7 Tips on How to Write Great Student Essays

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If you want to graduate with a good mark, you have to learn how to write the best essays. It is easier than you think. Learn how to improve your writing!

The one thing that students hate the most (apart from exams) is essays. But from the moment you decide to go to university, you have also agreed to everything else that comes with it. Writing essays is simply one of the things every student is required to do. One way or another, you will have to become familiar with the essentials of academic writing.

While it’s difficult to define ‘academic writing’ simply because it refers to an array of different writing styles and techniques, it’s important to get to know what the characteristics are and what it means to produce a good academic essay. There some set rules that all students need to follow and this can help you stay within the limitations of academic writing and whatever that compromises.

To help students out, the University of Leeds lists some of the most important elements of academic writing. According to the institution, any type of academic essay should:

  • Be planned and focused: it answers a question and demonstrates your understanding of a subject.
  • Be structured: it follows a plan and it’s written in a logical format.
  • Be evidenced: it includes a variety of opinions and arguments supported by evidence.
  • Adopt a formal tone and style: it’s written clearly and concisely using appropriate language.  

This article offers a few guidelines and tips on how to write better academic essays paying attention to these important points. As a student studying at a UK university, you might find these useful. Let’s take a look.

1. Plan the work

Every good essay is laid out so that it has a solid foundation. If your assignment lacks structure, it becomes easy to lose track of your work and there is a high risk it will confuse the reader. Of course, you wouldn’t want that because that would also result in getting a poor mark.

Apart from the actual content, the essay needs to have a working visual structure, a layout that makes a 3,000-word essay look like a 1,000 one, breaking it down into smaller sections, that are easier to read. This is the approach you should take when you are writing your CV. You want it to be attractive and engaging without boring the person who’s reading it.

2. Decide on a theme

If you are given the option to choose different academic writing styles, go with the one you feel the most comfortable with. There are many types of academic writing including essays, reports, research or term papers, thesis, books or literature reviews.

The first step of writing an essay would be to think about what you want it to be about and then start your research. Just like an article has an intended meaning or purpose behind it, your assignment should talk about a specific subject that the readers - in this case, your professors or the audience you are addressing - are going to find interesting.

3. Follow the instructions

While lots of students may start out well, they often end up feeling lost and lacking a proper argument. But that’s exactly why you should make the most out of the help offered by your professors. These people can give you the kind of feedback you need and answer any enquiries related to essays.

One of the biggest mistakes you can do as a student that may cost you important credits is not complying with the writing and submission rules set by your tutors, your department or the university as a whole. The only way to ensure you will produce top quality work is to listen to them. Besides, they are probably the people grading your assignment.

To help make your work less of burden, these are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Avoid the use of ‘you’ and ‘I’: academic writing doesn’t need any of that.
  • Make use of numbering and bullets: it can help you with planning the structure of the document.
  • Include figures and tables: makes your essay stronger and more engaging.
  • Maintain the integrity of your research: Make sure any data you use is properly sourced and referenced, or that any spoken research is properly transcribed.
  • Be wary of the word count: you may lose marks if it’s far above or below the required word count.
  • Don’t forget the references: this is a crucial part of an essay as it provides evidence of work.

4. Stay focused

Perhaps the most difficult thing to do when working on an assignment is maintaining your focus and motivation. This is quite a common problem particularly for first-year students, who often struggle to concentrate on their assignments because all they can think about is where they will be going out partying at night. I get it - you would have to be crazy to enjoy writing essays. It’s like writing a CV but so much worse.

If you want to improve your concentration when writing, here are a few of suggestions from professional writer Jeff Goins that you might like:

  • Write in spurts to boost your creativity.
  • Take regular breaks (a 15-minute break every one or two hours) and do something else like watch TV or go for a walk.
  • Isolate yourself and avoid any distractions e.g. music, noise, social media.
  • Be spontaneous and don’t write what you think you should write, instead, write what you feel like writing.
  • Set a goal and meet it e.g. get 500 words written in a day.

Staying focused doesn’t necessarily mean that you spend half your day doing nothing but working on your essay. Successful students know when it’s time to take a break.  

5. Get some professional help

Even when you feel that all hope is lost, you are never alone – yes, even when writing academic essays. Working on an assignment may be daunting, and at the beginning, it's going to look like it’s a really horrible task. But when you get to grips with it, you will realise that it isn’t that bad.

Besides, there is always the option of asking other people for advice and help to ensure that what you produce is top quality. When you choose to entrust your term paper to an academic essay writing service you have nothing to be afraid of.

6. Proofread the essay

Before you are ready to submit your essay, you need to make sure that you proofread the document multiple times. The most common practice for proofreading that all successful writers suggest to students is to take a break from writing for a while before looking at the essay again. This is essential because you need a fresh pair of eyes when editing your work. Scanning the document after a break means that you are more likely to find grammatical or spelling mistakes that you wouldn’t have spotted before.

If you follow these simple tips, you will be producing better essays in no time. Just remember to ask for help whenever you feel that you need it! Have you ever struggle with any of your assignments? What do you think was the problem? Let us know in the comments section below…