Improve your essay writing skills.
In a recent survey of university and college academic staff, they identified the interrelated skills of writing and critical reasoning as the two most important skills for success in education and the ones most often lacked. Writing and developing your essay writing technique will improve not only your assessment scores but also your ability to research, analyze and evaluate critically. Bearing in mind when you think critically you do not just accept situations and comment at face value. A good essay writer tries to think about why things are the way they are and what other possibilities exist. You will feel more confident to master areas of the syllabus that need extra care but also it will help you in your future career and studies.
This month, I had the pleasure of observing one of my students go through this process of improving their essay writing skills recently to such an extent they felt confident to enter a prestigious essay competition, and my word, I think they have every chance at winning it. How can you too become a great essay writer?
Here is how:
1. Write like it’s your full-time job!
Going through the process of writing an essay my student started at the endpoint pulling apart the very best essays. How were they structured?
How did they open, the arguments they put forward. If you want to get better at something you put the time in and my student certainly did this. I think it is really useful to have in mind where you are heading. If you know the best essays use Harvard referencing then that’s what we can adopt and use and if you have never used it before we rise to the challenge and practice it.
2. Brush Up on the Basics
Write a little plan then revise, revise revise. Before you can start writing incredible content, you’ll need at least to put pen to paper and start with some bullet points. Just write what it is you want to say very briefly. Then we set about our improvements. As you research and gather facts or case studies that interest you, your knowledge and confidence will improve. Before you know it you have the beginning of a first draft. Then you will change, add or improve. Your essay writing journey has started. Believe me, before you know it you have written so much you now need to revise it and cut back some of your work to stick to a word count or to improve the flow and quality.
3. Read Like a professional.
The best writers are also keen readers, and reading on a regular basis is an easy way to
become invested and passionate about what you are writing about. If it’s the ‘economics of inequality’ you will start to realise and feel the injustice of the millions of families that exist on two dollars per day that struggle to feed their children. The essays we were thinking about had over 30 in-text references. That is a lot of research, of course, you don’t need to read the whole book or article but selecting the best points that add to your arguments takes real skill.
4. Find a Writing Partner.
If you study at a reasonably sized school or college the chances are pretty good that there is at least one or two other students you get along with and can help each other on the way. Don’t take their honest feedback personally it’s not unknown to go through 8 or 9 versions of your essay each one better than the last.
5. Edit your work ruthlessly.
6.Be argumentative and don’t be afraid to say what you think.
Regurgitating is not going to win you any favours or prizes for that matter. That should not be your focus. In a great essay the writer can cite and bring in case information and points made by writers and researchers but all the while they add their own opinions and ideas. Without being libelous you can say what you think! No one is perfect and that’s the same with writing essays. You are going to make mistakes but you will then improve. An essay done is better than perfect. Don’t delay get it written and handed in!
Here is a link to some of the more prestigious essay competitions:
A bit about the author, Mark L.
Mark is a PGCE qualified teacher and has taught A-level Business for several years. He is a Business Studies examiner and has published 2 Exam Guide modules for AQA.
Mark keeps abreast of Business Studies development as a subject through training and working as an examiner and has worked in Further Education Colleges and UK Grammar Schools since 2004.
He also teaches Economics and GCSE Mathematics.
Mark has also worked 1 year in the Emirates and 7 years in Germany – he loves the international side of Business. He has also taught maths and aims to take the anxiety out of the mathematical side of the syllabus. Mark would love to develop higher-level skills around analysis and evaluation and aim to make that available to all students.
Client Review for Mark: Mark is fantastic. Very impressed. Charlotte looks forward to the lessons each week and has learned so much more already.