10 Ways to Write Better Essays January 19 2012

It doesn't matter if you're in elementary school or college, it's important to know how to write an essay. As a fourth-grade teacher with state writing tests looming each spring, I have taught kids the general and finer points of constructing a basic essay. This guest post reveals helpful tips for kids of all ages when faced with a writing prompt, from brainstorming to final draft!

For many people, writing an essay can be a daunting task. Oftentimes, the essay is part of a grade for a class or affects whether or not you're accepted into a school where you desire to study. The following are 10 ways to write better essays:

  1. Read and reread the essay's instructions. A major part of writing a better essay is understanding the topic and essay requirements. Don't simply read the first sentence or two and assume you understand the requirements.
  2. List out the requirements in a checklist. One way to write better essays is to use the essay requirements as a checklist that you can grade yourself against when you are finished.
  3. Use the essay requirements as a writing outline. The best essays cover every single point noted in the requirements. Take those points and use them as the outline for your essay, and be sure you discuss them in both your introduction and conclusion.
  4. Remember what an essay is and isn't. An essay is usually an opinion-based form of writing. Although you should state facts to support your opinions, it is not simply a regurgitation of facts. The best essays take facts and use them to support opinions.
  5. Read other essays. One of the best ways to write better essays is to read essays that others have written. This helps expose you to different writing styles and tones that you can adapt to your own writing.
  6. Check your formatting. Chances are your essays have some sort of formatting guide that you need to follow. Make a good essay even better by ensuring you conform to these guidelines.
  7. Double-check your vocabulary. Although you want to impress the reader with your wordsmithing prowess, be sure to double-check the meaning behind words you are less familiar with before you use them. For example, there is a significant difference between the words tantamount and paramount, yet people use them interchangeably.
  8. Don’t rush. Schedule time to write your essay, so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute to get it done. The best essays are thoughtfully written, and waiting until the eleventh hour to start is counterproductive to thoughtful writing.
  9. Proofread your essay. If you want to write a better essay, edit the one you’ve just written. Even the best piece of writing can be tweaked just a little to make it even better. Ask a friend to proofread it as well, to catch any mistakes you may have missed.
  10. Think outside the box. If you want to take your essay writing from good to great, approach the topic with a different slant. Don’t just go for the obvious response to an essay question; instead, aim to highlight your critical thinking skills.

Being a student wasn't easy when Randall Davidson, a co-founder of ProofreadingServices.Us, was a student and it's not easy now either. To support dedicated and driven students in their pursuit of great writing skills, Randall Davidson's company offers ESL proofreading and essay proofreading services.