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Writing Academic Essays

Writing Academic Essays

This article is aimed at giving you tips on writing academic essays on any subject matter or topic. So, here goes.

Understanding and analyzing the essay question

Read the essay question a couple of times and make sure you understand what is being asked of you. If there are questions and clarifications about the essay topic, do not hesitate to talk to your teacher and ask them now itself. Getting the wrong idea about the essay question can take you on the wrong path and waste your time and energy needlessly.

Examine and analyze the topic given and decide what you want to write about. Academic essays are usually open-ended topics and you would be required to choose your own subtopic based on your interests and passion. Make sure you choose a subject that has plenty of resources for research available.

Prepare and plan

This aspect involves the following step:

  • Researching the topic

  • Writing an outline

Researching the topic – This calls for a lot of reading from your end. Ensure you use only reliable and valid sources of information. Use both online and library sources for your research. Find all the necessary information that will enhance the value of your academic essay. You should ideally make copious notes either on colored index cards (that will facilitate easy retrieval) or in normal notebooks (if you are confident of your data organizing capabilities).

Take down all the necessary details so that you have everything you need for citing purposes as well. Your librarian, your college librarian, and the list of suggested reading normally recommended by your professor will all be highly useful to you in this regard.

Writing the outline – Once you have collected sufficient data, it is now time to spend some time re-reading the information and organizing it neatly. When you are reading the information the second time over, you will see that some kind of idea will be forming in your head as to how you want to place your essay.

You will invariably get an idea of what your thesis statement is going to be. It may not be perfect in all respects, but the basic idea would definitely be formed in your head. This will give you an indication that you are ready to write the outline of the essay and you are quite certain how you will retrieve the required information from your notes.

Now, you can sit down to write the outline. Make a list of the points you wish to use in your essay that supports your thesis statement. Write the outline with the details of what will come in each section of your essay. Organize your points of evidence in an order that reinforces your thesis statement in the most effective way.

When you have completed writing your outline, you should feel a lot of confidence about your essay. This reflects the success of your research and writing the outline processes. When you sit down to actually write the essay, it must flow easily and smoothly if the above processes have been done well. At this point, it might make sense to again read your essay question and make sure that your essay is taking the right path.

Writing the first draft – When so much work is already behind you, writing the first draft will be relatively easy. The only thing that might be a challenge is the limitation of your writing skill if any. Here are some great and easy-to-follow tips to write using MS Word that will help in enhancing the speed of your writing.

This first draft is quite likely only a rough draft. But, writing the entire essay at this point in time will let you know if the essay is going the way it should and you will also be able to check for content flows and make necessary revisions if need be. When you are writing the outline, try and follow the format of each paragraph in this way: Let the first sentence of the paragraph the claim followed by three supporting sentences and the final wrapped-up sentence.

Editing the first draft – If you have the time, give a one-day gap between completing the first draft and editing it. The one-day break will refresh and rejuvenate your mind from the unending thoughts regarding the essay since you first started researching for it. When you are editing, ensure there is a seamless flow of content right across the essay. Use of transitional phrases that connect the paragraphs will help you achieve this.

During the editing process, ensure you eliminate any rhetorical phrases and ideas, try and keep all your sentences in the active voice, and finally, ensure spelling, grammar, and punctuations are checked and corrected.

Finalizing the draft – After doing all revisions and ensuring edits are done correctly, you can finalize the academic essay. This would entail checking and ensuring the correctness of format (MLA/Chicago/APA), ensuring instructions of the essay question are followed diligently, and doing a final grammar and spell check to ensure 0% error. At this stage, check for citations and ensure they are accurate both in the in-text and in the reference page.

Final Notes

Writing academic essays might seem like a daunting task. Yet, with diligent practice and committed learning, you are bound to get better with each essay. Remember, college life is full of essay writing assignments and mastering this art will help you get through college with flying colors.

While the above set of instructions work well for academic essays for any subject, there could be small changes depending on many factors including what your professors expect, the subject (for example, scientific papers could include a lot of tables and graphs and statistics which might need to be collated in a separate sheet), etc. Check with your teachers before starting off the essay and ensure you understand instructions thoroughly.

At Prescott Papers, we offer a wide range of custom essay writing services all of which are done by qualified and highly skilled writers and editors. Do not hesitate to contact us for custom essays, for assignments, for dissertations, for research papers, and more.

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