Essays are the most common form of academic assignments at both, school and university levels. They find application across almost all disciplines, in subjects like nursing, management, law, humanities, etc. Essentially, an essay is an academic piece of writing that might contain the writer’s viewpoints or simply be an explanation of concepts. The aim behind assigning essays to students is to test their comprehension of the assigned topic.
Understanding the Question
The first step before starting to write your essay is to understand the question. Every essay question can be broken down into three major parts.
- Directive words:These are the words that describe the approach that needs to be followed. The motive of the essay is clarified using certain directive words, for example, compare and contrast, critical evaluation, reflection, discussion, etc.
- Content words: These words define the subject matter that needs to be discussed in the essay. These can have a very narrow focus or could be quite broad in some cases.
- Limiting words: These words limit the scope of the essay to a particular time, demographic or place.
Here is an example to help you clearly understand the above.
Structuring Your Essay
Once you have understood what needs to be written, its time to write it up. Preparing an outline
of your essay before writing is recommended as it helps in effectively planning your essay.
An essay contains three major parts: introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction and conclusion make up for 10% each of the prescribed word limit. The rest 80% goes into the body of the essay. In-text citations are counted in the word limit, but the references are excluded.
- Introduction: Touches upon the topic to be discussed and outlines the main arguments of the essay.
- Body: Discusses in detail, the arguments proposed in the introduction. The general protocol is to write one paragraph for each argument/issue.
- Conclusion: The main takeaways of the essay are summarised in the conclusion. It should be kept in mind that no new ideas should be introduced in this section.
Follow A Checklist
Once you have written your essay, refer to a checklist to ensure that you haven’t missed anything. Revisit the essay to check for any errors that might have crept in and proofread for grammatical and typographical errors.Don't forget to reference your essay as per the specified format. A sample essay checklist is shown below.
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