How to Become Better at Writing Essays
When a student is faced with their first essay assignment at college, they realize academic writing is not as easy as they thought it would be. These are not the usual high-school essays they were used to. The process of completion is more time-consuming. The content should show how well the student researched and understood the topic. However, it should also show they were capable to think creatively about it.
In this situation, there's a question that comes to mind: how to become better at writing essays? They tell you it gets better with practice. It does. But what do you do when you want to write a better essay this time and you don't want to spend months in practice?
We have the guide you need. We'll give you few tips on how to write good essays, which you can start implementing today.
How to Write an Essay Plan
Do you know when you'll become better at essay writing and learning in general? When you become and stay organized.
Organizing a timeframe is important. When a professor gives you an essay assignment, they also give you a deadline. Note it down in your Google Calendar. Then, plan how you'll fit in the essay writing process within the time you have by then. Do you know what the secret recipe for success is? Start as early as possible!
You need an essay plan, too. These are the parts a traditional 5-paragraph essay should contain:
The purpose of the first paragraph is to introduce the subject and provide a strong thesis statement. This statement will be the foundation of the entire paper.
In the body of your essay, you're going to present arguments that prove the thesis. If, for example, you stated that the adolescent's life is deeply disturbed by the divorce of their parents, you should argue how exactly that's the case.
The body is usually consisted out of three paragraphs, which start with a separate main argument.
At the end of the paper, you'll draw a conclusion from the arguments you made. You'll show how those arguments proved the thesis statement you included in the introduction.
This structure seems easy when you look at it. However, when you're wondering how to write good essays, you have to get in details. What thesis statement will you start with? How will you support it? What resources are you going to use to prove you're making a good point?
Here's an example of an essay plan:
How to Write an Introduction in an Essay
Most students get stuck at the very beginning. They start wondering: "how do you write a introduction for an essay?"
Most universities provide essay writing guides for students, and they usually include a separate section for the introduction paragraph. These guidelines are important, so you'll understand what standards you need to meet. However, they are also very general, so they are not really helpful when you're stuck.
They tell you need a hook, but how exactly do you create one?
We'll give you practical tips:
Step 1. Start with statisticsThe estimated percentage of marriages in the USA that end in divorce is 45%. When we add those couples who separate but don't complete the legal process of divorce to that number, we'll be close to the figure of 50%.
When you present surprising statistics, you'll easily hook the reader. Don't forget: you need to provide references for all facts you mention in the paper. These should be facts. You can't make things up.
Step 2. Start with a quote“When people divorce, it's always such a tragedy. At the same time, if people stay together it can be even worse.” – Monica Bellucci
When you can't think of your own powerful sentence to hook the reader, you can always start with a great quote. However, you can't just throw the quote in; it has to be relevant. Then, you'll comment on it throughout the paper.
Step 3. Start with an anecdote or a real experienceJennifer Aniston came back from a birthday party and found out her father had moved out. The divorce of her parents was one of the experiences that turned her in who she is.
If you can find a real experience related to the topic, you can use it to start the essay. You can also start with your own experience. That adds personality and emotion to your writing. However, make sure to get to the main point right after that. If it's not a personal essay, your professor won't like reading about your experience throughout the entire paper.
Step 4. Give some context to the argument right after the hook
You'll have one or two sentences for the statistics, quote, or experience. Then, you should provide some background information that helps the reader understand the thesis statement. This could be related research, facts, or historical background of the issue.
Step 5. Bring on the thesis statement
The main point of the introduction is to get the reader towards the thesis statement. It's the heart of the essay. This is basically the main argument you're making.
Think: how do you feel about the issue assigned by your professor? You should form strong opinions before you start writing the essay. The thesis statement should be so strong that it will convince the reader your paper is worth spending time with.
Once you have your introduction, you'll already have the foundation for the body paragraphs. You'll devote each of the three paragraphs to one main argument that proves the thesis statement. When you provide the arguments, you'll be ready to wrap things up with a conclusion.
How to Write Conclusion Essay
An essay wouldn't be complete without a conclusion. You'll have a thesis statement and few arguments hanging in the air, but you have to help the reader form a complete opinion. The purpose of an introduction is to sum up the arguments and viewpoints and restate the thesis statement.
- Don't introduce new ideas
- Don't repeat the same things
- End with a rhetorical question
- End with parallel structure
- Explain why the issue is important
If you were focused on showing how divorce affects people through their adolescent years, don't introduce a new idea, such as the one that this experience might reflect on the lives of this adolescent's kids, too.
You won't have enough space to prove that new idea, so stay focused.
Yes, the conclusion should sum up the main points of your essay. Many students take that recommendation wrong, so they simply repeat the things they already wrote. Try using more vivid language and focus on your own understanding of the issue.
Am I ever going to stop feeling guilty about the divorce of my parents?
When you leave the reader with a question, it will make them think. This is an untraditional way to end an essay, which doesn't always work. If you can make it work, however, it might turn out great.
If you started the introduction with a stat, you can use another statistic that proves the same point. If you started with a quote, you can use another relevant quote in the conclusion. This approach adds symmetry to the essay.
When you're writing an argumentative essay, your professor will expect this kind of conclusion. It should tackle the seriousness of your issue. It should also explain why your point of view makes sense.
How Long Should an Essay Be?
Ask your professor. Seriously. When they give you the guidelines, they include an expected word count. If the professor expects you to write an 800-words essay, you have to reach that minimum. That doesn't mean you should aim for 800 words precisely. However, don't go too far. Give yourself a maximum of 30 words above the assigned word count.
There are few underlying questions:
- How long should a sentence be in an essay? Not too long. Use simple language. That shows you're confident in the things you write and you're not trying to spice things up with unnecessary complexity. If a sentence exceeds three lines, make it shorter or separate it in two or three sentences.
- How long should an essay introduction be? One paragraph. It's okay to make this paragraph slightly shorter than the remaining ones. However, don't make it too asymmetrical. Do not make it longer than the other paragraphs.
- How long should an essay paragraph be? It depends on the assigned word count. Take that number and divide it by 5, so you'll get a balanced structure. If, for example, your professor expects an essay of 1000 words, that leaves you with ~200 words per paragraph.
There you have it; the complete guide on how to write good essays. Now, you're ready. All you need is patience and determination.