Writing a good essay is a crucial skill that can benefit every student. Essays are frequently used by tutors as an assessment tool, testing the student’s ability to gain, apply, and present knowledge, so a piece of work will maximise potential marks. Good essay-writing involves preparation as topics set will usually require the student to conduct personal research and undertake analysis. Following these tips could help to improve essay writing.

Make sure you understand the topic

It is essential to assess the title or question to ensure there is a full understanding of the subject before starting to write an essay; even a well-written essay with many pertinent points will not gain optimum marks unless it directly answers the question or addresses the topic of the title. Once there is a thorough understanding of how the essay should be completed, the next stage is to formulate a plan.

Formulate an essay plan

An essay plan allows the writer to organise their thoughts and ensure all the required content is included in the assignment. The plan may start with a brainstorming session to determine what should be included in the essay. Ideas in this initial planning stage will include the theories that are relevant to the topic as well as any other personal ideas. This may be undertaken using a diagram or a simple list of ideas. Once the ideas for content have been generated, they should then be divided into categories and placed into a logical order to create an outline for the essay.

Write a thesis statement

The next stage is to develop the thesis, or argument, which will form the foundation of the essay. The thesis should consist of a statement articulating the argument that is the purpose of the essay. For example, ‘children from lower-income families are more likely to drop out of school before graduating compared to those from higher-income backgrounds’ or ‘firms with female rather than male CEOs will provide better returns for their shareholders’. Alternatively, the essay may be structured to answer a specific question, which may be used instead of a thesis.,

Write the main body

This main section of the work should be structured with reference to the thesis and draw on the relevant theories identified in the essay plan. Each paragraph should deal with a different point or theory using a uniform structure. The first sentence should introduce the issue or theory. The following sentences should add depth and discuss dissenting views. Finally, the issue should then be applied to the topic of the essay,

Write the introduction

It is advisable to write the introduction after writing the main body. The introduction should grab the attention of the reader by providing points of interest and creating a hook to encourage the audience to continue reading. Writing the introduction after the main body allows the writer to ensure sure it aligned with the essay contents. The introduction section should end with the thesis statement.

Write a good conclusion

The conclusion should review the main essay points and provide a definite and unambiguous conclusion regarding the essay question or thesis.

Critique your own work

The essay should be critiqued after it is completed. Put the article aside for a day or two and then reread it, assess the degree to which it answers the question or adequately address the thesis. The review may identify sections which are not relevant and may be omitted; alternatively, there may be theories or ideas which have not been included which need to be added. The student should also undertake a thorough proofread of the document prior to submitting the essay for marking.