My interaction with students has often made me realise that students dread essays. In fact most students find it a cumbersome task to find content for essays for which a topic has already been given. Considering this, it is hard to imagine writing an essay for which the topic is left to individual discretion. The sad part of the story however is that most courses mandate essays for satisfying course requirements and a great essay can land you a scholarship, get you to win a contest and even win you cash prizes. But the fact remains that more often it lands you in trouble.
The first step to writing a successful essay is finding the right topic. This is of course assuming that you have been given the freedom to choose it yourself.Quite unlike the case where a topic has been assigned when you have a free reign you can often think in depth on what excites you in the subject under question.You should also keep in mind the purpose of writing the essay as to whether is intended to be educative or entartaining. In addition to this a bit of research to understand your choices better and you will have a few topics at hand.
The next step is to choose from alternate topics. This is slightly tricky since you may be at a loss to decide what you want to actually write about. In case your objective is to make the essay information rich then it is ideal to take up a subject you have prior knowledge in. In case you wish to persuade a certain action then your topic must be directed towards that action. In case you are a novice in essay writing it is bets to stick to simple topics where lot of information is available at hand.
The next step is to create an essay prompt or understand the one already given to you. A lot of times even articulate students fail to get good grades for essays because the content fails to answer the central question. When we speak of understanding the prompt it also means that you should have a clear idea of what information is necessary to answer the question and also where that information can be found. At this juncture it might also be critical to understand how to correlate the prompt to what has been taught in the syllabus.
The next step is to build the thesis statement . The thesis statement is probably the one thing that encompasses the soul of your essay. Thus it should be short but should include the key ideas that you plan to highlight through the essay. This means that each sub heading of your essay invariably should link to the thesis statement. This not just helps to highlight the central idea but once you ensure this link it will also ensure that you do not stray away from the topic or beat around the bush.
Once the thesis statement is made , you can start work on deciding the outline and structure of the essay. Planning the essay before actually writing it makes the process of writing much simpler since you already know what the flow needs to be like.In case you get stuck here , it is advisable to do a fair amount of research and look at some essays on similar topics and select a few which can serve as benchmarks. When you decide on the flow you can also look at what you need to include and exclude in terms of information.
Before starting on the introduction work on the body of your essay. The reason why this strategy works better is because an introduction should be the window to what the essay is all about and it is critical that it includes details of all critical aspects that you are talking about in the paper. The idea is to put your thoughts down first, regroup ideas get the flow right and reach conclusions before you pen down the words that lead the reader to those thoughts. If you start with the introduction first there is always a risk of excluding critical points of your essay there.
Start with the right opening sentence. Just as the introduction serves as the window to the essay , the opening statement of each paragraph serves as a synopisis to what that paragraph contains. When the reader goes through that sentence he or she should have an idea of what to expect in the paragraph that follows. In case you plan to use sub- headings the same rule applies there as well. Conversely the content of each paragraph should relate to the opening setence and should be completely corraborative of what is stated there.
One thing that should be kept in mind during the creation of an essay is the credibility of the sources of data that is used. Any information that is used to support an arguement or statement has to be derived from a credible source which could be refereed journal, a publication or a text book. In case you are using quotes that should be clearly indicated. Unacceptable sources include encyclopedia, open source publications and online sources that have not publushed verified information.
Close your essay well.The conclusion should directly connect to your thesis statement and the research prompt. Your arguements should culminate here and should lead to your explanation of what your inferences are with respect to the topic given. It is important that you stay focused throughout the essay and do not just ramble. Once the essay is complete , proof read it multiple times to ensure that errors and spelling mistakes are corrected.
Essays are known to evoke stress and anxiety and what makes them so painful is just the wrong notion that writing them is a difficult task. The steps above if followed clearly can ensure you a good grading for your essay. Maybe this article can change the way you percieve the essay writing task after all.