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Writing an Essay

How to Write an Essay?

What is an essay?

An essay is generally a formal and structured written composition and could be a short paper or a detailed discourse on a specific topic. Essays are usually based on the author's opinions or thoughts and overlap with the format of articles but are generally more structured. An essay is usually a formal piece of writing or argument, sometimes based on highly complex subjects. For example a philosophical essay or an analytical essay is usually complex and requires deep knowledge or understanding of the subject. Essays can also be reflective, based on personal experiences or insights or abstract. Essays can also be informal and unstructured and based on personal thoughts, opinions and beliefs. Some formal essays are written as literary criticisms, critical analyses, structured arguments, political manifestos, observations, reflections and admission statements.

What is the purpose of an essay?

Within the limits of the contemporary education systems, essays are an important aspect of formal education. Formal education as provided by University programs depend on structured essays and reports to determine student ability in terms of writing and analytical skills. Students seeking admission to Universities are required to complete admission essays and personal statements and their coursework often include essays that are used to assess the level of learning. Science students are assessed on the basis of laboratory reports, although they may also have to write structured essays like students enrolled in humanities and social sciences.

Write an Academic Essay

When compared with blogs or articles, essays are definitely more formal, structured and systematic. An academic essay is an important part of formal education and every student must learn how to write a focused and impactful essay. Students may be required to write a reflective, personal essay as in nursing or counseling; or a factual, informative essay as in sciences; or an abstract, conceptual essay based on universal concepts as in philosophy or literature. So, essays can be abstract, conceptual, informative, critical, factual, personal or reflective. However there are other types of essays which we will discuss in some detail but let us first focus on how to write an essay.

How to write a great essay?

A structured essay usually comprises of an introduction, a main body comprising of the primary arguments and a conclusion. An academic essay can be based on a comparison, critical analysis, or can be narrative, historical, descriptive, argumentative or reflective. A strong essay requires a strong introduction which comprises of a few paragraphs and is a summary of the main arguments that will follow in the essay. The introduction provides a background of the arguments that are elaborated in the main body of the essay. The main body of the essay has to be structured to include one idea in every paragraph. Usually too many ideas within one paragraph can overwhelm the reader and obstruct the smooth flow of an essay. The conclusion of the essay must clearly state the author's position and refocus the reader's attention on the main points of the essay as supported by evidence or arguments. The flow, grammar and content are the core elements of an essay. The flow of the essay is essential for easy reading and it is advisable to keep the essay precise and focused. Wordiness, grammatical and typographical errors must be avoided and essays require thorough editing and proofreading. The content of the essay must be relevant to the brief or the title. Some descriptive, reflective or narrative essays do not generally use subheadings, although the factual, scientific and informative essays often use subheadings.

Academic essays are often written according to specific formats and these formats are often determined by the choice of referencing or citation styles. Essays are usually followed by detailed references, list of citations or a bibliography. While writing an essay you must focus on a great introduction to capture the attention of the reader, the content that has to be relevant and topical, a succinct conclusion, the structure or flow of the arguments, the writing style and the grammar, spelling and precision of language. You can write a great essay if you choose the correct references, relevant texts, papers or scholarly content. You can look up old research papers and relevant pre-written essays on your topic to get an idea on how you should write your own essay.

What are the different types of essays?

The most popular types of essays are narrative essays, descriptive essays, persuasive or argumentative essays, reflective essays, expository essays, critical or analytical essays, comparative essays, definition essays and literary essays.

Concluding Remarks

An essay is a fundamental part of University education and learning how to write the perfect essay is crucial to the academic success of a graduate student. Students in humanities and social sciences are graded on the basis of their essays although there are other methods of assessment. While writing your own essay, first prepare an outline, or a skeletal structure, focus on the content, use the best resources and follow the correct referencing and citation style.

Reference: How to Write a School Essay?