Are you confident in your writing skills? If you’re worried about an upcoming essay assignment, take a look at these helpful essay writing tips from online tutor Natalie S.:
I’ve been a teacher and a tutor for many years. I have the knowledge base to instruct on many topics, but the subject that students most often seek out my help for is essay writing tips.
For students, writing an essay is often a daunting and even scary assignment. There tends to be a lot of emotion surrounding the act of writing. Students get anxious about writer’s block, or they worry they don’t have enough material to write about, or they are convinced they have no idea how to write a thesis statement. There are all kinds of excuses and concerns when it comes to essay writing. However, it doesn’t have to be such a difficult, time-consuming task. There is actually a clear process and formula for writing essays.
Check out these essay writing tips below, and you will be successfully and fearlessly crafting A+ papers in no time!
This is a very important part of the process and one that often requires the most time and creative thinking. If you put the right amount of energy and effort into the pre-writing phase, the actual writing of the paper is very easy. Outlining your ideas before you start typing is incredibly beneficial when drafting an essay.
- Step 1: Do You Have a Prompt?
If you have a writing prompt or essay question to work with, read over it more than once with a pencil in hand. Underline, star, highlight, and write notes in the margin, so you are clear on what the prompt is asking you to address. Then, rewrite the question in your own words. This exercise ensures that you understand what your teacher is looking for, and it forces you to address the right questions as you begin to craft your thesis statement.
- Step 2: Can You Choose Your Own Topic?
If you are asked to choose your own topic, then consider the top three subjects that you would like to focus on and write them down.
- Step 3: Pick Your Favorite Topic
Under each topic, write your three supporting statements for each subject. Choose the topic that you have the most to say about.
- Step 4: Craft Your Thesis Statement
Now that you have your topic, you have to start crafting your thesis statement. This is usually the most time-consuming step. Your thesis statement is the most important sentence in the entire essay because it tells the reader the purpose of your essay. It guides the reader in what they are supposed to look for and what they are supposed to gain from reading your essay.
Here is an example of a thesis statement formula for a literary analysis paper:
Title + Author + Active Verb (asserts, argues, suggests) that ______ (your argument)___________.
- Step 5: Write the Intro
An introduction generally contains three elements: your hook sentence (the first sentence of the essay that grabs the reader’s attention), your thesis statement, and sometimes, one to two sentences of background information or a quick statement that explains how you will present your topic throughout the paper. If you spend the right amount of time and energy drafting a clear introduction, it will work as your guide for writing the rest of the paper.
- Step 6: Write the Body Paragraphs
There is a very specific formula for writing body paragraphs, and it works for all body paragraphs regardless of the type of essay you are writing.
Here is the body paragraph formula:
Topic Sentence + Concrete Detail + Commentary + Closing Sentence
Your topic sentence orients the reader to the specific purpose of the paragraph. The concrete detail (example/quote/statistic) serves as a piece of evidence that supports the main point stated in your topic sentence. Your commentary makes it clear why you used the specific example you used. Your commentary answers the question, “So what?” When writing your commentary, consider these questions: “What does this example prove? Why is it relevant?” Then finish this sentence: “This example is important because it proves…” If you can do that, then you’ve found your commentary! Close the paragraph with a statement that reiterates how this paragraph works to support your thesis statement.
- Step 7: Write your Conclusion
Reiterate your main argument, and then consider the question, “So What?” again. Answer that question in your conclusion and conclude the essay by expressing to your reader the significance of your thesis statement. Don’t just repeat your points, but rather challenge your reader to consider the purpose and significance of your essay.
- Step 8: Proofread and Grammar Check
Reread your essay at least twice, and if possible, have someone else review it as well. Check for all spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Once you’re done reviewing, turn it in on time to your teacher and walk away knowing you’ve written a winner!
These essay writing tips are easy to follow and they work every time. If you feel like you need more clarification, I highly recommend taking the extra time now to work with a tutor who will dedicate one-on-one time with you in reviewing these essay writing tips and showing you how to implement them with your specific topic in mind. Going through this process with someone a few times ensures that you will more quickly get to a point where you can write essays on your own with less stress and more success!
Natalie S. tutors online and in San Diego, CA, in English, ESL, History, Phonics, Reading, and Test Prep. She received her BA in English Education at the University of Delaware, and her MA in English Literature at San Diego State University. Learn more about Natalie here!
Photo by jeffrey james pacres