How to Write an Effective Essay
Effective essay writing is an essential skill for students at any academic level. All the high school, college, and university students get loads of written assignments, the success of which influences their final grades. Thus, it is very important to be familiar with all its structural and formatting standards as well as tricks for providing high-level quality content.
Essays are usually assigned to check the students’ skills of research, critical thinking, analysis, and logically integrating the findings into a paper that adheres to the academic conventions of writing. Thus, not only your familiarity with grammatical, stylistic, and punctuation rules are assessed, but also the ability to conform to the structural and formatting standards as well as the skill to provide the right content and wrap it up into an appropriate form. You should address the task prompt properly, present a strong position, support it with relevant evidence, discuss the issues clearly and in appropriate style and tone, use formal language, and organize the entire essay coherently. Of course, you can use the help of any professional paper writing service (https://pro-papers.com), but you are going to join the academic community soon. So, you are obliged to know at least the most important conventions of effective essay writing.
Quick Tips on Writing an Effective Essay
Here are some useful tips on how to produce an effective essay for the marker to grade it at the highest level.
1. Analyze the Prompt
Written assignments usually presuppose some prompt or a specific question to reply to. So, start with a very close analysis of this prompt to make sure that you do understand what is to be done to achieve the right outcome. Break down the question into terms and analyze the following components:
- Content terms that are specific to the given topic;
- Limiting terms that outline the scope of this topic;
- Directive terms that point out the anticipated actions on your side (discuss, evaluate, define, compare, analyze, etc.).
2. Define Your Topic
Some essay prompts offer a very exact topic to discuss. So, after your close analysis of the question, consider the type of paper you need to provide. Define the purpose you are to pursue – give a general overview or analyze some specific issue. You can also narrow the focus if you see it appropriate.
In some cases, you may be given the freedom to pick a topic on your own. Here, you can use all your imagination and embody your interests. Again, define the purpose of the assignment as well as your aim. Conduct some primary research (https://www.library.ucla.edu/location/library-special-collections/destination/center-primary-research-training-cfprt) and pick up an issue that interests you the most. Evaluate your chances of taking a specific position and your ability to back it up and come up with the topic that you are sure you can successfully cope with considering the general subject, the essay prompt, the aim of the task, and your purpose.
3. Determine Your Argument
Any essay must convince the reader about some issue. Even if your purpose is to inform the audience about something, you need to sound convincing. Thus, whatever the type of your paper is, you must choose a side first. Determine your position on the question and present the argument to defend.
4. Make a Detailed Outline of the Ideas
A preferable step is to outline the ideas, especially in the case of long and complicated research. This way, you will have a detailed plan of what to write about not to get lost in a variety of thoughts. After you have conducted preliminary research and made notes of important issues to include in an essay, you are sure to have a general idea of what arguments and evidence to present. Now you need to organize all of them logically, clearly highlighting the relations and connections between them.
Write your working title at the top of the page. Leave some space for the thesis statement. Make a list of the main ideas that you wish to touch upon in the essay and leave some space below each of them. Most likely, these are going to be the small topics for each section in the paper. After this list is ready, fill in the blank spaces with smaller ideas that relate to and support each main point. Depending on the complexity of the paper, these smaller ideas may also require further details to be included. Reread it to define any weaknesses. Remove any excessive and unnecessary details; add more important thoughts, and change the ones that do not match the general idea. Do this until you are totally satisfied with the flow. Now you have the overall plan of the paper that you are going to follow during the writing process without the risk to forget something essential or get confused.
5. Compose a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is the main argument of the essay placed at the end of the introductory paragraph. It answers the core question of the assignment prompt, presenting your firm position on the issue. After you have defined the exact topic and outlined all the main ideas in a structured way, you can formulate a strong thesis statement. It must be:
- A statement of the argument. It must not describe the topic or announce what the essay is going to discuss.
- A clear expression of your firm position. It cannot just state a well-known fact.
- Debatable. It must evoke some controversy on the reader’s part and create space for persuasion.
- Objective. It must be based on research and exact facts instead of your subjective perceptions.
- Provable. It should not be a universal judgment or exaggerated claims.
When you are ready with a thesis statement that corresponds to the enumerated characteristics, include it in your outline and get ready for writing the first draft. Mind that it may be a working thesis that you may wish to adjust in the process.
6. Write the Main Body
Having a detailed plan at your hand, it is easier to write the first draft based on the ideas jotted down in it. Just follow it to form the main sections, subsections, and paragraphs within them. Each paragraph should start with the topic sentence, which is the main idea from the outline. Your smaller ideas will act as supporting evidence. And of course, you would wish to add smaller details and examples to create links and provide deeper context. Do not forget to cite all the borrowed ideas following your notes made during the research stage.
Your first draft is going to be a very rough presentation of the essay. When you revise it the first time, you will add more logics and stylistic issues to make the language more orderly and elaborate. In the process of the subsequent revisions, more changes can help to refine the final draft by deleting the unnecessary, adding more relevant details, and adjusting the flow.
7. Write the Introduction
Students often erroneously think that introduction must be written first since it is the first section of an essay. In reality, you can come up with an effective introductory paragraph only after the body of the paper is ready. This way, it is easier to present a logical lead-in into the core of the discussion for the reader and provide a cohesive piece to integrate a thesis statement. The introduction must grab the reader’s attention right from the start and make them read the essay till the end. It should not be too long, making about 10% of the entire paper. Start with an attention grabber, which may be a famous quote, statistics, or some little-known fact. Provide some crucial background information that will be developed and discussed in more detail in the subsequent sections. End your introduction with the thesis statement.
8. Write the Conclusion
Naturally, a concluding paragraph must be written last. It is a summary of all the main ideas discussed in the body of the essay that restates the thesis statement presented in the introduction. Do not use the same sentences from the body paragraphs to present them here. Remind but do not repeat. In addition, the conclusion must provide some afterthought for the reader, making the final concluding statement. Just remember that you cannot present any new ideas in the conclusion that were not discussed in the body sections. Ideally, the topic of your essay must be clearly understood after reading the introduction and the conclusion only, skipping all the rest.
9. A Finishing Touch
Proofreading is a very essential stage in the writing process. Reread the paper from the very beginning till the end to eliminate all the possible inaccuracies. Pay attention to the smallest details. First of all, see if grammar, spelling, and punctuation are in order (an automatic spell-checker is a great assistant here). Make sure that all the ideas borrowed from other sources are properly cited and that there are no cases of unintentional plagiarism. Double-check the references to ensure that you have not confused the sources or page numbers. Consider if all the ideas are relevant and to the point and if they flow logically. Remember that the strongest points should come at the beginning and the end with less important or weaker ones between them. Read the instructions once again to make sure that your paper follows them all to the letter.
Do not rush to submit the assignment as soon as you have decided that everything is perfect. Read it once again the next day or even later. A fresh look at the essay after some time has passed may help to identify some more inaccuracies and correct them timely. It is also a good idea to have someone else read it and offer their judgment.
The Way to the Effective Essay
These quick tips on writing an effective essay offer invaluable pieces of advice on how to produce grade-A papers. If you follow them, you will not have much trouble with your written assignments at high school, college, or university. But of course, practice matters a lot. Consult these tips every time you need to write an essay or a paper. With time, you can become a real master in creating effective essays.