Irrespective of which course you are doing, writing essays or papers will be a part of your course. That said not all students find essay writing easy, and it takes a lot of hard work and practice. So, if you’re new to essay writing or want to avoid making mistakes then we are here to provide you with what we think are the do’s and don’ts of writing a professional graduate level paper.
If you use any examples then these need to be cited. Even if you mention something that you may have read, you need to reference the source of where the information has come from. Citing makes your examples more reliable as they back up any points that you are making.
- Easy to Read
It is a known fact that lecturers do skim read essays, simply because they have to read so many. For this reason, make sure that your structure your essay well so that the main points are clear and stand out.
- Thesis Statement
An introduction needs a thesis statement. Its aim is to highlight what the key idea of the essay is. Even though an introduction needs a thesis statement, it should not be the first line of your sentence. The best place for it is the end of your introduction so that it flows nicely into the article.
Through the language, you use it is clear to see how you research and analyze a subject. Additionally, it reveals your knowledge of syntax, grammar as well as the standard of your vocabulary
An essay is a way of highlighting your language skills and how you can choose the correct vocabulary. You need to use vocabulary that is the higher end to show that you have moved on since school. For example, avoid using words such as ‘nice’ or ‘good’ and choose other synonyms.
Transitions are important as they help the reader to link one idea to another. Transitions that you could use include:
- With regards to
- As noted
- To put it briefly
Although the quality of an essay is not about the style, the style does leave a mark on the reader. Ultimately professors want to see that an essay has been structured properly. The style is something that you can work out once the essay has been completed.
Don’t over complicate sentences, keep them simple. If you write sentences that are complicated, you are not showing that you can write well, more than you can’t express information in a way that is logical and easy to understand. Additionally, sentences that are complicated are more likely to have errors when it comes to grammar.
Make sure that you check your essay thoroughly. Check for typos, spelling and incorrect sentences. Make sure that you have also followed the requirements that have been set, i.e., number of pages, structure, etc.
Plagiarism is classed as cheating and it is not worth risking your education over. Make sure that you reference all sources as you don’t want to unintentionally plagiarise.
Typos highlight that you have not been as attentive as you needed to be and aren’t a reflection on your proficiency.
- Spell Checkers
Don’t rely on spell checkers alone. Programs miss errors that we the human eye doesn’t. Make sure that you spend time proofreading your essay. Print a copy off and read your essay on paper, as errors are easier to spot this way than on a screen. Where possible, ask someone else to proofread your work too.
Avoid overloading your essay with facts and too much information. Choose the important aspects and remove other information. It is tempting to add all that you know, but you need to narrow down your subject and highlight how you can analyze information and only add information that backs up the points you are making,
Make sure that you pay attention to page numbers, margins, font size, spacing, and paper size. Also, remember to bear in mind whether your essay needs to be in the first person or from a persuasive/argumentative perspective. If it is the latter, you need to avoid adding personal viewpoints and stick to the facts.
- Avoid Conversation
It is rare for academic writing to engage with the reader. This style relates to fiction writing and not academic writing. Your essay needs to be analytical, objective and removed and not trying to affect the reader’s personality or emotions.
- Negative Language
By this we mean avoid phrases with negation or negative suffixes. For instance, use ‘comfortable’ rather than ‘painless’ and ‘economical’ in the pace of ‘inexpensive’.
Professors are looking for work that is original with new ideas. Try and avoid using clichés or informal language. Academic writing needs to be formal and not conversational in its tone. The kinds of clichés that you need to avoid are:
- Bring to the table.
- Actions speak louder than words.
- People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
- All walks of life.
- Too little, too late.
- In a nutshell.
- Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
- Uphill battle.
- Two wrongs don’t make a right.
- At long last.
- Never say never.
- Going forward.
- At the end of the day.
- Laughter is the best medicine.