How to write an academic essay?

By | August 10, 2017

How to write an academic essay

Are you afraid of the things that are unknown to you? Many students give up their education because they can’t make themselves start writing good academic essays. It may sound weird but the fear of failing leads to postponing the writing task and completing it in a few hours before the deadline. We’re happy you’re on this page, so you will never face such a case. We want to give you the tips that will help you find out what an academic essay is and how to turn the dull and boring task into a compelling adventure. Let’s get started.

Read the assignment

What’s hidden behind each word of the assignment? Don’t you feel frustrated about any of the points? If you feel comfortable with the topic of your academic essay, you should read it again. 90% of low grades are the result of the wrong misconception of the assignment. Students look through the words, they meet familiar words and they think it’s easy. We advise you to spend 30 minutes on revising the topic. Take a dictionary or use Google to find the meaning of every phrase that you see in the topic even if it sounds too banal. We promise you will find completely new angles at the problem or case you’ve been looking considering as something dull.

For example, you have to write an academic essay about a marvelous memory of your childhood. Use the online dictionaries such as McMillian or Collins to see the definition of the word and its synonyms. Read the topic, navigate through the dictionaries, write down all the synonyms, think of an event, use these words to describe it. See what a memory is, use this definition in your introduction, so you even won’t have to think of academic style words on your own. The analysis of the topic and the assignment can provide you with up basic understanding of what you have to write about even if you see these words for the first time.

Map the essay

The goal of an academic essay is to convince the readers you have strong arguments and you know how to prove them with reliable evidence. Don’t start writing anything just to make an illusion of hard work. It doesn’t work unless it’s your ninety-ninth essay in a row. Take a big piece of paper and a pencil. Draw a circle inside of it and write down the topic of an academic essay. Draw five lines from those circles so it will look like the sun. Write one word near every sunbeam: What, How, Why, When and Where. Underline or highlight them with a marker. These words will become a roadmap for you, so let’s add a few more things to it.

These words are the beginnings of a question that you will have to answer in the essay. Write them down and don’t be lazy with doing it. You will use it for all the rest of the essays in the future. What can prove and support your thesis? How does a thesis relate to the topic of the essay and the arguments you provide in the text? Why are your arguments important for the readers? When will you inform the reader about the conclusions? Where are you planning to implement the conclusions of your research? Don’t worry if you don’t get their meaning now, scroll down to see more.

Do the research

Take a map of the essay to the library to save your time from looking through dozens of unnecessary journals, books and dictionaries. Use only those pieces of information that can help you answer these five sentences. Find arguments for the What section. Depending on the size of the essay, you will need from five to ten of arguable claims. Make sure they’re of high value for the readers to answer the Why question. Look for the places or situations from real life where you can use the claims you have discovered. And get the right views or opinions that you can place into the conclusion.

It may seem weird but only before you start scanning the texts. Your mind will automatically get rid of unnecessary sections and facts. To save you from handwriting, we advise you to use your phone to take pictures of the pages where you will take quotes from. You can rewrite the quotes or use a special app for the text recognition. After you have viewed some resources, you need to find answers to the questions that can vary for different types of the essays. They will become the basement for your future essay. It only looks complicated at first sight, it will probably take about five to ten minutes to write down the answers.

Develop a thesis

Most of the students don’t really know what a thesis is or they simply put it not into the right place. If you combine all the arguments that you have found during doing the research together plus add your personal approach to them, you will have a thesis. It’s the main claim that you will prove with the evidence in the main part of the essay. You should put the thesis at the end of the introduction. If the text consists of five paragraphs, put it into one sentence at the end of the first paragraph.

A good thesis is controversial and can be argued by the reader. Writing an obvious fact that “smoking is a bad habit” is not a good idea. But if you write “parents teach their kids to smoke” will make the readers argue about it and look for the arguments that will support your claim. Be careful with the emotional coloring of the claim. Don’t use descriptive adjectives like “bad, sad, negative”, let the readers make their own conclusions about it. The more challenging the claim is the stronger the arguments and the evidence should be.

Start the essay

You know how to develop a thesis, but it’s only a part of a good introduction for an academic essay. A good introductory should interest the readers and orient them in the field of your research. Motivate them to read your essay until the end. You should describe the problem or the case, the sources you have used for the research and the goal you wanted to reach by doing it. Use the answers to the five questions in this part of the text. Just paraphrase them and put in a logical order.

A traditional introduction starts with a hook sentence that has to grab the reader’s attention. But how can you evaluate it? We advise you to state the problem or write the answer for the What question. Put the answer to the Why question after that to convince the reader the topic you’re researching is worth their attention. Describe your research as precisely as you can with short and sharp sentences. You can use quotes from the sources to highlight the variety of views on the problem or show its significance for the society. You don’t live in a vacuum space, so there’s always someone influential who has said a few words about the topic of your essay.

Finish the essay

We won’t write anything about the body of the essay as there are no strict rules for it. Just write what you feel will matter for the reader. But the conclusion is a more tough task, so we’ll help you with it. Here you should provide the readers with the sense of closure. You can use the thesis from the first paragraph and paraphrase it for the ending. You can finish the conclusion with one word that will represent the whole idea of the essay. Or you can sum up the arguments that you have provided in the main part of the text.

You can also use quotes of influential people about what they think about the research you have conducted. Don’t write too obvious phrases such as “to sum up” or the ones that are similar to it. You will just spoil the impression and make the readers hate you. Don’t apologise for anything even if you think there’s much to work with, much more things to investigate or there are other researches that are of higher value. Your work is valuable and your goal is to prove it and make the readers believe in it.

Draft the essay

Don’t expect your essay to be written from the first try. A good academic essay should be rewritten at least three times. The more you write the more great ideas about how to improve the text will come to your mind. You started writing your first draft when you answered the five questions. Use this basement and write down everything you have. Now it’s the right time when you can just write down everything that comes to your mind. When you finish, print it out and start the game.

Remember yourself being a child, take the scissors, a pencil and a highlighter. Cut the text into pieces and put them in a logical order or at least the one that will look like logical. Cross out all unnecessary clichés, plague words and other rubbish. Leave only the words that really matter even you get too short sentences in the result. If you have enough time before the deadline, we recommend you to put the task aside for the next day and write a new version of the draft once a day. You will have enough time for brainstorming new ideas and little time to forget what you wrote yesterday.

Mind grammar, punctuation and style

This is the weakest side of all non-native English speaking students. If you study English as a second language, you should definitely be sure you have someone who can assist you in writing the academic essays. If it’s your native language, you can check the text for the mistakes on your own. To put commas at their right places, read the text aloud and put commas where you make logical pauses. If you don’t make a pause but you see a comma in the text, you should delete it. Otherwise, you will confuse the reader and the text will be hard to read. Put a space after every punctuation mark and no space before it.

You have to be sure that every “this, that or those” pointers are clear for the readers. Check all the abbreviations or personal names that you use in the text. Don’t forget to use the quote marks not to be blamed in plagiarism. We advise you not to use passive voice except it has a crucial meaning in the essay. Don’t use synonyms for the terms as you can confuse the readers. Proofread the essay for five or six times and evaluate its significance for the reader. Don’t be lazy to do this because you may lack only a few phrases that you will need to add to prove that the essay is worth reading.

The finish line

There’s nothing impossible if you have the manual for every activity in the world. We have given you the tips that you won’t find on other sites as they will surely turn a dull text into a compelling academic essay with the right structure and content. Don’t be afraid to start doing something new as you will gain the skills and the knowledge that you will use in your future life during your education and at work. So read, research, write and proofread.

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