The essay is one of the most important tasks that you’ll face as a college student, but it can also be one of the most intimidating. The best way to overcome your anxiety and ensure that you do well on your essay assignments is to put in the time to plan and prepare before you write them. By doing this, you’ll save yourself lots of time and unnecessary stress when it comes time to actually produce the essay itself, which will make it easier to get a great grade on your work!
1) Take notes
While it’s not always required, professors will often recommend that you take good notes during class. They’ll also probably give you assignments to complete outside of class, like write an essay or review a film. Having notes to work off of can be invaluable when trying to complete these assignments, especially if you’re pressed for time. Make sure your notes are neat and well-organized—it’s also helpful to highlight key points and jot down questions that come up while you’re listening in class. This way, if there’s something confusing, you can double-check yourself with your notes before going on and potentially making more mistakes along the way.
2) Use clear structure and formatting
It’s true that essay writing has no set structure, but you can still use some organizational techniques to help your reader follow along. Be sure to use topic sentences to state your argument and support it with concrete examples; make an outline of your points and then stick to it; and include logical transitions between ideas. Don’t worry about fitting in every single idea you want to share—focus on clarity instead. The more logical flow you create, the easier it will be for someone else to read what you’ve written. As long as each point is clear on its own, readers shouldn’t have trouble following along.
3) Acknowledge direct quotations
If you are using another person’s exact words, it is best to acknowledge them with quotes. Quotes provide credibility and lend legitimacy to your work; be sure you include them whenever possible. If direct quotations are more than three lines long, indent them from both margins of the paper; do not indent smaller quotations.
4) Proofread everything you write
Getting your ideas down on paper is important, but that doesn’t mean you should skip proofreading. Mistakes have a way of sneaking into our writing even when we think we’ve taken every possible precaution, so it’s always smart to take another look before you hit publish. Writers often overlook spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in their writing (especially if they’ve been working on something for a while) and end up missing things until someone else points them out (or Google highlights them). Don’t be afraid to get someone else’s opinion on your essay draft or research paper – they’ll almost always find something that you missed! Proofreading can also help you polish up your writing style and make sure it flows correctly.
5) Revise your work multiple times before submission
It’s important to have some structure when writing an essay, but it’s also important to give yourself room to breathe. The biggest mistake college students make is rushing through their writing in order to get it done—but that doesn’t allow for mistakes and revision. Give yourself time to look over your work and make sure you’ve addressed all of your points before turning it in. Editing your work multiple times will also help with length, which is something college professors are often looking out for. Remember: length doesn’t equal quality, so be sure you’re not falling prey to trying to fit in more information than necessary just because you can!
6) Read carefully what others write, notice mistakes
The ability to quickly and clearly articulate ideas is an essential part of essay writing for an essay writer. Reading carefully what others write and noticing mistakes in their work can help you spot areas where you might need to improve your own writing. If you’re looking to become a better writer, read! And not just specific types of texts—read any text. The more different kinds of genres or styles you encounter, the more practiced you’ll be when it comes time to sit down and write something yourself.