Studying in 2020 has been quite a challenge. More so, because the global COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically disrupted the educational process. Nevertheless, students still need to be ready to do well in their studies. They also need to demonstrate even more impressive skills when it comes to academic writing. Considering that education now is more about independent learning, being good at writing essays is crucial for one to pass their courses. Here is a short guide that will give you all the necessary information and some professional academic writer’s tips on making a good essay in 2020.
Planning, Outline, and Introduction
“The first mistake most students make is leaping right into writing the paper and using every external source they could find. Although it is an option, it is definitely not the best way to work on your assignment. Instead, you want to start with a plan or a detailed outline of the forthcoming paper and the things you want to discuss and prove. This way, it will be much easier to connect the dots later on,” says Raymond Miller, a professional academic writer from DoMyEssay.
Sometimes educators make it easier for students to organize this process and request them to provide an outline as a part of the assignment. Even if you don’t get such a task, consider being organized anyway. Here is a simple outline structure for you:
- Background/introductory thoughts
- Thesis statement
II. Body Paragraph 1
- Main Point 1 (usually stated in the topic sentence, the very first sentence of each body paragraph)
- Example 1 & example 2
- Analysis of example 1 & example 2
III. Body Paragraph 2
- Main Point 2
- Example 3 & example 4
- Analysis of example 3 & example 4
IV. Body Paragraph 3
- Main Point 3
- Example 5 & example 6
- Analysis of example 5 & example 7
- Paraphrased thesis
- Concluding thoughts (be sure not to introduce any new information in this section of your essay)
Depending on your assignment type, you might have to add some extra parts to your paper, but the structure mentioned above will work for most of your essays.
The Little Things
- The standard rules of academic writing state that your tone of voice should always be neutral and impersonal. It means that you should avoid using personal pronouns like “I,” “we,” “she,” or “he” at all times. When making a point, you need to make it evident that it is not a subjective opinion you are trying to sell, but rather an objective research-based point others should consider.
- Use numbers and bullets. For your paper to read easier, try incorporating relevant symbols into the writing like bullets, numbers, hyphens, or any other elements that might make it easier to structure the information. Such an approach shows that the writer thinks about the content and its visual presentation.
- Word count. In most cases, your assignment will state a word count you need to stick to in your essay. You can go either 10% over it or 10% under the given mark. However, be sure for your word count not to fluctuate more than that. It will most likely harm your final grade.
- Use many examples. As you have seen from the outline structure above, it is crucial to support your claims with appropriate examples taken from reliable sources.
- Focus on your references. Using external sources is one thing, but properly citing them is a whole different thing. With each assignment, you will get a citation style to follow. Each style has clear rules of bibliography and in-text citations. Owl Purdue is one of the best sources to use if you want to get the most current formatting rules.
- Double-check the reliability and credibility of all of your sources. Most of the time, there are many relevant sources to choose from, especially on the internet. But not all of them can be recognized as a reliable source. To make sure you don’t fall into the trap, check the publishing house or the journal that published the source you want to use and make sure the source is recent, preferably no older than five years.
Drafting an Effective Conclusion
Coming up with an effective conclusion can help you make a good impression and get your essay to stand out. Every standard assignment will expect you to adhere to the common paper structure and provide a strong and clear summary of your work. This section usually takes about 10% of your total word count. You need to briefly “remind the reader” the main points you made in your essay and paraphrase the thesis statement you made in the essay’s introductory part. It is essential that your conclusion aligns with the rest of the paper and presents no new arguments.