To get the best grade on your essay, it must be full of important details that you’ve presented in an organized, logical manner. Opinion pieces and poetry might be written more organically, but winning essays have structure, specifics, and style, all of which takes careful planning. Here are the basic steps to take when you’re writing essays.
Step 1: The devil is in the details
Don’t speed-read through the assignment criteria. Read each requirement carefully and make sure you can check off each one before considering your essay complete. Word counts can help determine the number of paragraphs to help you begin structuring your essay; a comprehensive paragraph should contain roughly 150 to 200 words. Once you know how many paragraphs you need to create, including your introduction and conclusion, you can begin planning your approach.
Step 2: Initial hypothesis
Sometimes in the course of the research, your initial ideas on a subject may change. Still, begin with your theory in the introductory paragraph and then use each successive paragraph to let the facts unfold in support of your premise. Improve the accuracy of your essay by considering the “Five W’s” as you’re formulating your theory. Does your idea only apply to a certain demographic, geographic location, or timeframe? Consider these details carefully to ensure you deliver a compelling, airtight argument.
Step 3: Paragraph mapping
People still use index cards to organize ideas, but you can find online tools to help you map your ideas. Once you’ve identified the major subtopics or components of your argument, begin filling in details beneath each subheading. Include any finer points under subheadings that come to mind with the initial goal of exceeding the word count on your first draft. By including more information than necessary, achieving the word count with an informative essay will become practically effortless; it’s easy to remove items later.
Step 4: Formal research and statistics
To lend validity to your claims, look for government research or statistical data on your subject. This can even be done for literature essays and can provide new insights to help build your case. Medical studies and statistics can be found on websites like the National Institute for Health and the Center for Disease Control. Population and housing statistics can be found through places like the US Census Bureau and comprehensive labor statistics are available from the US Bureau of Labor.
Government sites are generally considered credible, but the Pew Research Center, Brookings Institution, and the Cato Institute are just a few well-known think tanks often cited by journalists and researchers. Global organizations such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund can also provide greater context to the concepts you present.
If using recent news articles citing studies and statistics, read the underlying source yourself because the writer’s own opinion can sway their interpretation and presentation of the facts. Historical perspectives or anecdotes by individual authors can also provide a persuasive background that meshes with your research and gives your essay a human touch.
Step 5: Don’t fear the draft
First drafts are meant to be followed by additional drafts, so take the pressure off and don’t aim for perfection on the first try. Let your thoughts flow onto the paper using your mind-map, and don’t worry about exceeding the word count at first. Once the first draft is complete, edit to condense and clarify verbiage. You’ll likely find typos and errors as you go back through on the second pass, and you can also seek synonyms for repetitive words. Finally, root out any grammatical or punctuation errors on your final edit, and then get ready to turn in your essay with pride.
Step 6: Ask for help when you need it
Writing well takes a lot of practice. When you’re new to it, you might feel frustrated or overwhelmed with your pace or your results. If you have deadlines looming, you may need to ask for professional assistance. When you need help to write an essay, be sure to contact a reliable company.