Essay writing can be daunting for people who have little experience in writing. Students are typically required to write essays on a variety of topics throughout their school and college lives. For some, it is really easy to write an essay, but for others, it is quite unintuitive.
If you are such a person who has trouble writing essays, then this guide is for you. If you apply these six strategies, then you can dramatically improve the success rate of your essays. No matter how you define success (i.e., good marks, shortlisting for admission, etc., etc.), following these tips will definitely help you. So, without further ado, let’s learn the six effective strategies for improving your essay writing skills.
6 Strategies for Ensuring the Success of Your Essay
1. Improve Your Research Skill
Essays are usually written to either inform your audience or persuade them to do something. They are less formal than a proper thesis, but that doesn’t mean that you are allowed to be casual. In the end, essays are a sort of academic writing. And all academic writing is based on research.
That’s where you have to begin. You should learn to improve your research skills to make your essay’s success rate skyrocket. The better information you have the better you will be able to articulate it and thereby educate or persuade your audience.
So, how can you improve your research skills? Follow these tips and you will get better at researching and retaining information.
- Keep notes when researching. Learn or create your own shorthand to save more information in less time.
- Try to limit your research to academic papers, books, and journals. Go for web articles if you can’t find relevant information.
- Always use the latest information. Try to limit your research to articles and sources published within the year. If you have to use an old source, don’t use sources more than five years old.
- Track your sources. Always know which information you got from which source. Your notes should help with that.
- Watch videos about complex topics where they use visual aids to break down the topic. This improves your understanding of the topic.
Good research skills will ensure that you are able to write well about any topic and thus inform or persuade people effectively through your essays.
2. Enhance the Clarity of Your Write-ups
Just good command over your essay topic is not enough to make your essay successful. Your essay needs to be written well enough for most of its audience to understand it. The best way to achieve that is to make your writing very clear and straightforward.
You should do away with all the things that make your writing difficult to understand. Idioms, metaphors, figurative words, and difficult words all make a text difficult to understand.
These are all things you have to be conscious of when writing your essay. If you have cultivated a writing style that makes a lot of use of these elements, then you will have a lot of trouble adapting to a new writing style. But here are some tips that can help you.
- Write short sentences. Try to keep things as short as possible and leave out anything that is not necessary.
- Use simple words and phrases that are commonly used in daily life so that more people can understand your essay.
- Avoid using technical jargon as much as possible. Only use it where it is strictly necessary.
- Format your essay into clear sections. Each section should deal with one subtopic only. This makes it easy for readers to keep track of what they are reading.
- Use active voice instead of passive voice. It is clearer and easier to follow.
If you have trouble with using simple words and short sentences, then you can get some help from content optimization tools such as paraphrasers. Just remember to consistently practice making these things second nature.
3. Improve Your Grammar
Grammar is the building block of language. A poor command of grammar means that your essay will be incoherent and non-sensical. That directly reduces the success rate of your essay. A teacher will not give good grades to such an essay. And if it’s a scholarship or admission essay, then the organization will disregard it quickly.
To improve your grammar, you can do the following things.
- Study the rules of grammar and how they are applied. Use books and online resources to help you.
- Use exercise books of grammar that have helpful quizzes and practice exercises.
- Proofread your writing to see how many mistakes you can make yourself.
- Utilize third parties such as coworkers, classmates, friends, and family members for proofreading and getting feedback.
You can also conduct a grammar check with online tools if you have trouble finding people who are good at English. Online grammar checkers can point out common mistakes like spelling errors, typos, erroneous punctuation, and incorrect word forms. They also provide explanations and corrections for all detected mistakes which is great for learning.
So, improving your grammar in this way can increase the success rate of your essay.
4. Avoid Informal Writing Styles
We mentioned it before, but essays are a type of academic writing. So, unless the essay prompt asks otherwise, you have to stick to a formal style. This is not to say that informal styles don’t have their place, they do. But they are typically used in blogs and web articles.
Essays on the other hand need to give the image that a scholar wrote them. So, what are the components of a formal writing style? The most important ones are listed below.
- Only the standard form of English is used in formal writing. Regional dialects and accents are not reflected in the standard form of English.
- No slang or contractions are used in formal writing. That means using words like “won’t, can’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t, etc.” are not allowed.
- Lack of personal pronouns. In formal writing, the writer rarely refers to themselves or other people using personal pronouns (such as you, he, she, I, me, etc.,).
- No colloquial language is used. Some words/phrases used in daily life are altered to make them sound shorter such as the phrase “want to” is shortened to “wanna”. Such words are called colloquial language and they are very informal. So don’t use them in your essay.
The professional aura emanating from your essay will vastly improve the chances of your essay earning a good grade and being accepted.
5. Level Up Your Proofreading Skills
Proofreading is the ultimate test for a writer. How well a writer proofreads directly controls the quality of their essays. You may think to yourself that editors can do that job just fine, but why is the writer supposed to be good at it? Well, the short answer is that you can’t guarantee that an editor will be available or not.
More often than not, you will find that you need to proofread and edit your work yourself. If your proofreading skills are bad, then your essay won’t be as polished as it could be. That’s why I learn how to proofread effectively.
Now, some aspects of proofreading such as checking for spelling mistakes and grammar can be done with the help of tools. We already discussed that in a previous heading. But what are some other things that are checked in proofreading?
- Reading difficulty.
Plagiarism is a tricky thing. If you use someone’s work without crediting them, then you are committing plagiarism. But this can also happen by coincidence. So, checking for plagiarism is necessary. You can do that by using a plagiarism checker, which is a tool that does exactly what its name says. A plagiarism checker identifies sources that have matching content in your essay and shows them to you. This helps you remove plagiarism and avoid getting penalized.
Rechecking the format, flow, and readability is a good thing to do as some issues might surface that were previously not obvious. We have already discussed how to take care of these things, so we won’t mention them again.
6. Practice Writing on a Variety of Topics
In the end, your writing skills are your greatest asset. Polishing them is necessary for ensuring the success of your essays. So, polish them by writing on a variety of topics. The more topics you can write about the more comfortable you will get with writing. That will improve the quality of your essays.
When you are comfortable with writing, your flow, vocabulary, and structure become very fluid and natural. This kind of writing is well-liked by the audience as well. Teachers will be more likely to give higher grades to this kind of essay. A judging panel is also more receptive to essays that are discussing topics in a freely flowing manner.
This kind of confidence and comfort comes from writing a lot on varied topics. To practice try to write on the following kinds of topics.
- Political state of your country, or world leaders.
- The economic state of your country
- New technological developments of the year
- New cars are being manufactured.
- History of a specific region
- The cultural heritage of a specific region
You can write on all sorts of topics to build your confidence and become comfortable with writing. Our advice is to start practicing with topics that relate to your hobbies. Those are the easiest to write about. You will feel less pressure, and the added joy of exploring your hobby will enhance your state.
So, there you have it. Six strategies for improving the success rate of your essay. All the tips are about improving essays in one way or another. That’s because ultimately, an essay’s success depends on its quality.
So, if writers can correctly apply the six strategies, they will be able to improve their essay quality. The best thing about these strategies is that you don’t need to pay for anything. It just takes some consistent effort on your part to reap their benefits.
So, if you are someone trying to improve the success rate of your essays, give these strategies a try. It will be worth the time and effort.