By the time we reach high school, we sure are convinced that knowing to research and write about any essay becomes a part of schooling. We should know how to analyse the implications of questions, read effectively, jot down notes or points, plan the arguments, take help of evidences and use them appropriately and of course write interesting prose. These indeed are the basic skills required to write an essay.
Learning the art of good composition and written expressions takes years of practice, although students seek help from adults, an individual will have to do all the hard work, through regular practice, learning from mistakes, doing correction and learning to turn thoughts into words. Short essays or writing tasks such as sentences and paragraph exercises can make an enormous improvement to writing. For many students the reason for writing an essay is a mystery, even though they might’ve been writing them for years but if we understand why we do something and value doing it, we become more confident and positive about tackling it. There are basically two reasons for writing an essay:
- General and philosophical
- More practical
The core aim of all academic work is to get at the truth, to search for greater understanding of the world along with our lives. To do this we must exchange ideas with one another, and the best way to do this is by writing essays. Writing is a form of thinking – the most difficult, yet most effective, form. Writing is a discussion rather than a debate, where the aim is to win an argument by means of exaggerating points, making claims, even hiding parts of the case that you feel are weak.
Keep certain principles in mind while writing an essay –
- Suspend your judgement: Keep an open mind and treat seriously different points of view.
- Tolerate Uncertainty: there is no virtue in making your mind up quickly.
- Think naively: take nothing on trust, question those things that seem obvious.
- Empathies with others: experience their thoughts and feelings in order to develop a clear understanding of their view point.
- Learn to present the other side of the argument as convincingly as your own or else you can never understand it completely.
- Treat every argument, including your own, as a provisional hypothesis, which must be tested thoroughly.
- Try avoiding:
- Getting offended by criticism: its not a personal attack;
- Defensiveness: accept with humility when you are wrong;
- Being aggressive with those who criticize your arguments;
- Impatience with those who are reluctant to accept the argument;
- Intolerance with those who hold different views;
- Overconfidence: unwillingness to believe that there could be anything wrong with your argument.
We give importance to critical thinking in schools and colleges so that students can learn to identify the fallacies, evidence and poorly developed arguments that conceal more than they reveal. Most problems have many sides to them; we cannot afford to present just one side, as we might miss the vital to getting at the truth. Hence writing essay involves cooperating with others, sharing honestly what we know and believe. Nothing can be proved conclusively, beyond statements that are true by definition or logic. No facts will be always available but we can make a personal judgement after assessing all the evidence available. Critically evaluate by revealing the weakness where its found in consistency of arguments.
Assured problems such as lack of fluency between paragraphs, weak structure, insufficient evidence, irrelevance, weak structure, inconsistent arguments etc. will occur if any of the stages are omitted while writing an essay. For any essay to achieve high marks its essential to go through five distinct stages such as:
- Interpretation of the Question
Interpreting the question
- Saves us wasted time.
- Gives us a clear idea of what the question is getting at.
- Tells us what the examiner is looking for.
- Gets your own ideas involved so that the work is not predictable.
All essays follow some basic procedure such as:
- Ensure the essay question is carefully understood by picking the key words to know what to focus on in the answer.
- Gather information relevant to the essay topic from newspapers, magazines, books, Internet etc.
- Make an essay plan by jotting the order in which the information and ideas should be presented. Each point becomes a detailed, logical and easy to follow paragraph.
- Write a good essay draft following the essay layout and using simple, clear, formal, concise language.
- Give references throughout the body of the essay, consider the resources such as quotes or findings, either in brackets or footnotes.
- Recheck the draft making final spelling, punctuation and grammatical corrections.
- Make sure that the introduction and conclusion are interesting.
- Write the final copy of the essay by typing or hand written.
- Include a bibliography of all the information sources such as the title, author, publisher, published date, website address etc. used in the essay
- Finally re-read the entire essay to check for any final mistakes and ensure your name is in the front page before handing your work.
There are several types of essay questions that can be set for assignments or exams. The following is a summary of the types of words teachers might use in their essay questions, and how they expect you to answer them:
- Analyse – separate the issue into smaller parts and look in detail at each part.
- Create – use your own imagination to write a story
- Criticize – look at the issue in detail and comment on its good and bad points. The phrase “write a criticism of …” means the same as “criticize.”
- Define – explain the meaning of an issue in detail
- Discuss – look at the issue from a different point of view and examine the pros and cons of each viewpoint.
- Describe – give a detailed description of the issue or topic.
- Explain – tell how something happens with factual information, or give a reason for an issue.
- Evaluate – look at points for and against an issue to check their worth, truth or accuracy.
- Justify – show why an issue is valid and correct.
- Narrate – tell a story about a topic or issue, either factual or fictional.
- Persuade – offer your own opinion on an issue by supporting it with convincing arguments.
- Recount – give an account of an event that has happened to you or someone you know.
- Summarize – look at the main points involved in an issue.
If you can learn to have a critical eye when reading other people’s writing, you will also learn how to spot mistakes in your own essay and be able to correct them. When writing an essay, good formal writing should be used. Needless to say how academic paper samples are important for better understanding of the writing and formatting principles in the chosen field or subject you study.
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While revising the essays, our tutors focus on areas of worries in the writing, such as:
- Core Idea / Thesis
- Content Improvement
- Introduction / Conclusion
- Sentence Structure
- Transitions /Alterations
- Word Choice
- Grammar & Mechanism
- Use of appropriate Resources
Our tutors wisely read the submission and highlight the issues and address the higher concerns such as main idea/thesis, content, introduction and conclusion, compared to the low issues such as transitions, sentence construction, word choice, and grammar. The tutors comment (in bold and in brackets) within the student's essay where the feedback and assistance offered will help student revise his/her work and become a self-determining independent writer.