How to Write Better Essays: Tips To Improve Your Writing

writing essays

You have a big test coming up, and you know it’s going to include an essay question that will account for a large percentage of your grade for the semester. Or maybe your teacher is assigning an essay question for your final assignment.

If crafting a good essay isn’t your strong suit, you’re going to struggle with acing your test or paper. Don’t fret, though. With a few essay writing tips, you can turn in an effective essay that will wow your teacher and get you the grade you deserve.

The following are some essay writing tips to follow if you find yourself having to write academic papers or great essays.

Build an outline of the main content

Before you start writing your academic essay, you’ll need to do your research to ensure your capturing all the best main points of your argument. Include your facts and evidence in an outline so you’ll be able to effectively structure it and figure out all the beats you want to hit. Your outline will be the same structure as your final essay. In a traditional five-paragraph essay, you have the introductory paragraph, three paragraphs that make up the body and a concluding paragraph.

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Use the traditional essay structure

Once you have your outline, you can start writing your academic essay.

In the introductory paragraph, you will include your thesis statement, which states the point of your essay, along with strong and captivating images and examples that tie into it and pull your audience in.

Instead of acting as a summary for your essay topic, your thesis statement should present your argument or main idea, and persuade your audience to keep reading. Instead of simply stating the facts, present a compelling argument. The thesis statement needs to be one sentence long, and you have to back up your statement in the following paragraphs.

The strongest points suppporting your thesis statement will go in the second paragraph, and the second strongest will go in the third. For the concluding paragraph and sentence, you should restate your thesis, summarize what the audience just read and include information that signifies the end of the essay.

basic structure of great essays

Use an active voice

When doing academic writing, avoid passive voice, and use active voice instead. An active voice is more engaging and tells the reader exactly who your subject is, what he, she or they are doing. A sentence written in an active voice reads, “Mary cooked a huge breakfast for everyone,” while a passive voice reads, “A huge breakfast was cooked by Mary.” Unless your academic essay is supposed to have a mysterious tone, keep it in the active voice.

Proofread your essay

Once you’ve written your academy essay, start the proofreading process. First, look at sentence structures and try to find any grammar and spelling mistakes. You can use a program like Grammarly or visit a local writing center if you need help. Then, read your essay aloud to hear how it sounds. Does everything flow? Is each sentence engaging? Is there fluff? Are sentences active or passive? Have an academic advisor and/or trusted friend read it and give you pointers as well.

Don’t be afraid to rewrite parts of your essay if they’re not as strong as you’d like them to be. Oftentimes, your academic essay will not come out perfect the first time around. With some work and refinement, you can turn in a great essay to your teacher that will show off your skills and get you an excellent grade in your class.

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Kylie Ora Lobell FOLLOW >

Kylie Ora Lobell writes for brands, blogs, and print publications. She covers content marketing, digital marketing, and runs Kylie's Tips for Writers, a blog about writing.