For some student, essay writing is very easy. But for other students, essay writing is one of the big and a challenging task. Each essay brings with it the challenge of making it that little bit better than the last one.
The problem is that when you write essays regularly, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut of repeating the same formula. So, to take your essay to the next level, we will give some tips to help you write a consistent and better essay than the last one you’ve ever made.
1. Read other people’s essays
Reading other people’s essay can help you develop and build your own writing style. Try to read essays on a wide variety of subjects, not just only those things that you’re studying. The wider you read, the more possible techniques are there for you to use in your essay.
When reading other people’s essay, be critical, don’t just take them at face value. Think of things you like and don’t like about it. Think how persuasive do you think they are and how balanced the argument is.
2. Build your vocabulary and use it properly
Having a good vocabulary is not only the key for a good speaking but also for good writing. It will allow you to express exactly what you mean, as clearly and concisely as possible. Readers and (essay makers) don’t like wasting their time with long, rambling points that could have been expressed in half the number of words.
An advanced vocabulary is a way of ensuring that you can communicate clearly and to the point, accurately and effectively. A good essay writer should never rest on their laurels when it comes to vocabulary; it’s something you should be working on continually, as there are always new words to learn that could help convey a point more effectively. What’s more, deploying a good vocabulary displays intelligence and allows you to be more persuasive in your essay-writing.
Here are some ways in which you can build your vocabulary:
- Subscribe to a ‘word a day’ email (such as this one from Merriam-Webster). Create a folder in your email account for new word emails, so that you can file each email away and have them all in one place ready to flick through and learn from in an idle moment. You can also try their smart-phone app “Meriam-Webster”, it has the same function but it’s more advanced and friendly user.
- Read widely, and refer to a dictionary for words you don’t know as you go along; this way, you’ll learn the new word as well as seeing it in context so you know how to use it properly. Read different genres of fiction, and non-fiction covering a range of topics, and you’ll have the added bonus of widening your general knowledge as well as your vocabulary.
- Use a thesaurus if you find yourself using the same words over and over again, add variety to your language by looking up those words in a thesaurus and finding other words that mean the same thing. A word of warning: words you find in a thesaurus can’t always be used interchangeably; even words with similar meanings can differ subtly in a way that makes them inappropriate in certain contexts, so find examples of a word used correctly before you use a new word for the first time.
- Learn prefixes, suffixes, and roots – it sounds boring and some people ignore it, but this shortcut can make a big difference, It will help you learn a great many more words. Many roots come from Latin and Greek words, such as “bene” in Latin, meaning “good”, which gives rise to words such as “benefactor”, “benevolent” and “benefit”. It’s often possible to deduce the meaning of a new word if you know its root and read it in context. Prefixes are added to the beginning of a word to change the meaning, such as “semi” or “ante”, while suffixes are added to the end, such as “-able” or “-ance”.
- Start a vocabulary book – Writing down the definition will help you remember it, and you could include an example of how the word is used to increase your chances of memorizing it for use in essays. It may help to have different sections for words on particular themes; you could have a general section, and then further parts of the notebook could be dedicated to words of use in history essays, science essays and so on.
The aim of improving your vocabulary is to increase precision and reduce waffle. Put the new words you’ve learned to good use right away, perhaps setting yourself the challenge of including a minimum number of new ones in each essay you write. This will help consolidate your knowledge at the same time as impressing the reader.
3. Words to help develop an argument
Create a sense of structure, focus on using language effectively to help build an argument. Avoid using same words every time; some people overuse the word “also”, for example. Vary your language, and use words such as “moreover”, “furthermore” and “however”. Such words help develop your argument and the readers feel they are being guided through the problems on your conclusion.
4. Elevator pitch
Use an Elevator Pitch technique in your essay when condensing the arguments into the shortest possible summary. Salesperson uses this technique to promote products and why a customer should buy their product.
The salesperson is told to imagine themselves in a lift; in the time it takes for that lift to reach the desired floor, they should have given a compelling argument in favor of that product that would result in the customer buying it, or at least wanting to know more.
Your Elevator Pitch for your essay should sell the idea of it to a reader, leaving them wanting to read the essay in question. This is quite a tough exercise, as it forces you to be ruthlessly concise in your thinking and choice of words, but you can use this summary to help you write your introduction and it’ll help you achieve clarity in what you’re trying to say.
5. Tell the reader what other people say
It’s not bad to tell the reader what other people say unless you don’t give credit. For each of the subjects you’re studying, start a page in a notebook for important people in that field, with a summary of when they lived and what their views are. That way, you’ll have something to refer to when you’re writing an essay and want to consult appropriate scholars or other writers whose opinions you might wish to include.
Don’t quote too much. Mix citations with your own opinions so that it doesn’t look as though you have to hide behind other people’s words. It’s fine to disagree with a scholar you quote, provided you can give evidence and reasoning for doing so. This shows that you have thought about it and made your own mind up, rather than blindly accepting what that scholar has said; this demonstrates strong critical reasoning skills, one of the hallmarks of brilliant students.