Whether you’re writing an essay for high school or college, the process can be challenging and time-consuming.
You might have to write a bunch of drafts before you get it right, and you’ll probably need an extra set of eyes to proofread your work.
To make things easier on yourself (and whoever’s reading), here are some key points that’ll help you succeed in writing a killer essay:
Essay Writing Tips
Outline the Essay
Organize Your Thoughts
Once you’ve finished brainstorming, it’s time to organize your thoughts. Follow this outline:
- Introduction paragraph. This is where you’ll introduce the subject of your essay and an overview of how long it will be and what kind of thesis statement it will have (more on that later). You’ll also want to ensure that you include any supporting evidence here that aren’t mentioned in the body paragraphs (like quotes from experts or statistics).
- Body paragraphs. These are the meat and potatoes of your essay; each one should show off a single piece of writing advice. Each body paragraph should contain: 1) an introduction sentence describing what information you’re going to cover in this section; 2) several supporting sentences providing examples or details related to that rule; 3) a conclusion sentence summarizing what was said in those three previous parts (and usually including some call-to-action).
- Conclusion/Summary paragraph(s). This is where all those lessons you learned from each body paragraph come together into one final takeaway message for readers—a way for them to digest all their new knowledge before moving on to another piece about writing essays!
Use the Right Words
When you are writing an essay, you need to use words that are specific and concrete. You should avoid using general terms like “good” or “bad” and instead use more specific words that capture the essence of your idea. For example, if you want to describe a cup as having “good taste,” it would be better to say something more like “the cup has a pleasant taste” instead.
Another important thing about using language when writing an academic essay is using active verbs rather than passive ones. Active verbs make sentences sound more exciting, whereas passive sentences are bland and impersonal because they lack action (and perhaps even focus on another person). For example:
“You can now buy tickets at the door! (active).”
“Tickets can now be bought at the door! (passive).”
The active sentence sounds much better because it tells us what someone has done (“you”) while also managing to avoid any awkward-sounding pronouns (“I,” “me”). This is another good reason you should try not too many fancy or complicated words in your essay—they won’t help convey meaning any better than simpler alternatives!
When you’re in a rush or feeling lazy, it can be tempting to rely on the tried-and-true. But clichés are overused phrases many people have heard before and may not understand when they reencounter them.
They might also make your essay feel boring because they tend to be cliches themselves (“It was a dark and stormy night…”). Instead, take the time to find an original way of expressing yourself and keep your readers engaged with your unique voice!
If you find yourself using clichés often, this could indicate that you need some help finding more exciting ways of saying things. Read up on some articles about writing techniques or tips from other writers who have written about this topic before; then try putting their advice into practice in your work!
Make the Introduction Grab Attention
The first paragraph of your essay should introduce the topic and make a statement that will get the reader’s attention.
Then, you should explain how you’re going to solve the problem: what is your argument?
What is at stake for the reader?
Finally, give them a thesis statement—a sentence stating your purpose for writing this essay.
Write Body Paragraphs that Flow
It’s essential for body paragraphs to flow. They should be about the same length and have a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a conclusion.
The topic sentence should be related to the thesis statement from your introduction but not so much that it is obvious that you are writing about the same thing.
Don’t repeat information from the introduction in your first paragraph—this will make it clear that you’re repeating yourself! Instead, focus on what makes this particular example essential or relevant to your argument.
For example: “In my experience as a teacher of students with special needs, I have found that many students are not taught how to tie their shoelaces until they reach grade school because it is considered an unnecessary skill for life at home or school.”
Make Connections Between Paragraphs to Improve Flow
You should use transitions if you want your essay to flow seamlessly from paragraph to paragraph.
Transitions are words and phrases that help the reader understand how ideas in one paragraph relate to those in another. They can be simple (such as “and”) or complex (such as “For example…”).
Transitional words and phrases are also known as connectors because they connect two ideas.
Some common transitional words and phrases include:
Use Transitional Words to Improve the Flow
Transitional words are a great way to improve the flow of your essay. By connecting ideas, transitional words help move your writing along and keep readers interested in what you have to say.
Using transitional words can also make your essay more interesting to read — especially if you’re writing about something that might not be as exciting or interesting as other subjects might be.
For example, let’s use the topic of “what I did this weekend” as our subject matter (which isn’t exactly super exciting). If we just listed everything we did without connecting them with transitional words, it would sound like this:
“I woke up on Saturday morning and went grocery shopping at the store near my house. After shopping for groceries at the store near my house, I came home and cleaned my room because there was a lot of clutter on the floor from clothes that needed folding and bookshelves filled with books I hadn’t read yet (or will ever read).”
“Once all my clothes had been folded neatly into drawers so they wouldn’t wrinkle anymore than necessary due to being stored incorrectly for so long without any order whatsoever, then there were dishes left over from breakfast earlier that day that needed washing before lunchtime came around again later that afternoon.”
Check Spelling and Grammar
You can’t check your spelling and grammar too many times. You’ll be surprised at how often you miss things that are obvious to others but that you’ve read so many times that they seem right to you.
Use the tools available to you in Microsoft Word and Google Docs. They have built-in spell checking but also look up words in their respective dictionaries if they highlight something as incorrect (and some other programs do this as well). If you’re using a program without such features, there are plenty of online options for checking spelling and grammar: Grammarly, Ginger Software, ProWritingAid, and more.
While writing your essay, ask someone else to proofread it for you—preferably someone who knows nothing about the topic or what point you’re trying to make with each sentence—or ask someone else who does know these things but hates reading essays on history topics (like me).
Have Someone Else Proofread Your Essay
After you’ve finished your first draft, it’s time to ask someone else for help. While you may have caught most of your work’s spelling and grammar errors, others will notice things you miss.
- First and foremost, ask a friend or family member to read over your essay. They can check for spelling and grammar errors and flow and organization issues. If possible, let them know that they’re not just proofreading but should also be looking for ways to improve the essay (such as additional examples or more vigorous rhetorical appeals).
- One other thing: make sure whoever reads over your work is familiar with whatever topic you’re writing about! If it’s history class, don’t ask an English major to read over the paper—they won’t know what they’re looking at!
Check Your Tone
The tone of your essay should match the type of essay you are writing. For example, if you are writing a persuasive piece, it’s essential to use strong language and ensure that your tone is confident.
On the other hand, if you are writing an informative piece about a historical event or place, it’s essential to keep things objective while remaining attractive.
When deciding how formal or casual your writing style is, ask yourself: “What do I want my readers to feel as they read this?” For example: “Should they feel happy? Sad? Angry? Frustrated? Curious? Suspicious?”
How people react emotionally when reading something can determine its success or failure as much as whether or not it gets published!
It’s important to format your essay correctly. You may have written the most eloquent, well-thought-out piece in the world, but if it’s not formatted correctly, you risk looking unprofessional and unprepared. Formatting can be tricky if you’re unfamiliar with it; make sure to use the correct format for your essay type and style of writing.
The standard format for a five-paragraph essay is as follows:
- Title page – This page includes only the title and page number (no author name).
- Content pages – these are numbered pages that contain any additional pages required by your teacher or professor (for example, headings).
- Reference page – includes bibliography or list of resources used (website addresses) OR reference section at the end of the main text.
Essays don’t have to be so hard.
So what should you do? Well, there are a few things you can do to make this whole process easier for yourself. First of all, make sure that you have a structure in place to help guide your writing:
- Use an outline to provide structure and direction for your essay.
- A basic template can be helpful if trying to organize ideas or arguments.
Writing an essay is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be the nightmare it often seems to be.
If you follow these tips and keep them in mind while writing, you can ensure your essay turns out great every time.
However, if you don’t want to indulge in essay writing, you can hire a college essay writing service and ask them to do your job.