Problem: Where the hell do I start?!
Writing a saliva-inducing academic essay may not come naturally for many. After all, many associated good scoring essays with students that have a great command of the English language. While you definitely need to write in error-less English, the bulk of the points actually comes from having a clear structure and good arguments.
So… how to write a good essay then?
After years of experience at inkmypapers providing essay writing service, we have identified a few essentials that lecturers look for in a grade A essay.
Although this guide does not provide you with a full review of what makes a great essay, you’ll know enough by the end to write an essay that your lecturer will love.
Essential Point 1: Killer Introduction
An introduction is where everything begins in an academic essay. Treat it this way, if a person smells for the first time you met him/her, the person will forever be labeled as a smelly person, nevermind if he/she just happens to finish a workout on that first meeting.
That is why an introduction, when done right, will sway the lecturer to favour your essay more than one that started on the wrong foot. Here at inkmypapers, we always take extreme care in crafting out a great introduction. It simply makes it much easier to score. You can see our complete guide on writing an essay introduction complete with examples.
Here’s the ingredients of a high scoring introduction:
- Introduce the topic with general background information
- Introduce the focus of the topic
- ‘Problemise’ the focus (or purpose of writing this essay)
- Objectives of the essay
And some important rules:
- Introduction is 8-12% of essay length
- Includes at least 1 citation
Essential Point 2: Laser sharp focus on answering the essay question
This is perhaps the most essential point on how to write a good essay. In fact, let me repeat this point again: YOU HAVE TO ANSWER THE ESSAY QUESTION CORRECTLY!
Okay, I’m calm now.
We have proofread many essays over the years and many students made this same crucial mistake again and again and again.
I mean sure, we can edit an essay to make the language clear and concise, give a good flow to the essay itself, but if the essay is talking about bananas when the question asked for monkeys, there is really nothing we can help to give it a boost in grade.
Now, you may be thinking “Pfft, I will never make such a mistake.”. Well, you may be right but let me just give you a simple example on how easily it is to deviate away from the question.
Critically analyse the way in which the media represents individuals with mental disorders as dangerous
With this question (courtesy of University of Portsmouth), students may easily let their research led them away from the question. Here’s an example of how it may happen:
- Research shows that some mental disorders are indeed dangerous and media is correct in portraying it as it is.
- However, some mental disorders are not as dangerous and largely exaggerated by the media.
- This caused a stigma for patients with mental disorder.
So is the above interpretation correct?
It places focus on mental disorder when the essay should be to “analyse the way in which the media represents”. So instead of the ‘media representation’ being the lead actor here, mental disorder becomes it. A wrongly interpreted essay will most likely get a fail grade.
Essential Point 3: Para, para, paragraphs!
Paragraphs are important tools in providing an essay with a good structure and a good structure always means better grades.
So, how long should a paragraph be?
Unlike a blog post or a newspaper article, academic essay’s paragraphs should be at least 5 sentences long and talks only about a single idea. A paragraph that contains only 2-3 sentences will immediately cost you marks that are otherwise easily scored.
The structure of a paragraph in the body of an essay:
- A “topic sentence” stating what the sentence is going to be about.
- Provides definition or explanation of the “topic sentence”
- Evidences for any assertions you make
- Evaluation of the evidences stated
- Awareness of the implications
- And if appropriate, a conclusion on what has been discussed
Essential Point 4: Great conclusion
The conclusion is just like dessert after the main dish; it completes the meal. While you definitely can do without a dessert (or conclusion), be prepared to see your grades take a nose dive.
It does more than just concludes what has been written in the essay. This is also the part where you can take a stance (very important in argumentative essays) and even recommend any further studies (good for impressing your lecturer).
As with the introduction and body, conclusion has its own structure and rules. The structure of a conclusion:
- Talk about what the essay was meant to do (purpose of essay)
- Summarise main points
- Provides an answer to the essay question
- (Optional) Add limitations of the essay
- (Optional) Suggestions for further studies
Some important rules:
- 8-12% of essay length
- Does not contain new ideas or citations
Essential Point 5: Perfect referencing
Let me start by getting this straight. DO NOT USE any referencing ‘generator’ you found on the net. It is far more accurate and faster to just reference it on your own.
Now that I get that out, let’s move on.
The scope of this blog post doesn’t allow me to discuss in details on how to properly reference an essay, but I am sure you can find those online. Here are some of the most popular referencing styles guide:
- Harvard referencing style (There seem to be a few different standards to it. You should check with your University for a guide on Harvard referencing style.)
Anything else that we miss out?
I’d really like to know what you guys think on how to write a good essay. Did I miss anything out? Do you disagree with any of the points I’ve made above?