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Writing an academic essay always seems to be a dreaded task among students. Whether the essay is for a scholarship, a class, or maybe even a contest, many students often find it stressful. While an essay is a large project, there are a few steps a student can take that will help organize the workload into more manageable parts. Following this process is the easiest way to complete a quality essay.
According to Guide to Writing a Basic Essay by Kathy Livingston, here are 7 steps to writing a essay:
1. Choosing a topic.
If you have your topic assigned, good for you, you can now skip to the next step. However for those that are not given a topic, you have a little more work to do. This gives you the opportunity and also the advantage to choose a subject that is interesting or relevant to you. Then, define your purpose. Is your assignment to inform or persuade?
Once you have determined the purpose, you will focus your research on topics that you find intriguing. Think about your life. What is it that will interest your readers? Note all these subjects down.
Lastly, evaluate your options. If your goal is to educate, choose a subject that you have already studied. If your goal is to persuade, choose a subject that you are confident in writing about. Whatever the purpose of the essay, make sure that you are competent in your topic.
2. Draft an outline or diagram of your ideas.
In order to write a good essay, you must go through your thoughts. By taking what’s already in your head and putting it to paper, you are able to see linkages between ideas more clearly. The structure serves as a base for your essay. You can use either an table or a diagram to note down your ideas and arrange them.
Start by writing your topic in the middle of your paper. Draw 3 to 5 lines branching off from the topic and write down your main ideas at the ends of the branches. Draw more lines off these main ideas and include any thoughts you may have on these ideas.
If you prefer to create an outline, write your topic at the top of the page. From there, begin to list your main ideas, leaving space under each one. In this space, make sure to list other ideas that relate to the key topic. Doing this will allow you to have a better view of the connections and will help you to write a more focus essay.
3. Write your thesis statement.
After selecting a topic and sorting your ideas, you must create a thesis statement. Your thesis statement informs the reader the point of your writing. Refer to your previous planning. What are the main ideas?
Your thesis statement will have two sections. The first part states the topic, and the second part states your arguement of the essay. For instance, if you were writing about Barrack Obama and his impact on the United States, an appropriate thesis statement would be, “Barrack Obama has impacted the future of America through his two consecutive terms as United States President.”
4. Writing the main body.
The body of your essay should cover your topic. Each main idea that you wrote in the diagram will become a separate section within the body of your essay. Each body paragraph should have a basic structure. Firstly is the introductory sentence. Next, write each of your supporting ideas and leave three or four lines in between each point to come back and give detailed examples and evidences to back up your arguments.
5. Writing the introduction.
The introduction should attract the reader’s attention and show the focus of your essay. Begin with an attention grabber. You can use shocking information, a simple quote, or a simple summary of your topic. Whichever way you choose, make sure that it links with your thesis statement, which will be the last sentence of your introduction.
6. Write the conclusion.
The conclusion brings closure of the essay and sums up your all the ideas that you provide in your writing. Your conclusion should have of three to five strong sentences and no new information. Review your main body and this should provide support to your thesis.
After concluding your essay, you might think that you have completed your assignment. Wrong! Before you consider this a closing your book, you must pay attention to all the minor details.
Check the order of your work. Your strongest points should be the first and last sentences of the body, with the others falling in the center. Also, make sure that your writings are organize properly.
Look at the instructions for your essay again. Different teachers follow different formats, and you must double check requirements to ensure that your essay is in the correct format.
Finally, review what you have written. Get someone to reread your essay to see if it makes sense. Make sure that sentence flow is correct and check your work for grammar and spelling mistakes.
Congratulations! You have just written your essay!!