Making Sense of Essay Writing

The task of writing an essay falls into three stages:
   Before
   During and
   After.
Sounds obvious, but far too many students charge straight into the actual writing without planning and structuring the work required.

Before
First, the planning process, starting with reading the title of the essay, setting out a plan, and so forth. If there is a choice of essays, it's essential (a) that you select a topic which suits you and (b) you read the question very carefully. There are various types of essay which vary in the challenge they present to the student:

  1. description
  2. discussion
  3. evaluation
  4. comparison

Essays should not only be written to the length required, but they must take account of the potential reader(s). Quotations and bibliographical material should be included where appropriate and set out in the appropriate 'house style'.

And, of course, a prerequisite for any good essay is a sound knowledge of the subject.

During
It's essential that your essay contains the following:

  • introduction
  • central section (starting with small points, building up to th main point)
  • conclusion

The introduction should match the conclusion in length, and (this sounds obvious but it's so often overlooked) the conclusion has to represent a resolution of the issues posed in the introduction.

The guide offers a detailed analysis of how to use good English, style, clarity, punctuation, structure and so forth. The essay should have a cogent and well-organised structure and not consist of a random collection of thoughts thrown together.

After
Finally, after the essay: an extended section on how to check that you have done your best, breaking the process down into individual tasks.
There's a new section on writing your essay on the computer.

Each part of the guide contains samples culled from the pages of actual student essays.

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To contact the author, please email him at books@locheesoft.com.