Essay Writing Tips

  1. Get started early, you don't want to wait to the last minute and have to rush through your essay.
  2. Whatever your essay says, how it looks creates your reader's first impression. Format your essay for easy reading, paying strict attention to unity in tab spaces, indents, and proper margins.
  3. Knowing the different types of essays helps not only in the essay writing process, but can also help you choose a topic.

  4. Keep a dictionary handy or put an online dictionary in your Internet Favorites. Your spell checker won't know the difference between words like complement (number) and compliment (praise). If you aren't sure of the spelling of a word and don't have access to a dictionary (for instance while taking a college boards test), replace it with a different word.
  5. Use an outline whenever possible.
  6. Create your works cited page as you write/research your essay. In addition to reminding you where to find relevant information, adding citations as you use them prevents forgetting one in your list.
  7. Don't over-quote. Consider paraphrasing before using direct quotations. Yet, remember to cite your source even when paraphrasing another person's thought.
  8. Transitions create a bridge from one paragraph to the next. In addition, effective use of transitions adds continuity to your writing and cohesion to your essay as a whole.
  9. Always type your essay on a computer (unless otherwise instructed) and make backup copies of your essay, just in case.
  10. Thesis statements benefit your readers by creating a roadmap that guides them through your essay. Creating a strong thesis statement and identifying supporting points helps you stay on topic as you write.
  11. Know your subject. Collect two to three times more information than you intend to use. Researching a variety of sources also helps ensure that facts are accurately represented.
  12. Don't' overlook primary resources. If you're writing about Hamlet, read the play and form your own opinions. If you're writing about Mel Gibson's Hamlet, read the play, watch the movie and form your own opinions.
  13. Be assertive in your essay, avoid using lines such as, "I think..." or "In my opinion...".
  14. Print a copy of your essay and read it aloud to find hidden errors and weak areas that need editing. As you read, ask yourself what opinions your reader might form as they read. Better yet, have a friend read your printed essay back to you.
  15. Proofread, revise and edit your essay before you submit your final copy.

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