If you have been through the American education system, you are familiar with writing essays because they start as early as 3rd and 4th grade. By middle and high school, the complexity of writing an essay increases significantly, but still nothing compared to college-level essays.
It’s even more complicated for international students unfamiliar with the basic structure and formats required for essay writing. But worry not, as this guide offers tips for writing the perfect essay quickly by following simple steps.
1. Plan Your Time
SAT essays are usually 30 minutes long but don’t require much research, so half an hour should be enough. However, the essays you write throughout your school years may not be as easy not to have as short a time limit.
While you may be looking to complete your essay fast, you still want to ensure you spend sufficient time to create a perfect one. So, start with creating time for your essay, depending on its complexity. Many students wait to write an essay only to rush to complete it with the pressure of a deadline on their shoulders.
Avoid such a scenario by planning your time right because you will likely make mistakes that may affect your overall score if you are under pressure. If you are juggling between working and schooling, strike a balance between the two so your work schedule will not interfere with the school schedule and, ultimately, your grades.
2. Read the Essay Question Carefully
Typically essays are a response to questions and all statements. So understanding the question is of utmost importance because it will determine your response. If you do not get the question from the start, you will head in the wrong direction, ultimately hurting your grades.
If you are limited by time, for example, when sitting an SAT, your first step will be reading the question and brainstorming. Then write the answers that come to mind and pick the best from the list.
If it’s a more complicated essay for which you can’t get answers by brainstorming alone, research the question to understand it first.
3. Create an Outline
Essays have three parts; introduction, body, and conclusion. There is only one introduction and conclusion section in an essay. But the body can have many paragraphs depending on the length of the essay.
Start by outlining the sections you intend to include in your essay while mentioning the main point for every section in your outline. Also, ensure that the points are relevant to answering the essay question.
4. Conduct Research
Research can come before or after creating an outline. If you understand the essay question from the start, it is possible to create an outline before conducting research. If not, conducting research can help you create the perfect outline for your essay.
Research is very helpful in expanding the key points on your draft because you want arguments to be detailed and evidence-backed. Evidence can be facts such as figures quoted or illustrations in statistics from reliable sources. When using information from other sources, you will need to internalize it and write in your own words to avoid plagiarism, which can earn you penalties.
The most reliable source for academic essays is scholarly journals, but other sources like government websites, news articles, and reputable organization websites are reliable. You have to be careful when using .com sources, as some of the information you will find may not be factual.
5. Ensure It Is Well Organized
One of the main reasons students are required to write an essay is to prove their writing skills and ability to express opinions and arguments in an organized and coherent manner.
The three sections of an essay introduction, body, and conclusion, require different approaches. For example, the introduction paragraph should start with a general statement around the question of the essay and create the context for your argument. It should also have a compelling thesis statement, the part of an essay expressing its main argument.
The essay’s body will comprise paragraphs, each delving into a single idea to support your argument. Your ideas will dictate the paragraphs your body will have, but of course, there are limitations based on the required length of the essay.
The conclusion paragraph is more of a summary of the main ideas in the essay. You can not introduce new ideas in the conclusion section. While it’s a summary of the entire article, you must ensure you do not sound repetitive.
Some things to consider including in your conclusion are the significance of your findings, factors that you feel need to be looked at, and how your argument fits Into the wider context of your discipline.
6. Cite Your Sources
Most academic essays require that the student cite the sources of their evidence and facts for reference purposes. Different faculties require students to use a specific format in the citation, which is dictated by the style of the essay. Common essay styles include APA MLA, Oxford, etc.
Whatever style you use, you must follow specific guidelines to the letter. Any mistakes or mixups could cost you some points.
Remembering all citation styles is a challenge for most people. Luckily, you can use resources such as an online citation tool, which helps make citations pretty straightforward.
You only need to select your preferred citation style and enter your source information, such as URL, date of publishing, author, and DOI number, and the tool does the formatting for you.
Many students dread the thought of writing an essay. But most of this fear is caused by a lack of general information about essay writing. With the essay writing tips highlighted in this guide, you will find essay writing relatively straightforward and do not have to spend countless hours on it.