Shocking, but true. It’s the first week of University (in some places) and you already have loads of work to do. The first month back to school always feels a bit weird. You either have tons of work to suddenly catch up on or no homework at all.
The first essays of the semester are always a struggle. You don’t really know what the teacher is asking, the questions can be interpreted in different ways, or you don’t even know which texts you’re supposed to read. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
To be honest, after three years of university, I still feel like I have room to improve the quality of my essays. However, over these years, I have collected a few tips to make the process of composing an essay easy as pie. If you’re interested, just keep reading.
Planning is a very important step. Whatever you plan (or don’t plan) will affect the rest of the process, and it will create consequences (positive or negative) for the rest of your work. Take the time to collect all the materials you need to read before you start writing. Create your own essay planner where you can jot down every step of the process: first reading, second reading, notes, quotes, etc.
Before you start writing
Reading is probably one of the most important (if not the most important) steps before you start writing. This will likely take as much time (or more time) than actually writing your essay. The purpose of the first reading is to become familiar with the topic you’re dealing with. The second one will help you gather the main ideas. This is when a notepad or your laptop will come in handy. Take as many notes as you need, and try to pull quotes from your readings. Also, adding the number of the page and the author may help you for the bibliography later on.
Before you start writing, try to make a plan as well. This time, gather all of your thoughts and concepts in an organized outline. This will give you an idea of what your essay will look like.
This step is quite complex. Depending on how much time you have and how good you are with sporadic writing, I suggest you either start typing on your laptop or start writing on a piece of paper. Be sure to proofread everything you jot down.
When you think you are done with your paper, read it again. I’m sure you’ll find a few mistakes, so this is the time to make those few changes. Also, write your essay again on your computer. This will surely help you find your spelling mistakes.
Before you hand it in
It is smart to read your final piece as many times as possible before you hand it in, but four or six eyes see better than two. Ask a friend or family member to read your essay. They will help you find some sentences that don’t make sense, as well as any spelling mistakes you didn’t see before.
After you finish correcting your essay, edit it. Make it look nice and presentable. Times New Roman or Arial are both good fonts for your essays. Also, don’t forget to add your name, surname, and course!