According to results from a recent survey, the majority of TAFE and university students in Australia between the ages of 17-25 are stressed/anxious. Workload, grades, future uncertainty, career prospects etc… A long list of pressure-factors that can create an unhealthy and unmanageable amount of stress for some students. With all of these pressures, approaching a 5000-word essay can be a difficult task. Sometimes one that seems so enormous that it’s hard to know where to start. So, before you go leaving your next paper to the last minute, ease your stress-levels with our 5 essay writing tips below.
Essay Writing Tips
Hopefully you haven’t landed at this page looking for tips on how to get an essay done in one night. If you have, skip straight to step 1 now – you don’t have time to read the intro! … Of course, no one essay is the same. Sometimes, there are different requirements to meet that can make an essay quite unique, or even difficult to research. Whatever the case, the following tips will likely still apply! Our 5 essay writing tips are essay-specific, rather than being tips on ‘how to get stuff done’. So, we’ll just leave this supplementary ‘time-management tip‘ here: Don’t leave it to the last minute!
Do the reading, and do the research. If you want to produce a quality piece of writing, you can’t expect to be cutting corners. Lecturers will read your bluff, and take it as an insult to their intelligence. So be sure to complete the work that has been set throughout your course of study, and familiarise yourself with the content. Once you’ve done this, you’ll find the task of essay writing far less daunting. Ideas will flow, and you’ll actually be retaining some of the knowledge which is a plus! Good grades are usually a reflection of good preparation.
2. Drafting – Key Concepts
Brainstorm the key concepts of your essay topic. Put it all down on paper (or device) and break them into ‘tiers of importance/relevance’. Consider some of the most important concepts that you’ve covered so far in your course. Are they relevant to the essay topic? If so, how and where might they be of valuable? Also brainstorm any other supporting information that will help to meet the essay topic/question. What further research is required? Remember, you’re not looking for filler-material here, but rather specific, valuable and relevant content.
3. Drafting – The Blueprint
Now that you’ve got your key concepts listed and have a better understanding of research requirements, it’s time to structure your essay. You’ll need to consider the style of essay that you’re writing; persuasive, narrative, expository or descriptive. This stage of drafting will have you organising headings and subheadings, planning out paragraphs, and considering where particular information will sit within the text. Creating an ‘essay overview’ or blueprint will provide you with the blank template to populate with your key concepts, and researched information.
Now that you’ve got a plan in place, you can begin to develop your essay in detail. When taking this approach, you’ll often find that you need to shave some words off, rather than add filler content. So, always keep the topic in mind, and be as specific and relevant as possible. Link your arguments and facts back to the purpose of the essay, and you’ll end up developing a valuable resource of information. If you do fall short of your word count, you might consider if there are any key concepts that you’ve overlooked in the drafting stage.
5. Referencing Tools
You pretty much can’t write an article on essay writing tips without listing a reference generator… There are a number of great referencing tools online, although one very trusted resource is citethisforme.com. You can reference as you go, or keep a reference list while you research and then do it all at the end. If you’re using Google Chrome, they’ve also got a great extension that you can download for free that allows you to generate a cite for the website you’re currently browsing. If you can think of a better idea, we’d love to hear it!
Hopefully you’ve found enough value in this article to implement these five strategies when approaching your next writing piece. For some other helpful information to get you through your studies, check out some of our other tips here: Productivity vs Procrastination, Tips to Increase Your Energy Levels, and our Top Ten Time Management Tips. Thanks for reading, and good luck!