When you’ve put a graft into your essays and dissertations, getting a First at uni is always going to be the goal. When it comes to writing your first assignment, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and like you have no idea how to write an essay. Chances are you haven’t written anything academic since your A-levels.
You’ve had all the fun you can manage during freshers, and now it’s time to get the ball rolling on your studies. Now getting a first is naturally pretty tricky. Even if you leave things to the last minute, we pulled out a few hot tips to get you on the right path to smashing your next essay.
First things first, look at the rubric for both your department and for your assignment. This rubric breaks down what’s expected in your essays, and it’ll show you the steps you need to take to get a top grade. The rubric will give you ideas on clarity, structure, how to use secondary sources, that type of thing.
Familiarising yourself with the rubric will give you the best chance of acing your essay and getting the best marks you can. It’s a chance to raise any questions about the rubric, and solidify in your mind how you can get the extra marks you need.
It’s so easy to let life get in the way, so planning your time might be easier said than done. But it’s worth giving yourself a loose idea of what you want to write every week, so you don’t leave it all till the night before hand in. Save the stressy moments researching and writing the thing late at night before it’s due.
Don’t forget when you’re planning a long day in the library, factor in time to take a few breaks. You don’t want to be sat for hours at a time, driving yourself into an unproductive hole.
To find the direction you need for your essay, however long it is, piece together an outline with a course of argument. Structuring your essay is crucial for readability, and will help you present a clear and concise display of your opinions.
This is a big one for any essay writing. Especially the essays that require references, research is essential. It’s so much harder to write an essay, or even pencil out a plan, when you haven’t got an idea of the references and sources you’re working with. Most essays will require some level of academic referencing, no matter what subject, so research is a must.
The introduction, funnily enough, is your first opportunity to wow the marker reading your work. Make sure your introduction clearly states what you will go on to explore in the essay, and gives an outline of the points you’re going to convey. Some people like to leave the intro till the very end, so you can easily summarise what you’ve just written.
If you make a claim you will always want to support it with some form of evidence. This is the way you show support your opinions, display the research you conducted, and suggests how your academic work responds to, and builds on other existing academia.
The way in which you write your essays stands for a lot. Writing clearly and concisely is one of the hardest skills. How do you convey all your points, simply but informatively, while still hitting the word count you need. Lecturers will always have mountains of submissions to review, so your writing needs to be crystal clear to show off the points you are making. Develop all your points with a thorough analysis, with relevant references, within a clear and flowing essay structure. Don’t forget, correct grammar is always a must, so you should steer away from ‘jargon’.
After many hours of work, it can be tricky to get to know if you are on the right track with your essay writing. Try to find an opportunity to get in touch with your tutor, and see if they can review a portion of your essay for you. A great point of reference to make sure you’re ticking all the boxes you need to get a first class grade, and if there are any areas you can improve on.
Take a break, and then carefully look over your essay with fresh eyes to make sure that everything actually makes sense. You’ll be surprised how mad some of your wording has been when you’ve been tired and in the zone. But coming back with fresh eyes will give you a little reset and let you look at things fresh and re-energised to polish off your work. It saves you from handing in a project that really doesn’t make sense and you’ve left something that you wish you shouldn’t have.
When you’re proofreading, don't forget to double check all your references and ensure it conforms with the correct referencing styles. Also worth double checking that you aren’t missing any references you have cited from another source, so you can steer clear from any accidental plagiarism.
With these little tips and tricks you’ll be on your way to getting a first! Just make sure that you give yourself time to research, write and check over your essay, and you’re good to go! It’s always a super stressful time when deadlines are looming, so make sure that you still take time for yourself so you can do your best work, and save the tiredness and stress overloads. Want to figure out everything else there is to know about surviving uni, head on over to our
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