An essay is a typical and the most widely-spread assignment in high schools, colleges, and universities. Nevertheless, many students still struggle with these tasks if they do not possess proper knowledge and capabilities. Indeed, writing an academic essay requires not only understanding of the topic but also decent research skills as well as familiarity with the basic formatting and structural standards. However, the endeavor is not as terrifying as it may seem at first glance. A little research and practice can help to master this art and start creating the best essays your professor can think about. Moreover, apart from custom-written papers, a reliable college essay writing service can offer a pool of useful tips and tricks for the beginning students who want to excel in essay writing.
What Is an Academic Essay?
An academic essay is a focused and structured piece of writing, in which you should develop a set of ideas into a specific argument through presenting evidence, analyzing, and interpreting facts. In such assignments, you may be required either to present some new facts on the subject or to apply the existing ones to develop new ideas. The main purpose of an essay is to test your understanding of the course material and the ability to research the given topic, analyze the obtained information, and convey it all in writing. In any case, such a task is a perfect opportunity to display your creativity and to communicate your ideas to the wide audience.
In a good academic essay, you should aim to persuade the reader of your ideas backed up by solid evidence. While you must answer a specific question, you should present your stand, a strong argument that can be debated by the audience, in the thesis statement. All the information in the main body of the essay should support and prove this argument. For this, you may use related examples and any facts and supporting evidence from credible outside sources. You can say that your academic essay is good if you managed to persuade the reader.
Main Stages of the Writing Process
The stages of any process tend to be rather subjective and approximate. Of course, a lot depends on the type of essay, its length and specific requirements, time limit, as well as individual peculiarities and skills. However, the writing process can be roughly divided into three main stages:
At first, you need to decide on the exact topic, conduct some basic research, and draft an outline. Once all the preparations are done, you can set out to write the essay following its structural and stylistic standards. After the draft is ready, you should proofread it thoroughly and attentively, double-check all the facts and references, and check the formatting markers. Each stage is discussed in detail in the following sections.
Any effort requires thorough preparation. Academic essay writing is not an exception. Before you write a successful paper, you need to see a clear picture of what it should be, what you want to say in it, and the way you will do this. Thus, preparation stage is the most important, labor-intensive, and time-consuming. It would generally entail the following steps:
- Analysis of the assignment. You should read the prompt attentively and understand the main question. Clearly define the type of an essay, its length, purpose, the key words and terms, and the deadline.
- Research of the topic. Read all the relevant sources you can access to generate as many ideas on the topic as possible. The more information you get, the easier it will be to establish your personal stand in the question. You may use both primary and secondary sources, but make sure that they are reputable and credible. Focus on books, peer-reviewed journal articles, documents and reports, and official governmental or corporate websites. Try to stay away from basic dictionary sources, user-edited websites, and databases of quotations.
- Taking notes of the readings. Since academic integrity is the core principle of education, you must give credit to the authors of all the information that you use in your essay as evidence. It is very important to avoid unintentional plagiarizing, presenting someone else’s ideas for your own. Thus, while scanning the sources in search of relevant information make thorough notes about the place this or that idea was taken from. It will help when citing and arranging a reference list.
- Producing a thesis statement. Now that all the information is gathered and you have defined your personal stand, you may craft your argument – the main idea of the entire essay that you will defend in the body paragraphs. Remember that it must be specific and debatable instead of being too broad and stating the general opinion.
- Creating an outline. An academic essay must be well-organized and structured. In an outline, you may logically line up the points you intend to include into the paper. It gives an opportunity to visualize your future essay and guide you during the writing stage.
Now you can use your outline to write the first draft of an essay. Follow this detailed plan point by point and write down all your thoughts and ideas related to each of them. Remember about the appropriate language and style, use formal English, avoid too short and too long sentences, and make sure that the flow is logical and coherent.
Revision stage presupposes revisiting your first draft and coming up with the final one. It includes:
- Most probably, you will need to reread your essay for several times to decide if it is well organized. Make sure that it contains all the necessary facts to prove your point. Delete all the excessive details that do not serve the purpose. Check if the ideas are well developed and clear and if they flow logically. Consider the accuracy of the used words, the objectivity of your tone, the relevance of evidence, and correctness of citing.
- Lastly, you should read your final draft slowly, attentively, and thoughtfully to notice any minor detail like spelling, punctuation, or other grammatical issues, as well as formatting markers and technical aspects.
If you are a student, be sure to be assigned a lot of academic essays to write. Through them, your instructors evaluate your familiarity with the course material and ability to research, analyze, and integrate the information. While this type of assignment requires decent writing skills, it is not hard to master them using our useful and simple tips.