There are more than 5000 searches in Google every month for essay writing tips– which is, certainly, an indication that there are lot of students out there looking for help writing an essay.
If you are one of those people searching for essay writing tips, and you have made your way to this page on the internet, I want to be sure to deliver the information that you are looking for.
After all, I am an Essay Tutor, and I help students write compelling essays and get better grades, so I should be able to come up with a few tips for writing essays.
So, what advice would I give to a student at any academic level – high school, college or graduate school – on how to write a good essay?
Are there any essay-writing tips that work for all students in all situations?
I think there are – with a few possible exceptions, perhaps.
Why Do Students Have to Write Essays, Anyway?
Like all forms of writing, essay-writing is comprised of two components – thinking and writing.
A lot of people don’t understand that.
You might be able to write an email or a text without giving a bit of thought, but you can’t write an essay without thinking it through beforehand.
If you have read other posts on the website, you may be aware that I taught English at both the high school and university levels, and I had a great many students come to me for help writing an essay.
I would always begin by asking the student to tell me what his or her essay was about, and, invariably, the response would some variation on the theme of “I don’t know”.
It doesn’t matter what academic level you are at – if you cannot “talk” your essay out loud you cannot write it.
When I was an undergraduate in the English Department at the University of Toronto, I used to write all of my essays in the Reading Room at University College, where all of my classes were held.
I would spend days reading and thinking about my essay and then when I was ready to begin writing it, I would sit down at one of the big tables, take out a large legal pad and madly scribble my essay by hand.
I didn’t have a tape recorder in those days so this was my equivalent of “talking my essay out loud”.
My handwriting was so bad that sometimes I had trouble decoding what I had written – but I would “talk” my essay out onto the legal pad as fast as I could.
When I was finished doing that, I would get up and go home.
Sometimes I would only stay in the Reading Room for an hour – or even less.
But when I got up to leave, I knew that I had broken the back of my essay assignment – all I had to do now was “write it up”.
But that was the easy part because I had already “talked my essay out loud”.
Essay Tip #1: Talk Your Essay Out Loud
By the time I got to graduate school, I had invested in a little tape recorder – and that made essay writing even easier.
Now, of course, you can record on a wide variety of digital devices that cost a lot less than the micro-cassette recorder that I was using back in graduate school.
If you want to improve your essay-writing skills, invest in a digital recorder and, before you begin to “write” your essay, talk it into your digital recorder.
If you can’t do that, you are not ready to write your essay.
Because you don’t know what your essay is about yet.
And the biggest mistake that students make is trying to write an essay before they know what it is about.
Just imagine yourself sitting beside someone on a train at the beginning of a journey of several hours.
You want to tell the person seated beside you about something interesting that you have read or heard about.
That “something interesting” that you have read or heard about is your essay.
if you can’t tell the person seated beside you on a train about your essay, you haven’t given it enough thought, you haven’t formulated it in your mind and you are certainly not ready to write it.
The Best Essays Sound Like They Were Written by an Authority on the Subject
I referred earlier in this article to my days as an undergraduate and graduate student at university.
I have four university degrees including two Master’s degrees and I attended graduate school on full scholarship.
So, those are my credentials as an “essay writer” – I wrote a lot of essays as an undergraduate and as a graduate student and I did pretty well.
And yet, I’m no genius.
I’m just a pretty good essay writer.
And, if there is one common element among all of the good essays that I wrote (I wrote a few “stinkers” too) it is that I had total and complete confidence in my point of view.
In the good essays that I wrote, I always sounded like I knew more about what I was writing about than anybody else.
How did I do that?
There was no single way – it varied, depending upon the subject matter – but I always wrote with conviction.
Conviction is the literary equivalent of “swagger”.
And what are you “swaggering” about in your essay?
Your point of view, your argument – otherwise known as your “thesis”.
The secret to a really effective is a strong, clear and convincing thesis.
Essay Tip #2: Express Your Thesis With Swagger
In most subject areas, there are no right or wrong theses – there are just weak or strong ones.
I am speaking generally here because with more than 5000 students searching every month for essay writing tips, virtually any statement that I make will be subject to some exceptions.
But generally – what every essay assignment is really measuring is the student’s ability to develop a strong thesis and support it with logical and persuasive evidence.
An essay is an exercise in reasoning, not regurgitation.
Once you have thought your essay through to the point at which you can “talk it out loud” – the next step is to express your thesis with conviction or even swagger, if you can.
You might get burned once or twice if you go overboard and start sounding arrogant – which I did a few times in my academic career – but more often than not, you will be rewarded for your boldness.
Most teachers, instructors and professors will recognize and reward a student who really takes ownership of an essay topic – even if he or she does not necessarily agree with the position taken.
My Essay-Tutoring Services Are For Students Who Are Serious About Success
I have provided two tips for writing essays in this article: 1) don’t write your essay until you can “talk it out loud” and 2) when you do write it, take complete ownership of your topic and sound like an authority.
If you are able to integrate both of these tips into your essay writing, you will almost certainly write compelling essays and get better grades.
Having said that, be aware that these are not easy tips to master – it took me years to become an accomplished essay writer – and it is very hard to do without professional guidance.
If you are serious about getting good grades – I’m talking about A’s and A+’s – I invite you to contact me any time via:
I look forward to connecting with you soon!
Another Perspective on Essay Writing Tips
In addition to expressing my own views on essay writing, I like to share other perspectives with my readers, as well.
The video below is well worth watching: