Tips on writing an academic essay.

Final post before my exams. 13 days left to study for it and I’m not really prepared. Time is running out. & my notes are still incomplete. Just when I felt so “sian” of doing notes, I went in to the student portal to check my grades for the final assignment and it shocked me beyond my expectations. So now I feel more motivated to study after looking at the positive comments from my lecturer and for commending my effort for this final paper. Thank God for seeing me through my final assignment in university! This wouldn’t have been possible if not for Him 😀 At the same time, I’m worried that I would develop some form of complacency about my results. I guess that’s the danger of doing well for assignments.

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7 tips to scoring well in essays. I promise it would be less than 500 words. 🙂

#1: Keep your introduction short and brief.

#2: Your essay should have a consistent flow, well-organised and your points are coherent enough for the lecturer to understand. In your statements, you have to reflect your understanding by illustrating your points with examples, or citing research evidence to support your points.

#3: Of course you should stick to the requirements of the essay as well. For example, if your essay should be 10-12 pages long, the point is to make it concise and try not to exceed that amount. If you can stick to the word/page limit then you are concised enough. If you are afraid of exceeding, then insert appendices or annex at the end (but this is really time consuming). You may end up doing lots of research to backup your points but are they relevant to the topic you are going to mention? Would you be able to link back to what the question wants?

#4: Avoid repetitive points. The longer your essay is, the higher risk that you will end up talking out of point. Try to keep sentences short and sweet, not more than 1.5 lines if possible. Also, the essence in doing literature reviews stems in your ability to draw out the crux of your findings via summary and not just blatantly copy and paste from the abstract section of journal articles.

#5: The points raised should be unique enough/stand out from the rest, so that the lecturer will want to give you higher marks for that. Student A and B may take references from similar sources but if you take an extra step to identify or mention the implications of your findings, (eg; What additional insights have you got to offer/reflections) then it would be easier for you to get higher grades for the essay. This also helps to show your understanding and ability to reflect deeply.

#6: The vocabulary words that you use also does have an impact. The words that you use are the ones that gives weight and impact to your essay. “Leveraging on cost effective measures” would definitely seem more powerful than “using cost effective measures” and “tapping on resources that are cost effective”. Thesaurus.com can be your best friend if you use it properly and not change the meaning of the words that you originally wanted to bring out.

#7: Lastly, the conclusion for your essay is a summary of whatever you have discussed in the essay. Ending off the essay well is important as it succinctly brings out the main highlights too. This may be a saving grace for your entire essay if you *touchwood* screwed most of it up.

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[p.s. 442 words. I kept to my promise. Thanks for reading I hope it’s been helpful! :)]

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