Essay Writing Tips

Essay Writing Tips

1. Analyse the question

Have the essay question in front of you at all times, and highlight the key words.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does the question mean?
  • What does each word mean?
  • What is the link between the words?
  • What do I need to include in my answer?

2. Research and organise

Before you start, check out and take note of the following:

  • Date essay has to be handed in
  • Word limit of essay
  • Presentation/layout
  • Required reading
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Marking Criteria
  • Reading list

3. Writing the introduction

Writing an introduction is like laying out a map for your reader, telling them what to expect from your essay. Aim to create interest, atmosphere or surprise. It is a good idea to refer specifically to question title,

Here are some possible ideas for your introduction:

  • State the background that has given rise to the topic
  • Define the scope of your topic – what you will cover and what you will not
  • Define terms that have a broad meaning – say how the term is being used in your essay
  • Identify important issues and state how you will deal with them
  • Make an apt quotation
  • State a pertinent fact 
  • Give a definition
  • Make a provocative statement
  • Give an interesting opinion

Ask yourself:

  • Would this introduction make anyone want to read on?
  • Does it introduce the title or purpose of the essay clearly enough? 

4. Paragraph plan

Around 10% of word limit for introduction and 10% for conclusion.

Write a list of your main points in the order you want them to appear, and take a new paragraph for each point.

Each paragraph should look like this:

   (a) Topic sentence – expresses your main point

   (b) Supporting sentences - developing the main point, give back-up points, examples/quotes, references

   (c) Concluding sentence – gather together the content and leads onto the next paragraph


5. Conclusion

Refer back to question in the conclusion, and bring all the main points together. State what you have found and why it is important.

It is a good idea to end positively and strongly – include an interesting opinion

Ask yourself:

  • Does this conclusion leave me with a good impression?
  • Does it gather together the ideas presented in my essay?
  • Does it refer back to the title and introduction?‌‌