While studying at university, you would be often given essays. The professors use such assignments to understand whether the student has absorbed the information they have taught. It is also a good critical skills training. But many students find essays difficult. University essays are very different from the high school, ones and there is a specific way to go about them. Let TruOwl discusses the basic steps.
Choosing The Topic
You would usually have several topics to choose from. Let your choice be based on two things: your personal interest in the subject and the availability of information. It would be much easier to complete the task if it actually of interest to you. And one cannot write anything if the sources are not available.
Planning the essay is very much like a war campaign. First, campaigns need time. Second, they need troops. As for the time, you usually have it: the professor always sets a deadline. But if you do not plan everything in advance, you would end up writing your essay the night before the day X. So, after you have chosen your topic, take your calendar and decide:
- when you want to finish the essay (preferably several days BEFORE the actual deadline);
- how many stages would you need for your work;
- how many days would you need for each stage;
- how many days would you give yourself in case of some emergency (personal or academic)?
This way your work would be broken down into small, doable tasks and you would be much less nervous.
Now for the troops – i.e., parts of the essay itself:
- Introduction – here you are to describe the subjects and the main ideas briefly. It should be short, concise and to the point.
- Body – the main part of your paper. It can be divided into several subtopics related to the main subject.
- Conclusion. Here you sum up the main ideas and arguments of your essay. The conclusion has to be long enough to sum up everything and short enough to be about 10% of the whole word count.
Research Is The Key
Now as you have determined your topic and subtopics – research! Remember to jot down important things that jump out to you while you read. Write down your own ideas on the subject as well. It would help with writing your first draft.
Writing The Draft
The first draft does not have to be perfect. But you should remember to write in short, logical paragraphs. Note down the sources you use for easier referencing later.
Copyediting And Proofreading
Now it is time to check for:
- Grammar and spelling mistakes;
- Incorrect punctuation;
- Sentence length;
- Overuse of words;
- Overuse of jargon;
- Unnecessary words;
- Passive voice (active is preferable);
- Unclear passages.
Referencing And Formatting
Research the rules of referencing style required. There has to be a bibliography list, each source you have used included. Re-check if you cited and referenced everything.
Adhere to the formatting guidelines you were given carefully. You can lose points if you do not pay attention to this matter.
After you have properly formatted and referenced your paper – check once again. Do it a little later, though, with a fresh mind. Then, if everything is in order – it is ready to be handed to the professor!