Sunday, June 7, 2009

Writing Great Essays - Some Useful Tips

Writing a good essay, whether in an exam or at any other time, is a task that many find difficult. Essays are required in most subjects, and your exam results may largely depend on your ability to write them so it is well worth tackling the problem energetically.

Why do we have to write essays any way?

Essays test more than your factual knowledge. They also test your ability to understand the significance of the knowledge you have; to apply it to the solving of particular problems; and to communicate this to someone else. So there are three things necessary to write a good essay, whatever the subject:

1. the necessary information;

2. the use of this information to solve the problem;

3. the ability to communicate in the most appropriate way.

But there is one essential point before you can even begin. You must be quite certain you know what the question means. Even if instinct urges you to start writing immediately, resist it. Make quite sure that you have read all of the question carefully, and 'all' means the instructions as well as the actual content of the question.

To summarize:

When you look at an essay question following are the points you should have in your mind:

Is there just one question or is it an Either ... Or?

How many things are you being asked to do? (Look out for the word 'and')

If more than one thing is required are they of the same kind? Or are they of different kinds (Describe and explain)?

Are you clear in your mind about the meaning of all the terms used?


Once you have got a clear idea of what the question is about, you must start planning your essay. There are two basic steps to planning: collecting and selecting the material and organizing it.

Starting and stopping

Once you have got the general structure of your essay clear, you can start writing. All you need now is a way of getting into it and a way of getting out. The first rule for starting an essay is 'don't put the reader off'. Your opening sentence can refer directly to the question. This is safe and can be helpful to the reader but take care that it is not also too dull. Never repeat the question word for word in your opening sentence. You may also start with an example that is relevant to one or other side of the argument or that simply underlines the question. Whatever style of opening you choose the important thing to remember is that it must lead you smoothly to your first point.


These are easier. Unless you are writing an imaginative essay, the best kind of conclusion is usually one that reminds the reader briefly of your arguments and states your opinions based on those arguments. The important thing is to leave the reader satisfied that the essay has indeed finished and not just stopped.


The style of your essay will vary to some extent depending on whether you are writing a factual or an imaginative piece, but two rules must apply no matter what the subject is:

1. What you want to say must first be clear in your mind or it will never be clear on paper.

2. The language you use must be as simple and direct as the subject allows.

The rule 1 does not mean that you must have every sentence complete in your mind before you start to write it down, but that you must have the thought clear. To achieve the aim of rule 2, you must use proper vocabulary, sentence structure, spellings and punctuation.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Writing Essays Is Essential To Your Academic Wellbeing

Essays are the bed-rock of most university classes and courses these days, and even traditional science-based courses require its students to have some form of verbal dexterity.

As well, you're probably going to encounter any number of courses that unrelated to your major over the course of your study; so even if you're a Chemistry major, chances are there is a History of Mathematics philosophy course, or a Introduction to World Religions course, figuring brightly sometime in your future.

And all these courses cumulatively add up in your GPA, and it's absolutely not worth it to flunk or gain a barely passing grade in that course only to have it adversely affect the rest of your GPA.

Your professors will appreciate the fact that you're able to articulate your thoughts in a manner that's befitting a scholar, and trust us on this... you'll want to keep your professors happy.

In the long run, as well, learning how to write a good academic essay is like riding a bike with the training wheels on. Once those training wheels come off, you'll be able to ride a bike through any terrain without much hassle, as you've already learned and mastered the basics.
Consider the skills of writing an academic essay your basic bike riding skills - the training wheels come off, you go off into the big bad Adult World of Work and Responsibilities, and you find that you're able to write well, no matter what the circumstance - and get promoted ahead of the other buffoons who send wrongly-worded emails to their clients and cost their employers tons of money.

Well... it may not be that gratifyingly dramatic, but it could be!

For those of you who are just beginning your academic careers, here are some tips that might help you to survive. These are handy not just for general survival, but also apply specifically for academic essay writing:

- First of all, keep up with your reading and go to class. You can't hope to be part of a conversation if you are absent from it.

- Pay attention not only to what others are saying, but also to how they are saying it. Notice that sound arguments are never made without evidence.

- Don't confuse evidence, assumption, and opinion. Evidence is something that you can prove. Assumption is something that one can safely infer from the evidence at hand. Opinion is your own particular interpretation of the evidence.

- Pay attention to the requirements of an assignment. When asked for evidence, don't offer opinion. When asked for your opinion, don't simply present the facts. Too often students write summary when they are asked to write analysis. The assignment will cue you as to how to respond.

- Familiarize yourself with new language. Every discipline has its own jargon. While you will want to avoid unnecessary use of jargon in your own writing, you will want to be sure before you write that you have a clear understanding of important concepts and terms.

- Don't make the mistake of thinking that because something is in print it has cornered the market on truth. Your own interpretation of a text might be just as valid (or even more valid) than something you've found in the library or on the internet. Be critical of what you read, and have confidence that you might say as much.

- Pay attention to standards and rules. Your professors will expect you to write carefully and clearly. They will expect your work to be free of errors in grammar and style. They will expect you to follow the rules for citing sources and to turn in work that is indeed your own. If you have a question about a professor's standards, ask. You will find that your professors are eager to help you.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

A Controversial Essay

This type of essays will also help you to be logical and factual. It will help you to develop your oratory skills as well. Since you will require enough ideas and points to present such an essay you can gauge which points will be important and which ones are not. The skills developed in writing this format of essay will help you to compete in debates and various contests in the future. While working on the theme of the essay the writer must know the essence of a controversial topic. The topic will generally be well read by many people and most will have heir own notion of the subject. Hence, be aware of what you are writing.

While writing the introduction, mention the problem statement of the topic, because the main factor of any controversy is a problem. The thesis statement will give the reader an idea of what you intend to cover in the essay. The reader will most likely have a pre-determined notion of the subject; hence your next step should be to give the reader a hint of what you intend to do mention in the rest of your essays paper. It will be a brief synopsis of your analysis and what is the single most important point that you want to drive into the reader's mind. The next phase will include the main body of the essay. It will e well structured and provide the arguments that you want to portray in the essay and the supporting ideas which will strengthen your ideas. The conclusion should be in line to the introduction and body of the essay.

In a controversial essay you can not be too judgmental, rather you must give to the point information and provide concrete arguments to prove your view. In order to stand your points you must be well versed with the subject matter and also have sufficient knowledge of the various views opinionated on the topic. Make sure that you have gone through different resources which give you the opportunity to come across various arguments and views. With the understanding of such views you will be have the idea what needs to be incorporated in your essay and how you can counter other arguments on the topic. To make significant impact through the essay you must maintain a definite structure and plan all through the paper.

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