FROM THE PEN OF KD LANGUAGE SERVICES

8 Essential tips for an excellent essay

There’s nothing worse than a daunting deadline creeping closer and forcing you to burn the midnight oil ─ we’ve all been there … To avoid the stress of submitting sub-par work, KD Language Services has compiled a list of eight essential tips for an excellent essay.

1. CHOOSE A TOPIC

Whether you’re assigned a topic, or you have the freedom to choose your own ─ this step will ultimately determine the course your essay will take.

It’s slightly easier when you’re given a topic, as you only have to focus on the best-suited approach ─ a general overview and discussion of the entire topic, or an in-depth analysis of specific aspects?

When you can pick your own topic, you have the opportunity to choose a subject you’re interested in or find more relevant. But the challenge is to find a suitable goal for your topic ─ is it to educate or persuade? If your aim is to inform, a topic you’ve studied will be the easiest to discuss, but if your purpose is persuasion, choose one of your passions.

Remember: Thorough research will be rewarding.

2. organise your thoughts

To write a successful essay, you need structure, and by putting your thoughts and goals to paper, you’ll find clear connections between ideas. A diagram or outline of your thoughts will serve as your essay’s foundation ─ make sure it covers everything.

Remember: Proper planning leads to an excellent end product.

3. create a thesis statement

After choosing a topic and arranging your thoughts into categories, you must write a thesis statement. The thesis statement should include the subject and the point of your essay.

Remember: Be precise.

4. write the body

Your essay’s body argues, explains or describes your topic. Use each idea in your diagram or outline as a separate section to expand upon. Keep your paragraph structure simple with each main idea as the introductory sentence, followed by a detailed discussion and examples.

Remember: A detailed outline will come in handy.

5. write the introduction

It’s usually easier to write the introduction after completing the essay’s body because you now know precisely what your paper is all about and which information will have a significant impact. To grab the reader’s attention, start your introduction with a quote, a story, a shocking fact or a short summary of your topic. Link these sentences to your thesis statement to round off your introduction.

Remember: Keep it short and to the point.

6. write the conclusion

The conclusion should tie your thesis together, provide final perspective and summarise your main discussion points. Keep it simple yet convincing.

Remember: Never introduce a new idea in your conclusion.

7. complete your reference list

Whenever research is involved, you’re required to include a bibliography detailing which references you consulted. In-text references are crucial, but you can become quite confused trying to keep track of it all. A simple approach would be to add a reference to your bibliography the first time you use it in your text ─ just double-check to avoid duplicates.

Remember: Plagiarism is a serious offence.

8. polish your writing

Your essay isn’t complete until you’ve proofread your work. Should time be on your side, leave your writing for a few hours or days and revisit it. Ensure the general structure is as planned and sentences have a logical, smooth flow. Review the instructions and style guide, and make sure you’ve adhered to the specifications. Finally, use a spellchecker or send your writing to a professional editor.

Remember: Revise, revise, revise!

Whether you’re writing your PhD dissertation, an Honours thesis or a short essay for school ─ apply these aspects to your writing and great results will follow.