Essay Writing is a major component in several courses and universities. The way and style you write can impact your grades and eventually help you in the future. If you are academically inclined and want to research, then essay writing is a survival skill. Even for those who don’t wish to pursue academia, essay writing is something they should understand.
The new way of education is highly global. People are studying in Universities and systems they haven’t experienced and known. Globally, universities and colleges have high standards of grading and accepting essays. That’s why many students struggle and lack the basic concepts of writing a good essay.
No other way around it, friends. If you want to improve your essay writing skills, then you have to read constantly. Read papers, journals, articles, reports, essays, and other academic materials. Teachers and advisors are very happy to share essays with you so don’t hesitate to ask your professor for examples and samples.
You should be reading material that is generic and also material that applies to your subject or field of study. Essay writing is about indicating your knowledge, your experience, in technical language that suggests your authority and comprehension. For example, I had to write an essay about Cultural Entrepreneurs and I used Oprah Winfrey as a case study. I read books about Winfrey, learnt about her story, her achievements, and her business. But I also read about race, America, obstacles for female entrepreneurs, women in media, and minorities in business. Those books and articles gave me enough material and ideas to apply in my essay. Hence, the more you read, the better you will be to refer and articulate.
You can find many essays on Researcher, an amazing and free app that lets you read papers on your phone. There are many journals and topics covered so you can access them and develop your understanding.
A common mistake many students make while writing an essay is to have no base or structure. Free form writing is okay for fiction but not recommended for academia or research. Develop a structure, sketch an outline, shape your essay before you start writing. It can be underlining ideas, using reference points, and having a direction for your material to go to. Divide it into subheadings, paragraphs, and parts so you know what you need and what should be included.
Several advisors and teachers are okay with looking at structures or outlines of essays to give you feedback. They can also point out areas you need to add or subtract, given the length of the essay. As a student, my advice is to reach out to teaching assistants or teachers and ask if they could have a look at your outline before you dive any deeper.
Your outline could be something as simple as-
- PRESENT CHALLENGES
- STATISTICS TO SUPPORT YOUR STATEMENT/ARGUMENT
This is just a direction but it comes really handy to break down the material and simplify the process.
The best way to improve your writing skills is to write. Practice writing essays, time them and work on them constantly. Essay writing is a vital skill that lets you summarize, contextualize, and analyze information in a scientific and methodical manner. Universities and colleges have writing workshops, courses, and seminars that let you practice your essays and give you feedback. Every subject has a type and style of essay that is recommended by teachers and professors. Look up what subject you want to write about in your library or on Google Scholar. Flesh your outline completely and enhance it by adding your analysis and research.
Quantitative and qualitative essays will differ in their style of writing. Learn how to tell the difference and practice both styles so you can adapt them when necessary. Essay writing in most courses need academic language. This means staying away from slang, colloquial terms, and internet jargon or abbreviations. Pay close attention to plagiarism as you will need to refer other books and essays but can’t directly quote them.
Grammarly is a good tool to check your grammar, spelling errors, and language. But please take it contextually! Grammarly only corrects grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. It can’t read context or understand technical, scientific, and industry terms or words. Don’t rely on it blindly but read and understand the corrections it is suggesting.
Professors and teaching assistants are happy to give feedback on your essays. You also have to understand how to read and apply the feedback. Nobody is going to say ‘This is wrong’ (unless its data). There is no right or wrong usually in essay writing. The feedback they offer will be indicative. ‘The essay is too simplistic’ suggests that you did not capture the essence of the entire topic. ‘The structure is poor’ could mean that your essay does not follow a firm structure but meanders. ‘Did not define the research question’ is a way of saying you left it too vague and broad.
You should also use feedback offered on your previous assignments or essays to avoid repeating your mistakes. Schedule a meeting with your advisor or Professor to discuss your fears or thoughts. Students fall in the trap of overthinking and hesitating which can lead them to cause errors. Ask another classmate or a senior to review your essay and offer feedback. Universities offer mentoring and peer review workshops so classmates and other students can assess each other’s work. If your college or university offers that, then do use it to enhance your skills.
Read your essay loudly before submitting. Reading it out loud can let you know the gaps, if certain parts are too complicated, and certain sections feel too generic. Many sentences and statements look good on paper but sound weird when read out loud. Essay writing needs academic language but it also should be relatable and explanatory.
There you go! These are some of the easiest and simplest ways to improve your essay writing skills. Applying these tips will definitely lead to a noticeable difference in your writing and research abilities.