I hope you have had a lovely weekend and are ready to get back into the swing of things before exams. Writing essays is an extremely tedious process and often times, students overlook the difficulty of writing a proper essay. In my personal experience in my first year of post-secondary school as an English Major; I continue to learn that the way that I was taught to do things in high school no longer applies for an academic level. I know first hand how scary writing papers can be so I have created a list that will help make the essay planning, writing and formatting process a walk in the ball park.
1. Pick a topic and move on:
Take it from me, there is NOTHING worse than spending weeks trying to pick a topic and pushing everything till last minute. Pick what interests you and start planning!
2. Actually plan out what you want to argue:
Planning out your essay allows you to take all the thoughts that you have in your mind and visualize them on a paper in front of you, and then find commonalities or differences between them. It may seem like a lot of work, but you will thank me later.
3. Know the different formats of essay writing:
Different courses and departments use different formats. Formats exist because the various formats are the way that scholars speak to each other. Knowing the difference between MLA and APA is extremely important and can be beneficial in the long run because the worst thing is to lose marks on an assignment for incorrect formatting.
Citations are a VERY important part of assignments because without citing your work, you are essentially stealing the work of another person – which can land you in all sorts of trouble. If you paraphrase or quote something that is not your own idea, just be safe and cite it. No one ever got in trouble for over citing in an assignment.
5. Essay Format:
I know in high school we all learned about the dreaded “five paragraph essay” and it is embedded deep into our minds; however, the hamburger essay format is quite impractical when you have to write a minimum of 4-5 pages. The hamburger essay format is ideal for exams, though!
6. Thesis’ and Writing:
Having a working thesis is the most important part of writing an essay in my opinion because without one, your entire paper will fall apart. The point of your essay is not to prove to your prof and TA’s that you are right; the point is to show them what you think and how you got to there with.
The quotes that you chose to use support your ideas. Having strong quotes is important without a doubt; however, being able to apply said quotes to your ideas is just as important.
8. Have someone look over your work:
Often times when you are up doing a paper the night before, a lot of mistakes can be made and though a sentence makes sense to you – it may not make sense to the person marking your paper. Having someone look over your paper for common mistakes, grammar and punctuation errors can pay off in the end!
Keep your heads up badgers! I hope these few tips help you in the long run! Have a great week!