t have to be complicated. Anyone can write a solid academic essay with the proper steps, time, and research.
And these essay writing hacks can make the process of writing a high scoring essay even easier. So make sure to put them to use and have fun writing your next essay.
We hope this 6-chapter guide on how to write a good essay will help you through every step. If you’re still stuck or running out of time, we can help you write a stellar essay. Write to Writers Per Hour with your requirement and we’ll put our expert writers on the job.
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