8 Common Mistakes Students Make When Writing Their Essays

Worried Student

Essay writing is rarely a breeze, even for the best students. Yet, it is an important skill that all students need to master. It’s also a skill that can be hard to grasp, especially if you’re not sure what the rules are and where you might be breaking them. Find out the common mistakes students make when writing their essays so that you’ll know exactly what to avoid.

Disregarding Instructions

No matter how good your writing is, you’ll lose points if you don’t follow the instructions provided by your professor. If you’re told to write about a specific topic, ensure you stick to it. If you need to include examples, your essay should contain relevant examples.

For instance, if the essay topic is “Write about your favorite book,” you should focus on one book. Don’t list several books or start comparing them. You will end up with an incoherent and confusing paper.

Grammatical Errors

Grammatical errors are another problem that students tend to make.

Some of these mistakes include wrong spelling, for example, “there” instead of “their,” and adding an apostrophe in the wrong place, like when a word ends in “s.”

Improper use of tenses can also be problematic for students who are writing essays. They may start a sentence with one tense and then shift to another tense in the middle of it.

You can avoid making these mistakes by rereading your paper carefully. Proofreading apps like Grammarly or ProWritingAid can help you catch most of these errors as well.

Lastly, you can pay for essay help to get your essay proofread and edited by a professional. This way, you can learn what a quality paper should look like.

Disorganized Content

When writing your essays, you’re supposed to organize the ideas in a way that will make sense to your audience. You can’t just write about what comes into your mind or jump from one topic to another.

Remember, each paragraph should stand on its own. To achieve this, you need to ensure that you only deal with an idea per paragraph.

Also, you should provide a clear thesis statement at the beginning of each paragraph to make sure that your ideas are logical and consistent with one another.

Failing to Provide Supporting Details or Evidence

Remember, backing up what you write is an essential part of your essay because it gives credibility to all the points you mention.

If you fail to provide evidence, your paper will lack a professional outlook, and your readers might not consider the points you discuss.

You can avoid this situation by setting aside enough time for research before you begin to write. Once you have enough sources, use citation software for accurate and precise referencing.

Improper Formatting

Many people think that formatting isn’t really necessary since the focus is on the essay. However, even if your writing is flawless, it is still important that your paper has a proper structure.

Ensure that headings and subheadings are properly formatted. Also, the font you use should be of decent size and color so people can read it easily without straining their eyes. Most professors will give clear instructions concerning essay formatting, so make sure you follow them to a tee.

Long Sentences

If you find yourself catching your breath when reading your essay, then there’s a good chance that you’re using too many long sentences. A much better approach is to use short and snappy sentences to keep your reader interested from the beginning until the end.

If you’re unsure whether your sentences are of the right length, you can use apps like Hemingway to make your sentences clear, concise, and engaging. Also, keep them simple by sticking to short everyday words instead of fancy ones that only a few people will understand.

Lack of Transitions

Having well-placed transitions is essential to keeping your reader on track. Without them, you remain with a collection of disjointed ideas that don’t make sense.

Transitions give your writing cohesion and help easily establish the relationships between different parts of an argument or concept. There are various transitions used for different reasons, including showing

  • similarity (likewise, similarly);
  • time (meanwhile, currently);
  • emphasis (specifically, namely);
  • position (below, beyond);
  • exception (however, nevertheless).

Don’t let your reader get lost in your paper. Use the most appropriate transition to help them follow along with you easily.

Unnecessary Words and Sentences

Another mistake students make is adding unnecessary words to their essays that dilute their message or confuse readers.

Many students use filler words when they have a problem meeting the word count. Instead of writing, “I think that,” they will opt for something like, “In my opinion, I believe that.”

This is an example of a filler word because it isn’t necessary to add on when the previous phrase means the same thing. Such mistakes will rob your paper of clarity and make it seem like you are writing down words without thinking.


Student essays can be challenging to write. The pressure of the situation can make it feel impossible, but all students can compose winning essays with these guidelines.

All you need to do is ensure that at least a few of these mistakes are not present in your essay. So, don’t give up. Take care of one or more of these, and you will be well on your way to a successful essay that impresses your professor and earns an impressive grade.