You probably know your academic essay needs an introduction, a body of supporting information, and a conclusion that summarizes the evidence you’ve provided. But how can you take these basics and make your work stand out from the rest? Use these tips to make your academic essay writing the best it can be.
1. Make time
Unless you’re writing a timed essay, you should have plenty of advance notice regarding when your work is due. Good academic essay writing takes time, so use yours wisely by avoiding procrastination. Set aside realistic blocks of time to research, plan, write, and rewrite.
2. Research first, write second
Great research forms the foundation of academic essays. If you try to research your topic while you write, you’ll likely end up with writing that lacks focus and organization. Think of research as a separate step, and give yourself time to gather research from a wide variety of sources. When you get ready to write, you’ll be able to pick and choose the best information to use.
3. Develop a thesis statement
Among academic essay writing tips, this one is king. Even if your essay doesn’t require a thesis statement, write one anyway. Look at a thesis statement as a compass that shows the direction your writing should go. A clear, specific thesis statement will provide focus for everything that comes after.
4. Plan, outline, and organize
If you need to free-write a rough draft to get a handle on your ideas, by all means do so, but remember, the best academic essay writing has structure and clarity. To achieve both requires some planning. If you don’t like traditional outlining techniques, explore alternative ways to organize. You might write key information on index cards, draw a flowchart, or use a mind map. Use whatever organizational tool works best to help you put the pieces in order.
5. Avoid irrelevant details
Before you write the first word, revisit your research and highlight specific information to support your thesis. Remember, one person’s fascinating statistic is another’s clutter. If it doesn’t support the point you want to make, leave it out.
6. Assume your audience has no knowledge of your topic
By the time you sit down to write, you should have a thorough understanding of your subject. Keep in mind that your audience hasn’t seen or read the same research you have. Successful academic essay writing takes nothing for granted. Cover all the basic information, even facts you think everyone knows.
7. Use clear language, and don’t get fancy
Academic essays explore complex ideas and information, but this doesn’t mean your writing has to be complex, too. Write to inform, not to impress. Opt for simple, straightforward language whenever possible.
8. Back up all your claims
In an academic essay, it’s not enough to say, “The Earth is round.” You must have reliable evidence to support your statement.
9. Cite appropriately and comprehensively
While you’re at it, make sure your supporting evidence is cited correctly, using the appropriate style manual (e.g., APA, MLA, CMS). Inappropriate citations look sloppy and call your work into question. If readers find mistakes in something as simple as a citation, they’ll definitely be suspicious of the rest of your information.
Do not submit your first draft—ever. It’s called a first draft for a reason. Reread your work for unclear passages, off-topic information, and grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and be sure to make corrections before you turn in your work.
Create a checklist of known problem areas. Include names and words you commonly confuse or misspell, along with grammar mistakes you frequently make. Reread your work several times paying special attention to the items on your list.
12. Get outside feedback
Have someone you trust perform a final review of your essay before you hand it in. A fresh reader may catch mistakes you’ve missed and will be able to point out areas where more information is needed. We can help with this. To explore our editing services for academics and receive feedback from an experienced editor, click the button below: