Common Pitfalls in Essay Writing | Essay Writing Service UK

Common Pitfalls in Student Essay Writing

Many students find writing essays the most challenging aspect of their studies, yet rarely receive instruction on how to go about it. Instead, they're expected to simply pick it up on the fly. Learning how to write a good essay is not only about knowing what to do, but also about what to avoid doing.

An excellent way to find out what you need to do in order to attain the grade you're aiming for is to consult your department's evaluation criteria or marking scheme. This is what your tutors and lecturers will constantly refer to when deciding what mark to award your written work. Thus, if you're aiming to get a Upper Second or a First, you need to make sure that your work fulfils each of the criteria listed on the marking scheme for this class of grade. If you haven't yet got hold of your department's marking scheme, we recommend that you visit your departmental office and get hold of it right away.

Marking schemes are extremely helpful for informing you about what you need to do to get your desired grade. However, learning how to write a good essay is not only about knowing what to do, but equally about what to avoid doing. For this reason, we've collated thirty of the most common weaknesses examiners have reported finding in student assignments. The more of these errors you can avoid making in your essays and exams, the better your chances are of achieving a First-Class mark.

  • Failure to address the question
  • Poor essay planning
  • Weak essay structure
  • No clear introduction or conclusion
  • No clear argument or thesis
  • Basic premises and assumptions not explained
  • Ideas introduced without explanation or context
  • Summarising without elaboration
  • Statements unsupported by evidence
  • Quoting without evincing understanding
  • Failure to address opposing arguments
  • Contradictions between statements of fact or interpretation
  • Deviating from the topic
  • Insufficient development of core ideas
  • Opinions used as facts without critical comment
  • Alternative views or explanations ignored
  • Lack of critical analysis
  • Sequence of ideas unclear or illogical
  • Waffling, rambling sentences
  • Confusing switches of tense
  • Misuse of punctuation
  • Lack of transitional phrases
  • Lack of signposting
  • Repetition and redundancy
  • Convoluted and unintelligible sentences
  • Inconsistent use of language, tense and tone
  • Insufficient and inaccurate referencing
  • Insufficient background reading
  • Poor transitions between paragraphs
  • Later ideas have no relationship with previous statements

For free subject-specific advice on writing essays in different faculties and disciplines, check out our Areas of Expertise page. To find out how Essay Writing Service UK can help you with your university essay, take a look at our essay writing page. If you are looking for help with a dissertation, we have a variety of solutions available to assist you, from a dissertation proposal to the conclusion 

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