I have wrote a lot of essays in my time: College, University, PGCE and Masters. All in all, I have probably spent a large chunk of my life redrafting my own work a few thousand times to make it better. These are my top ten tips that I wish I had known at the start of my essay writing journey.
Trusty Tool Number One: Planning
Write a rough plan or guide for the different sections of your essay. This will help you maintain control over your writing and to avoid tangents and irrelevant material. When creating a design plan for your essay do not just stick to the lecture notes or tutorial content. Independent study is imperative.
Trusty Tool Number Two: Pick your sources carefully
Only reference books and journals, treat online articles ( even BBC news articles) as a rare treat. This is because they are hard to source and may still be based on unreliable or biased views. Also if you find your own sources it is worth checking with your seminar leader that they are appropriate. What might be a good article might be considered not quite reputable enough, especially if you base a significant part of your argument on it. It is also important to note not to use too many sources or else you are just seen to be copying others’ work. Try include a good balance of primary and secondary sources.