Writing a Good Essay: a 10 Step Action Plan
1. Read carefully to understand the essay question
2. Read and conduct deep research
- Make sure that you have highlighted the keywords in your essay question.
Paying attention to the keywords in your essay question helps to point out the areas that your instructor needs you to deal with when working on your essay. If you fail to pay attention to the keywords, then it will be quite hard for you to stay in-line with your instructor’s expectations.
- If you encounter unfamiliar words, be quick to check their meaning in the dictionary or ask a friend.
- Identify the words that give a hint that the topic being covered or should be covered is for example: World War II, epic of Gilgamesh etc.
- Carefully check any limiting words for example chapter 4-26, this is where you will base your argument and you shouldn’t drift away. Avoid going of-course from the limit already set by your instructor since you will end up introducing the wrong text/content that doesn’t add any value to your essay and might end up getting penalized
3. Ensure that you have brainstormed ideas in response to the question
- Make sure that you are selective. Meaning, you should use sources which are both accessible and meaningful.
- IIn your own words, summarize the notes
-A summary is simply a short version of a bulk piece of writing
-It can also be termed as a synopsis
-Summary tests how a student understands the original text
-Should be written in your own words
- Quotations which will be useful should also be written down to make sure that the sources of these quotes are acknowledged if at all they will be used.
- Make sure you have taken notes on the sources so that they can be included in footnotes and the bibliography as well.
4. Come up with a thesis that will hold in the response to the question
- Write any relevant points.
- Be keen on any evidence or quotes
- In order to assist in the stimulation of literal thinking, make sure you have used a mind map.
5. Make a plan for the response
- The importance of the thesis is to strongly express the overall response to the question.
- Avoid working with a simple thesis statement: Explain further regarding the thesis statement and make sure you have fully answered the question.
- As the corner-stone of an essay, the thesis should be stated In the introduction and it has to be referred to in the essay before restating it at the end and making sure you demonstrate how it has been proven in the conclusion.
6. Come up with the introduction
- List your ideas in a logical series
- Each and every point should be related to the question.
- After the plan is written, it should be very clear where the essay is being directed
7. Come up with the main body of the essay
- Come up with a discussion.
- Make an introduction of the thesis
- Point out how the questions will be answered
- Name the appropriate texts to be discussed
- Make sure you have engaged the reader
8. Work on the essay conclusion
- Make sure that each point is assigned to a new paragraph.
- Intertwine paragraphs, the current one and the previous one and use words that connect the two for example; moreover, furthermore etc
- Use a topic sentence to start each sentence in a paragraph which links the current paragraph to the rest of the essay
- Ensure that you provide necessary evidence for each point that you have
- Make sure that you go back to the thesis and express it in different ways if that’s possible in order to put emphasis on how the question is being addressed.
9. Ensure you have edited the draft. This involves:
- Make sure you summarize the main ideas.
- Reveal how you have used evidence to prove your thesis
- Conclude with a thought-provoking and statement.
10. Work on the final copy
- Identify spelling mistakes, punctuation and grammar.
- Do away with any sections that are totally irrelevant
- Check the vocabulary to express the message in a perfect way.
- Ask friends or anyone, teacher or friend before writing the final copy
Just a recap:
- Include any footnotes or a bibliography if it is necessary (depends with the prompt you’ve been provided with).
- Make sure your work is clean and well-ordered
- Make sure you have submitted on time to avoid penalties or losing your grade all-together.
- Read carefully to understand the essay question
- Read and conduct deep research
- Ensure that you have brainstormed ideas in response to the question
- Come up with a thesis that will hold in response to the question
- Make a plan for the response
- Come up with the introduction
- Come up with the main body of the essay
- Work on the essay conclusion
- Ensure you have edited the draft
- Work on the final copy