Essay Writing: 7 Tips and Tricks to Ace Your Essay

Essay Writing: 7 Tips and Tricks to Ace Your Essay
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    Whether you're analyzing a Shakespeare play, discussing the scientific method, or examining the War of 1812, these tips and tricks can help you get on the right track to an A+ essay.


No matter what your major is, it’s more than likely that you’ll have to write at least a few essays in college. Essay writing can be difficult, boring, and stressful, but it doesn’t always have to be. Whether you’re analyzing a Shakespeare play, discussing the scientific method, or examining the War of 1812, these tips and tricks can help you get on the right track to an A+ essay.

1. Figure out what you’re writing about

The most important part of writing an essay is understanding what exactly you’re writing about. Some professors give very clear-cut instructions regarding what topic your essay should cover, but others can give confusing prompts or let students choose what they want to write about.

If you don’t understand your professor’s essay prompt, the best solution is to go to their office hours and ask them about it. Sometimes, a quick conversation can clear up any doubts you might have about your essay topic.

If you’re allowed to choose what you want to write about, make sure you pick a topic that works for you. Don’t choose something too general or too specific. For instance, you probably can’t write a five-page essay about the whole of World War II. But, if you narrow down the topic to something more specific, like weaponry or military tactics used in World War II, your essay becomes more focused and structured.

Whatever you choose to write about, make sure that you can fit it on your paper.

2. Do the research or preparation

Most college essays you write will require some amount of research. Spend some time in the library or online finding good information from reliable sources.

If what you’re writing doesn’t require research or sources, you should still prepare by giving your essay some thought and writing down concepts and ideas you have that are related to your essay topic.

3. Write an outline

Outlines aren’t for everyone. If you absolutely hate making outlines, skip this step. But for many students, making an outline is an important part of the writing process.

Since all your research should be done at this point, plug in the facts to your outline. If you have full paragraphs that are missing sources or vital information, you’ll know that you have to go back and complete some more research.

4. Start writing

Don’t begin typing up your essay the night before it’s due, no matter how tempting it is. Give yourself at the very least two to three days to write an essay, and if it’s longer than three pages, give yourself at least a week to write it.

5. Check your work

Proofreading isn’t everyone’s favorite thing to do, but it’s vital. Many college professors will judge students harshly for spelling or grammatical mistakes on their essays.

Get a roommate to read your paper, email your essay to a friend or parent, or go to a student tutoring service to get a second opinion on your essay. If you can’t do any of those things, at least read your paper out loud to discover any grammatical mistakes.

Spell check isn’t always right, so don’t trust that your essay is perfect if you don’t see any red squiggly lines. Consider using a web site like Grammarly to check your sentence structure.

6. Check your sources

No one wants to get busted for plagiarism in college, especially if it’s an accident. Double check to make sure you’ve cited your paper correctly. Not sure? Ask your professor if they prefer MLA or APA citation style, or another style. They’ll usually tell you, but if not, double check.

Avoid using citation machines that instantly cite sources for you, and make sure to complete in-text citations. If you have any problems with citing your sources, visit Purdue OWL, an official web site that’s meant to help students correctly cite sources.

7. Check your formatting

Many professors like their essays a certain way. That means a certain font, font size, margins, and title page. Some professors require headers and page numbers too, so double check to make sure that everything is in place.

Essay writing doesn’t always have to be a hassle. These tricks and tips can help students write essays more quickly and professionally to help them get the best grades possible.

Know anyone who could use some help writing essays? Share this article on Facebook or other social media sites to help them make the grade.

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