Writing an Essay This presentation will give you some advice about the process of planning and writing an essay Includes Audio
Write a ‘To Do’ List Make a list of the things you need to do before starting the writing To Do List Choose essay title Check reading list and identify relevant texts Go to Library as soon as possible to collect books Do an internet search
Analyse the essay titles Look at the essay titles very closely. Decide what the subject matter is and identify the instruction word or words in the title Describe and explain the major changes in the geography of the world economy since 1945. For example: Instructions Broad topic area Specific focus
Write down what you know Once you have chosen your essay title, and before you start reading, get blank paper, coloured pens and ask yourself: What do I already know about this subject? What questions do I need to answer? Jot down some thoughts on your piece of paper
Selecting material to read Use your reading list to find some relevant sources. Take these sources one at a time, and glance through them. Skim the headings, and read just the introduction and the conclusion. Does the piece still look relevant to your essay question? To avoid plagiarising you should read actively, talk out loud and only note things down that you have understood. Don’t copy from the book.
Plan your answer
It is very important to spend some time planning your answer. It will help you to adopt a good structure for your essay.
Brainstorm all your ideas onto a piece of paper in a mind map or bullet point form
Planning Then try to group your ideas so you can see 2 or 3 main sections and the different paragraphs that will make up the section
Writing an introduction Good introductions follow the same formula
Explain your essay structure
Use the words in the title to tell your reader what the essay will discuss
Make a general point about the subject of the essay. Keep this short
Sample ‘Introduction’ Describe and explain the major changes in the geography of the world economy since 1945.
There can be no doubt that the geography of the world economy has changed almost beyond recognition since 1945. This essay will describe and explain these major changes in the context of the changing geography of the global economy. The essay will be split into three parts. The first section will briefly consider the position of the world economy before 1945. The second section will describe the changes that have taken place since 1945. The final section will explain the changing geography in more detail.
Writing paragraphs 1) Use your essay plan to help you choose your paragraphs 2) Make one point per paragraph. You should aim for 2 or 3 paragraphs per page 3) The first sentence in a paragraph should introduce the main point of the paragraph. 4) The main section of the paragraph should introduce evidence to back up your point 5) The last sentence of the paragraph should either explain how your point answers the question, or make a link to the next paragraph.
Writing a Conclusion A good conclusion should… Summarise your main arguments. Try to take an overview at this stage and think about themes or big ideas. Don’t make points that you have already made elsewhere. Explain how your arguments have answered the question. Use the words in the essay title to do this.
Features of a good essay A good essay will offer signposts to the reader so that he/she can follow your argument. Words like ‘However’, ‘Furthermore’ and ‘Yet’ are signposting words. They indicate that you are about to present some additional evidence or an alternative point of view.
Features of a good essay Present your own thoughts and views in an essay. The marker wants to see that you have understood the main points, and this can only be achieved if you summarise and make links between points. Use phrases like ‘It could be suggested that…’ so that you can avoid saying ‘I believe…’ or ‘I think…’
Before submitting the work… … always proof read Take a break from the work. Proof reading is more effective if you leave the work overnight If the grammar check is indicating a problem, then play about with sentence structure Read your work aloud, paying attention to where you have marked pauses through punctuation Use TextHelp If there is a red line underneath a word, then it may be spelt incorrectly even if it looks right to you.
Before submitting the work… Read your course handbook to make sure you have presented the essay in the way that your department expect. Check your references. Have you referenced everything correctly, and have you included all your sources in your bibliography? Check the names of authors to make sure you have spelt them consistently.
When the work has been marked It is tempting just to look at the mark and then to forget about the essay. If you do this, then your essay writing is unlikely to improve. Look carefully at the tutor’s comments and think about what you could have done differently. Try to apply these lessons to the next essay that you write.
For further information
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Any Feedback? This presentation is part of a series of study skills presentations for dyslexic students that have been produced by the AccessAbility Centre. Other presentations can be found at www.le.ac.uk/accessability/ The AccessAbility Centre is very interested in your feedback on this presentation. Please click on this box to complete the online feedback form The presentations have been developed with the aid of the University’s Student Experience Enhancement Committee