If left unplanned, the reading stage can swallow up huge amounts of time.Fortunately, there is scope for developing efficiency in several ways: While a certain level of efficiency is desirable, it is also important to remain flexible enough to identify relevant and interesting ideas that you had not anticipated.To produce a high quality essay you need to demonstrate your ability: The need to use such a wide range of academic skills is probably the main reason why the essay format is so popular with tutors as an assignment.
It is worth attending to all of the suggestions and comments you receive, and trying to act on them.
Common criticism given to students is that their essay: These elements will be used to give a broad overall structure to this Study Guide.
However, even in those essays that appear to be highly creative, unscientific, or personal, an argument of some kind is being made.
It is the argument, and how you decide to present and back up your argument, that will influence your decision on how to structure your essay.
Then you need to plan how you will respond to every single element of the title.
The guidance given to you by the title is freely available, and is your best clue to what is required in your essay. Three, answer the question.’ This is important at the start, but also throughout your writing, as it can be easy to drift away and waste valuable words from your word limit by writing material that may be interesting, but which is not relevant to the title set.You can use the writing process to help you think through, clarify and develop your early ideas about how you might respond to the title that has been set: ‘you may not know what you think until you have written it down’ (Creme & Lea, 1997 p115).As with teaching, it is often not until you try to communicate an argument and its evidence that you find where the gaps are in your knowledge or argument.Editing your writing as you develop your ideas is a positive not a negative process: the more you cross out, re-write, and re-order, the better your essay should become. The structure may be strong and clear, or it may be unobtrusive and minimal but, in a good essay, it will be there.Underpinning the structure will be the ‘argument’ your essay is making.Again this may be strong and obvious, or it may be almost invisible, but it needs to be there.In different subject areas, and with different styles of writing, the term ‘argument’ may seem more or less relevant.As a tutor has said (Creme and Lea, 1997 p41): ‘When my students ask me about essay writing, there are three main pieces of advice that I give them. The Mini Guide: Essay terms explained, and Questions to ask about interpreting essay titles may be useful.To start you off, and to minimise the likelihood of writer’s block, a useful exercise is to do a ‘brainstorm’ of all your ideas in connection with the essay title. It can be much less stressful to throw all your thoughts down on paper, before you start trying to find answers to these questions.The most important starting point is to listen carefully to what the essay title is telling you.You need to read every single word of it, and to squeeze out as much guidance you can from the title.