5 Steps To Writing A Great Essay

5 Steps To Writing A Great Essay

Regardless of the degree that you are completing, the ability to clearly articulate your point is crucial for success in your studies. A fantastic piece of writing shows that you are able to effectively convey your ideas, can communicate well and understand the subject matter.  Writing a great essay comes down to a few main components – all as important as each other. The following five steps should be areas of focus when writing every essay. They will be useful for both writing in your tertiary studies, as well as written tasks in the workplace.

1. Do your research

An essay will not be strong without sound research to back up your argument. Research is a critical part of every written piece of work; without it, you would have nothing to discuss. Not only does research give you ideas, it also allows you to elaborate on certain components of an essay. Knowledge gained from research activities strengthens your argument, and is also a very important part of the learning process throughout your degree. Unfortunately, taking shortcuts during this process will only limit both your success and knowledge growth along your journey.

2. Plan your work

Although it can be tedious, taking the time to plan out the sequence of your argument is key to writing a great essay. Creating subheadings which serve as a theme for each paragraph helps to separate the key points within the essay. It also allows research to be distributed among the sub-headings, resulting in your arguments being backed up by a range of sources. If you take the time to plan in the beginning, you will find that the actual writing of the essay will be very simple. Planning limits any unforeseen issues, and allows you to recognise which areas need strengthening from the get-go.

3. Know your point

There is nothing worse than an essay which is difficult to read and lacking in purpose. After you have conducted your research, your point should be very clear to you. If it is not, I suggest you conduct further research. When you construct each paragraph, keep this point and overall goal in mind. At the end of each paragraph, re-read it and ensure it remains on track with your argument. Being conscious of this issue from the beginning will result in a well-rounded and on-point piece of work.

4. Be clear and succinct

Writing a great essay ultimately comes down to your ability to present the information in a clear and concise manner. Of course there are word counts to abide to, but just because you’re expected to write 3000 words, it does not mean that you should draw-out your research. If you are struggling to make the word count, you should conduct further research rather than trying to stretch out your already written content Succinct writing allows the essay to be read with ease, and makes for an intelligent piece of prose.

5. Proofread, proofread, proofread!

Last but certainly not least, I cannot stress the importance of proofreading. If you are writing your essay in bulk, one useful tip is to proofread with a fresh mind at a later date. Allowing your mind to take a break from the essay allows it to re-fresh, and therefore become a better editor when you are proofreading. As an adult student, simple spelling and grammar errors in your work cannot be overlooked. It is therefore critical that you do not submit any errors and put yourself in the best position to get as many marks as possible.

What do you think?

Can you suggest any further steps to writing a great essay? I am interested to learn what has worked for other students in the past, and any advice they can pass on to current students.

This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. 

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