How To Write A Better Essay: Guide On How To Improve Your Essay Writing Skills

Do you feel that your essays need polishing? Essay writing becomes more complex and complicated as you progress through school. While writing comes naturally to some students, it elicits extreme anxiety and pressure from most people.

Academic writing has strict guidelines that make it even more intimidating. The good news is that anyone can learn how to write a better essay by simply understanding the basic aspects. Here are a few tips that you can apply to any type of essay to produce an impressive paper.

Practical Ways to Improve Your Essay Writing

Understand the question

Without fully understanding what the question requires of you, it is impossible to write a sensible paper.  What is the purpose of the essay? Are you persuading your audience towards your cause? Are instructing on how to do something? or is it just an overview?

The purpose of the essay comes down to the type of essay. Is the question asking you to evaluate, compare and contrast or even explain a concept? All these terms are important in determining the cause of action to take. For instance, if told to evaluate an idea you should have a deeper understanding, criticize theories, and present weaknesses and strengths.

In short, comprehending the essay question shows you where to focus and the direction to take when writing.

Brainstorm on your topic

Although sometimes teachers provide topics of essays, you may also be given the option to select your own topic. A good topic should be catchy and relevant to the question of the article. Brainstorm different ideas on the topic. You could make lists, draw diagrams and weigh your options.

Narrow down the potential topics by eliminating the ones that are too narrow, wide, irrelevant, not interested in, or just difficult.

Develop a thesis statement

A thesis statement is what drives your entire paper. It presents a topic and why your readers should be interested. When writing a thesis statement, be clear, concise, and precise. Also, ensure to state your stance and evidence for it.

Again, writing a thesis comes down to knowing the type and purpose of an essay. As you progress with writing the text, you are prone to stray from your argument. Therefore, it is wise to refer to your thesis time and again to stay on track.

Research thoroughly to improve your essay writing

Research is just as important as actual writing when it comes to taking your writing game to the next level. Most times, students find themselves staring at blank papers or screens not knowing what to write due to lack of information.

Academic essays are built on concrete evidence and sound reasoning. Any claim you make should have factual support. Therefore, always read widely to gather the information that is both in support and against your argument. It helps in writing logical and persuasive material.

When researching, have a reading list of both physical books and credible internet-based sources like journals. In addition, take notes from both sides of an argument, track your sources and gather evidence thoroughly and critically.

Organize your thoughts with an outline

Writing a great essay requires adequate planning and preparation. An outline is the best way to organize your ideas, factual support, and warrant. Think about your topic and the main points you want to express. how do you want them to flow? A common structure is a 5-paragraphed essay. It consists of an introduction paragraph, 3- body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph.

Write down the title of your essays and include the main points that you want to discuss. Under each main point, note down information and facts like statistics from credible sources to back your ideas. Is there any claim or concept that you want to refute? Jot it down.

A good introduction should be captivating to attract the attention of readers. An opening statement and thesis statement are also included in the introduction part respectively.

When it comes to the body paragraphs, be sure to explain your points thoroughly. Be critical in your reasoning to have a well-balanced paper. Challenge your points and theories from cited sources using facts. What are their limits and strengths? Are there any better alternatives? Critical thinking shows that you understand what you are talking about and the reader should take you seriously.

Each body paragraph should have an opening statement to present your sub-argument in support of the thesis. In the next sentence, support your point using facts, examples, and evidence from valid sources. The last sentence should conclude the point discussed above and its relevance to the argument.

In the conclusion paragraph, just restate your thesis and summarize all the information that you have explained in the body paragraphs. Your concluding sentence should show the end of your essay.

Edit and proofread your essay

With the writing part done, it’s time to review the text. Even a well-structured paper with lots of grammar and spelling mistakes can fail miserably. You can use tools like Grammarly to scan your article for errors. During the process of reviewing and editing, keep the following things in mind:

  • Is the focus, structure, and flow of your essay on point?
  • Be formal, objective, and concise in your writing.
  • Use an active voice
  • Avoid fluff, grammar, and punctuation mistakes
  • Know your vocabulary and eliminate clichés and idioms
  • Do you find your tone engaging?
  • Cite authoritative sources to establish credibility
  • Always quote and paraphrase to avoid plagiarism. There are various free online plagiarism checker tools you can use.
  • Use good transition words to connect your ideas but avoid unnecessary repetition.

After editing, read out the essay aloud to hear if it sounds right. You can also ask your teacher or professor to proofread it again.

Final Remarks

Writing an effective academic essay is dreaded by students of all school levels.  However, with thorough preparation and the adoption of good writing habits, anyone can improve their skills. Just follow the step-by-step guide and tips discussed and you will soon master writing persuasive essays effortlessly. Furthermore, you will learn through continuous reading, writing, and getting feedback from your instructors.

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