Techniques to improve your essay writing

Secondary Schools

Essay writing is an important part of virtually any course. Whether you are studying the sciences or the humanities, you will most likely have to write a number of essays before you receive your final grade. Revision can certainly help you do well in your exams, but the mere acquisition of knowledge and understanding of concepts will not be enough to compose a good essay. You will have to display a skill in organising and presenting your points if you want to achieve the highest marks.

Perhaps the most important feature of a good essay is that it is well structured. You shouldn`t just sit down and begin writing in an improvisatory style. An essay is not a soliloquy, a rambling newsfeed of your thoughts. It needs to be a well planed piece of writing, that clearly puts your point of view to the reader in a thoughtful and considered way.

The first step will be to appraise the question at hand: what topic is the essay addressing? You will have to carry out a considerable amount research, and should seek out any requisite text books that can assist you. The internet is of course a wonderful resource, but it should not be the sole source of your information. Any text book will provide a list of the contributors, and clearly indicate studies or research programmes, which should be cited in your essay if you make reference to them.

As you gather your information you should make a note of anything that appears interesting to you, in order to easily locate these details later when you are actually composing your essay. Making a record of the page number and the section that is relevant will be very useful, as will bookmarking any websites that appear to be fruitful resources. This brainstorming session is extremely important, but be careful not to divest too much time in your researches - the last thing you want is to discover that, despite acquiring a plethora of facts on your subject, you have no time left to make an essay out of them.

At this stage you should be in a position to sketch out a plan for your essay. The important thing to keep in mind is you want to present your material in a lucid and compelling manner. Essays are by their very nature discursive - you can cover a wide range of subjects - but you should not lose sight of your objective.

The subject, or `Thesis` of your essay, must be ever-present in your mind as you begin outlining the structure of your work. Your essay plan will ensure you flow from point to point in a logical manner, rather than divagating beyond the bounds of your thesis. A useful way to construct this outline will be to write a one sentence topic for each paragraph. This will make sure your essay stays on track, and covers every point. Each paragraph should deal with one major subject, and you should attempt to have each paragraph join in a logical manner to the next. To facilitate this you should take care when you construct your plan, being careful that everything is well ordered, with each topic leading naturally to the next.

With your plan constructed it is time to actually start writing your essay. You may want to begin with an opening `hook,` an interesting sentence or two which captures the readers interest, while introducing the general topic. You can then lead into your thesis statement, that being the specific topic and points of discussion of your essay.

Most essays end with a conclusion, a synopsis of your arguments, and what they imply. You should summarise your main points, and show how they support your thesis. At this point you can explicitly state the significance of your argument - for example if your theses stated that deforestation will exacerbate the impact of global warming, you can stress the dire implications of allowing deforestation to continue.

There are no specific rules as to how to construct an interesting and well written essay, but if you have a good understand of your material, and work from a well structured plan, you should finish with a piece of writing that presents your ideas in a compelling way.