10 Steps to Writing an Awesome Essay

The word essay has tormented students for generations. It can make you tremble with fear or send you to sleep with the boredom… but I hate to sound ‘on trend’ but it is the way it is. It doesn’t matter how many creative adaptations of writing you may do throughout the year, the essay assessment and exam is always looming.


So, ultimately, you've just gotta grab the bull by the horns, and face it head on!


It IS possible to simplify the essay writing process by following a number of steps that should help you to write an awesome essay.


Before the assessment

1. Review your texts: set yourself up for success by gathering your notes and reviewing the texts you have studied in class. Try categorising your notes with key headings.


2. Scan the curriculum: Have you ever heard your teacher talk about the Curriculum or Study Design? It is quite wordy but it is what the assessments and exams will refer to. Download a copy of WA curriculum here or your VCE Study Design here and read through it by looking for key words. These key words could be used in the questions.


3. Practice. Find all the essay questions you can and apply a variety of practice techniques such as: plan a whole essay, write an introduction, write a body paragraph, time yourself, annotate the question… 


During the assessment

4. Read the question: Der… sounds obvious but REALLY read it. That means highlight the key words and annotate them. This is also a cheat’s way for planning because you can save time by exploring and gathering your ideas at this step.


5. Plan? Do you have time? Perhaps draft your thesis statement and write headings for the focus of each body paragraph.


6. Write the essay: Everyone has their favourite way of remembering how to structure an essay but they are essentially all the same - Introduction, 3 Body Paragraphs, Conclusion. Keep reading if you want to learn more about this structure.


7. Introduction: Do not discount the importance of an introduction. Many students rely on the LPT acronym to follow for their introduction. Lead-in, Plot Summary, Thesis Statement.


The Lead-in, as it sounds should lead the marker into the essay, so say something that is relevant to the text or essay without getting specific. If the question refers to the representation of teenagers start off by saying something generic about teenagers in society.


Plot Summary is where you start to get more specific, in one or two sentences summarise the plot but make sure it contributes to your thesis statement and lead-in. Be selective.


Your thesis statement is perhaps your most important sentence of the essay. This is what you will continue to refer back to throughout your essay. Make it good, make it clear and make sure it addresses all aspects of the question.


8. Body paragraphs (aim for 3): I like to follow TEET structure. Thesis Statement, Elaborate, Evidence, Tie-in. A template like this has probably been drilled in to you since you were the baby of the school.


It’s important to remember to incorporate detailed analysis and discussion with the Elaborate and Evidence section. Identify the convention, use examples and explain the relevance to your idea in this paragraph.


The final sentence (Tie-in) of each body paragraph should summarise your point in this paragraph and lead into the next.


9. Conclusion (T.A.S.): Like your introduction, don’t underestimate the importance of the conclusion. Allow yourself adequate time to do it properly, it should summarise your ideas and make a broad comment.


T=Thesis statement – reiterate your thesis statement.

A=sum up your main points of Argument – summarise the points have you made throughout your essay.

S= Significance – finish your essay by explaining the significance of your argument. Remember how general your very first sentence was? Conclude with something similar.


10. Read the essay: Hopefully you have time to read through your essay because it really does make a difference. Even if you simply scan for punctuation and spelling errors.


Writing an essay doesn’t have cause so much pain. Try to use these these step-by-step guidelines to work out what works for you so you can write an awesome essay.


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