If you’ve been consistently struggling with how to write essays, this article will show you four easy steps to writing consistently high quality essays. The main things you need to focus on are the essay subject, the opening paragraph, the overall structure of the essay, and your essay content and analysis. This article also provides links to two excellent resources for essay writing.
1. Picking a Subject for Your Essay
The first step when working out how to write essays is to decide what your subject or theme will be. Knowing the subject of your essay enables you to focus your efforts. You can immerse yourself in finding out all there is to know about a particular topic without any chance of getting distracted.
If possible, pick a subject you are interested in, because this will make writing the essay much easier. Even if you have been given a topic, try and find an ‘angle’ to it that has some interest to you. Good resources for essay material are the internet, written or e-books, journals or even interviews of people versed in your chosen subject.
Once you have found your topic, the next thing to focus on is the structure of your essay.
2. Structuring Your Essay
A vital part of learning how to write essays is to understand the importance of structure. Structure helps the reader to understand where your essay is going and what you are trying to tell them. Think of the structure as a ‘framework’ around which you can build your writing,
Firstly, while researching your topic, write down the main points in dot point form, using only a few words – these will form the main structure for your essay. It doesn’t matter much at this stage what order they are in – you can sort that out later.
Under each main point, jot down 2 or 3 sub points that go into a bit more detail about that particular aspect of your essay.
Once you have this basic structure in place, you can start thinking about how many words to write for each part of your essay.
3. Number of words in your essay
This is a very important aspect of how to write essays. Let’s say you have 2000 words to write for the whole essay and 5 main points, with 2 subpoints for each. Remember that you will also need an introductory and concluding paragraph, so that makes it about 12 paragraphs in total. This means you will need to write about 150-200 words per paragraph or sub point. Once you start to break it down in this way, you can see that learning how to write essays is not overwhelming – all you have to do is write a short piece of text for each of the ideas you are presenting.
Once you have the structure written down in note form, with the number of words for each paragraph, you can start to work on the details of your essay content.
4. Essay Content and Analysis
Look at what you have read for each of the main points of your essay and work out how you can talk about it in your own words, or in a more informative way. Look at your essay research notes and decide for yourself if the writers have made claims which, in your opinion, lack substance. If necessary, compare different claims and write down which of them is more valid, in your opinion, and explain why to your reader. Remember that each paragraph needs to lead into the next. This ‘smooths out’ the structure and helps the essay to ‘flow’ better.
Analysis can be a challenging thing to tackle when you are first starting to learn how to write essays, but it is well worth persevering with because it will make your essays much more worthwhile and readable.