Before you start writing an essay, there are many things that you should do to prepare yourself.
6 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU START WRITING AN ESSAY
- Write a working thesis statement
- Do preliminary research
- Organize thoughts into an outline
- Modify outline into paragraphs
- Proofread Paper several times
- Submit for grading/understanding
Write a working thesis statement
This is the main rule in writing essays and it needs to be considered first. A thesis statement tells the reader what your opinion is about a topic and informs them of the reasons that you believe that opinion to be correct, or why you will argue for that position. You can think of it as an ‘elevator pitch’ – if someone asks “What is your essay going to be about?” Your response should be something like:
“My essay will address X topic and will provide Y evidence for my conclusion.”
“My argument/thesis will prove Z about this topic using W information.”
What do I mean by ‘Write working thesis statement’? I mean to develop a thesis statement that is broad enough to allow the paper to take off and narrow enough to keep you from wandering too far away from it. Think of your thesis as all of your arguments tied together by one central idea. If you only argue for A, B and C, then your paper will suffer because there was not a clear ‘purpose’ behind it’s creation (other than just making an argument).
Do preliminary research
You should always know what your topic entails before you start trying to understand it. While many people think that they can ‘wing’ their way through a paper, the truth is that if you don’t know what you’re talking about, then your argument will fall apart. Your instructor has assigned you a topic because they believe that you will be able to provide some insight into it, or discuss new ideas on the subject. It is your job to understand that topic, not to re-invent it for them.
Organize thoughts into an outline
While the steps are listed in order of importance, this is the most important one to follow after writing a working thesis statement. An outline will allow you to properly structure your paper and make sure that your argument flows in a way that makes sense. It will also serve as a list of points for you to reference throughout the writing process, allowing you to develop more content for your essay with ease.
Modify outline into paragraphs
Your ‘outline’ should be modified into paragraphs which discuss each aspect of your argument’s development. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence that explains what is being discussed, and a few sentences after it which explain why you think your thesis is correct.
Proofread Paper several times
You should always run spell check on your computer before submitting any paper for grading, but this does not replace the need to proofread your work several times before handing it in. Typos and grammatical errors are distractions from the content of your paper, do not let them get in the way of receiving a high grade or understanding on what you have written.
Submit for grading/understanding
After you have completed all of the steps in this article, submit your paper for grading. This will allow you to get feedback on your paper, which you can then use to improve it. It is better to have a well written essay that receives a score of 85/100 than an excellent one that gets 50/100 because it has many grammatical errors or typos.
That’s pretty much it. The important thing that you should take away from this article is the need to go back and edit your work, because making a few small changes can sometimes make all of the difference in persuading your reader.