How to Succeed With Your Academic Essay?

Essay writing is one of the most important skills in any discipline. Attention to detail and good preparation are the keys to a successful academic essay.

When you receive your essay topic, make sure you read your assignment thoroughly. Professors will often include important details in the assignment that can help you focus your essay on a particular topic or angle. You may specifically be asked to cover certain topics, or use a specific approach. You may be asked to use a particular format or citation style. Read the entire assignment and highlight important elements. It can also be helpful to look over the assignment periodically while you are writing your essay to make sure you writing is on track.

Once you understand the assignment, write an outline. An outline should include a general thesis statement, a number of topic sentences that support your thesis, and conclusion. Your outline is a fluid document, and you should feel comfortable rearranging topics as your essay develops. Some writers develop a detailed outline, while others prefer a looser style. Either way, following an outline gives you a clear idea of the subjects you need to cover to complete the academic essay.

After you’ve built your outline, gather your sources. It is best to have a variety of reputable sources to show that you have done your research on all angles of your subject. These sources include your textbook, other books, magazines, and websites. Be critical of your sources, and be prepared to compare and contrast them in your essay. Direct quotations in the body of your essay add strength to your argument. Make sure to mark relevant passages in your outline so you can reference them easily once you start writing.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to write and edit your essay. Set yourself a deadline several days in advance of your actual due date. Finish a first draft, then assess areas of weakness in your essay. You’ll likely find that you need to supplement your research or hone your thinking. You may also find that you need to adjust your page count to fit within the parameters of the assignment. Use the last few days before your due date to enhance your arguments and proofread your essay. If you prepare yourself and organize your materials in advance, writing an essay can be easy.

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