Most pieces of writing you will be expected to produce at university will be argumentative or thesis-based essays. Rather than merely regurgitating other people’s ideas, this means that you will be expected to articulate a clear, coherent position of your own, and to support it using arguments and evidence. It is this emphasis upon rational argumentation and objective inquiry that makes academic writing different from that of most other genres.
Each discipline also has its own unique body of theory, methodology, technical vocabulary, and even referencing formats. The sooner you master those pertinent to your own subject the better. Some points to keep in mind when writing your university essays are as follows:
- Begin by outlining what you are going to say, how you will structure your arguments, and what evidence you will draw upon to substantiate your claims. This means setting an early deadline for your first draft, leaving ample time for revisions and improvements later.
- Make sure your reading is always guided by the essay question in order to produce focused notes, and only include in the essay what is relevant to answering the question.
- Your introductory paragraph should clearly state your understanding of the question and outline the structure of the essay to follow.
- Use plain language to make your points and avoid convoluted sentences.
- Ensure that each step in the argument is clearly signposted so that the reader is never left wondering why a particular point is being made.
- Substantiate your claims with arguments and evidence, avoid over-reliance on particular texts, critically evaluate your sources, demonstrate awareness of different points of view, and be sure to anticipate counter-objections to your claims.
- Do not introduce new material into your conclusion but succinctly summarise your arguments and demonstrate how you have answered the question.
- Carefully proof-read, revise and edit your work (or have somebody else do it for you) to ensure correct spelling, grammar and punctuation, and be sure to format and reference it in accordance with your department’s preferred specifications.
An outstanding essay at university level will typically exhibit the following characteristics:
- a clear, concise introduction providing a strong thesis statement and directives for where the paper is heading;
- a coherent structure, broken up where appropriate into sections and sub-sections;
- clarity of expression and a high standard of academic English; a firm grasp of relevant theory;
- claims supported with rigorous argumentation, relevant evidence and appropriate citations;
- an even-handed engagement with counter-arguments and counter-examples;
- a strong conclusion;
- and professional presentation with properly cited references.
For free, subject-specific advice on writing essays in different faculties and disciplines, check out our Areas of Expertise page. If you need help with a particular style of essay, you can find the advice you need on our essay help pages. 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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