Now I love an essay, but I’m sure some of you reading this have stronger opinions for the other camp. Essays are a vital task in many humanities subjects. We have to remember that not everyone is a writer, just like not everyone is a mathematician. So, to help those who are not and maybe to further those who are, why not test out a few of our suggestions.
Look at the question. But don’t just look at it. Analyse it, study it, highlight it. The key to a good essay is the way it answers the question. Picking key words and running off on a tangent about something slightly similar yet not applicable may work for you, but it won’t for the question. Ensure that all details of the question have been fleshed out and that you totally understand the question before sentences and paragraphs take the page’s stage.
Research what you don’t know. It may be a question you were not hoping for or a question you don’t know a lot about and that’s okay. What you can’t do, good old Google can. Find some different opinions or facts and use this to your advantage. Build upon your own ideas with the help and experience of others that you have found. The best essays are also those that are well informed with perspectives and information that is both accurate and engaging.
Devise a plan. No sports player ever entered the field without a game plan and no writer is any different. Maybe it’s a structure you’d like to follow or a list of things you need to include. An outline gives writers the opportunity to check things off the list as they go whilst providing guidance for the flow of the prose and argument.
Use the time given. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you guessed it, neither will your essay be! Write a paragraph then leave it. Write two more and then leave it. If you find yourself on a flow of words, keep going. If you find yourself with a bit of writers’ block, take a break and come back. You might find on your break that ideas come back to you and ignite a bigger sense of motivation than you had before.
Bring it home. The conclusion, whilst to some might seem like an unnecessary string of sentences at the end, is really saving the best for last. I mean that’s why they call it dessert right? Because who doesn’t love dessert! Well, today and in the classroom, the conclusion is the dessert. It sums up the whole meal. Whether or not the entre (introduction) was a bit off, you can always bring it home with a good dessert. Use the last few sentences to sum it all up. Don’t bring in any new flavours or ideas, but instead enhance them and link them with your main argument that’s flowed throughout the course.
Feedback is your friend. Ask around to get ideas from others. Constructive criticism is welcomed too. Having the opinions and fresh eyes of others allow for your essay to appeal to an outsider’s perspective and may give you a fresh insight to further your work.