50 Tips to Improve Your Essay

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 42
  • Published : May 7, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
50 Ways to Improve Your Essay Grade

Print out this page and the next one, and then use them as a quality control check list as you begin developing your essay:

GENERAL

1)  Familiarize yourself with the grade scheme… 3
2)  Look at your past feedback… 4
3)  Familiarize yourself with the course aims… 5
4)  Consider creating your own question… 5
5)  Narrow down the scope of a general question… 6
6)  Listen out for specific advice from the tutor… 6

DEVELOPMENT

7)  Start as early as possible… 7
8)  Answer only the exact question set… 9
9)  Leave time to review your work… 9
10)  Assess and redraft your essay… 9
11)  Focus on staying within the word limit… 10

RESEARCH

12)  Go beyond lecture material… 11
13)  Focus on the best academic sources… 11
14)  Focus on printed sources… 13
15)  Find good examples… 13

STYLE

16)  Write in clear plain English… 15
17)  Write in proper sentences… 15
18)  Write in the third person… 15
19)  Write in active sentences… 16
20)  Write in varied short sentences... 16
21)  Write with confidence and conviction… 17
22)  Avoid abbreviations and short forms… 17
23)  Avoid rhetorical questions and exclamations… 17 24)  Avoid lists… 18
25)  Avoid subheadings… 18
26)  Be precise in your language… 18
27)  Define ambiguous and academic terms… 18
28)  Avoid slang and informal speech… 19
29)  Write in long, single point paragraphs… 19
30)  Introduce academic thinkers… 20
31)  Use appropriate referencing… 20

Argument

32)  Avoid the personal angle… 22
33)  Always have a main case… 22
34)  State your main case in the last sentence of the first paragraph… 23 35)  Unpack your main case point by point… 23
36)  Stick to between 4 and 7 main points… 23
37)  Include “signpost” sentences… 24
38)  Avoid unverifiable or hypothetical examples… 24 39)  Be critical in developing and stating your ideas… 24 40)  Address important counter-arguments… 25

Structure

41)  Plan the first draft in advance… 26
42)  Write the question as your title… 26
43)  Have an introduction, main body and conclusion… 26 44)  Write a strong introduction… 27
45)  Stick to one issue and follow it through… 28
46)  Outline the theme and problem first… 28
47)  Note what has already been said … 28
48)  Make paragraphs that link to each other…28
49)  Use quotations appropriately… 29
50)  Finish on a strong conclusion… 29

Appendix A: Further Reading … 31
Appendix B: Example Essay Plan … 32

Appendix C: Improving on a High Grade … 35

GENERAL ADVICE

1. Familiarize yourself with the grade scheme.

Some of your markers might be harder or softer, but this is what they will all be using judge your work. Know the grade scheme and you will know what to aim for. You can usually find it somewhere in the back of your department’s handbooks for students. A typical one might look like this:

Fails…
0-24: Does not understand even the basic themes of the module; no obvious thought, argument, conclusions or referencing. Often written unclearly. [Completely irrelevant or useless writing]

25-32: Not much thought, poorly written, often outside module themes with almost no evaluation or attempt at conclusion. [Un-researched waffle and ‘common sense’ opinion. Often short because the student did not know anything to say.]

33-39: Disjointed, superficial or generalized account, poorly written and based on inadequate sources and lacking in critical thought or significant reference to theory. [Often short; could approximate garbled lecture material with one or two more obvious academics mentioned. Student...
tracking img