Explore the stages involved in producing a good college essay
In this essay I will be discussing the different stages involved in producing a good college essay from start to finish. I will describe exactly what an essay is, how to break down and understand an essay title, how to prepare to write an essay, the key stages in essay development and the role of self reflection on the development of your essay writing skills.
An essay is a major part of formal education and is used to access a student’s performance and show that they have researched and understood a particular subject or issue. It is a piece of writing with a particular structure and layout. “A short piece of writing on a particular subject, especially one done by students as part of the work for a course” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2009). “Usually it is written in a formal, academic style: the language is different from the way you speak….it is not conversational” (Cottrell 2008:175). An essay title is given and this is used as a ‘question’ which must be ultimately answered throughout the essay. You are expected to stick to exactly what the essay title is asking for. Before starting an essay you need to make sure that you understand what it is asking you to do. “Every question has key words, and identifying them will help you decide what the assignment is about and what you have to do” (The Open University 2007).
Once you have a clear idea of what the essay title is asking for you can then look more closely at the resources available to you, such as books, articles, class notes, the internet, television and newspapers. You need to weigh up the relevance of the information you find and be selective. You need to ask yourself ‘Do I need the information?’ and ‘How will I use this information?’ (Cottrell 2008:176). It is important to record which recourses you found your information in to avoid plagiarism. All recourses used in the essay needs to be listed in a reference list at the end of the essay...
References: Cottrell, S (2008) The Study Skills Handbook Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
The Open University (2009) Preparing Assignments available at:
[accessed 11th December 2009]
Cambridge Dictionaries Online (2009) Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary available at:
[accessed 7th December 2009]
Edinburgh Napier University (2009) Get ready for university study available at: http://www2.napier.ac.uk/getready/writing_presenting/essays.html
[accessed 12th December
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