So you have this essay to write within a week, two weeks, a month and you don’t have a clue how to start? No worries. I have been there. I have paced around my room thinking about what my first sentence should sound like. I have torn papers into shreds over and over again until I felt that feeling of “Okay, I think this sounds better” only to rip it up again! Don’t blame me. This girl needed an A badly.
So, people have come to me about how they can write essays that make sense and get them an A in their courses/subjects. One thing I have seen is that essays feel like a herculean task. However, it really shouldn’t be. Essays can be well written and the skill can be mastered with constant practice. So, I have come up with 5 things you should do before you write your essay. They are the things that I have done over time and have proven useful and helpful.
- Read the essay question over and over again. Okay, you didn’t get that. I am going to repeat it. It is going to be louder than the first time. READ THE ESSAY QUESTION OVER AND OVER AGAIN! I am sure you are wondering why I am repeating this. Never assume that you understand the question immediately. Even if you think you do, read it over again till you are sure you get it. One of the things that make students lose marks is when they misinterpret the questions given to them. It has happened to me before and I definitely hated myself when I discovered it. It was an exam and there was nothing I could do.
- Write down what you think the examiner/teacher/lecturer expects from you when you answer this question. Every examiner has a goal when he gives a question. There is something he/she wants to test. It could be your ability to analyse, decode, explain, illustrate… You must know what is expected of you. This will guide your writing and ensure that you do not go off track.
- Now, go and read. There is nothing more terrible than an examiner reading an essay that lacks substance. Reading gives you more information. Good essays are built on the backs of thorough research. So, read, read, and read. Your reading should be done with a notepad handy. Make notes about points and information that jump at you. Please note the sources too so that referencing them will not be an issue afterward. I do not encourage plagiarism. It is a serious crime in the world of academics.
- This is now when you draw an outline. At this point, you are putting up a skeletal structure on which you will build your essay on. The outline is where you outline the major points you want to address in the essay. No one should write an essay without an outline.
- Start writing. Write, write and write. After writing your first draft, read it and if you are like me, there are many things you may want to cut out, some things you want to emphasize on better and some things you want to add. Your first draft can never be your final draft.
Essays are not that difficult. If you stick around, I will be sharing more on how your essays can improve. All you need to do is sign up to get more updates.