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15 Tips to Help You Write a Stellar Essay
Essay-writing can be easier than you might think if you have a grasp of the basics and a willingness to engage with the subject matter. Here are 15 top tips for writing a stellar essay.
Do Your Research
This is one of the most important tips you’ll ever receive. Research thoroughly, even if it means you have too many notes. It’s better to have to leave stuff out than not have enough to write about.
Make an Outline
Without a properly structured outline (with an intro, a four- to five-point body and a conclusion), your essay may be hard to write and to follow.
While you might just be writing your essay for a teacher or professor that is paid to read it, it still pays to grab their attention. A “hook” like a quote or surprising statistic in your intro can make your reader want to read on.
Lay Out Your Thesis
The intro isn’t all about flair and grabbing attention. It’s also about laying out your thesis. Make your main argument clear in the first few sentences, setting up a question to answer or statement to prove.
Avoid Passive Voice
If you want your writing to be persuasive, passive voice should be avoided. (That sentence was full of it, by the way. For example, “You should avoid passive voice” is a more convincing way to say “passive voice should be avoided.”)
Avoid First-Person Voice
If you’re writing an academic essay, you should almost certainly avoid first-person voice. In other words, avoid saying “I” or “my.” Also restrict your use of the second-person voice (e.g., don’t use “you” unless it’s necessary).
Start With Your Strongest Point
In general, it’s a good idea to start with your strongest argument in your first body paragraph. This sets the scene nicely. However, this might not be appropriate if you are structuring your essay points chronologically.
Relate All Points Back to Your Thesis
Make it clear to your reader how each point you make relates back to your thesis (i.e., the question or statement in your introduction, and probably your title too). This helps them to follow your argument.
Contextualize Without Losing Focus
Add contextualizing information for a richer presentation of your topic. For example, it’s fine (or even desirable) to discuss the historical background for certain events. Just don’t get bogged down by irrelevant details.
Use Transition Phrases
Transition phrases, such as “furthermore,” “by contrast” and “on the other hand,” can also help your reader to follow your argument. But don’t overuse them at the cost of clarity. Read your essay aloud to gauge how it flows.
Conclude With a Return to Your Thesis
A conclusion can do many things, but it’s useful to think of it as an answer to the question or statement in your intro. It’s sensible to summarize your key points, but always relate back to your thesis.
Make Your Conclusion Seem Obvious
Restating your thesis in your conclusion (after having made all of your points and arguments in the body) can be persuasive. Aim to make your conclusion feel irrefutable (at least if it’s a persuasive essay).
If your spelling is sloppy, it’s natural for your reader to assume your approach to writing the essay was too. This could harm the strength of an otherwise persuasive essay.
Grammar is also important, for the same reason. It’s usually easy to pick up on dodgy grammar if you read your essay aloud. If you’re not a native English speaker, however, you might want to ask someone who is to check your essay.
To avoid harming your persuasiveness and authority, it’s fundamentally important to use the right words. Overly obscure language can detract from the clarity of your argument, but if you feel you have to use it, then you better know what it means.
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The Writing Process
The writing process is something that no two people do the same way. There is no "right way" or "wrong way" to write. It can be a very messy and fluid process, and the following is only a representation of commonly used steps. Remember you can come to the Writing Center for assistance at any stage in this process.
Steps of the Writing Process
Step 1: Prewriting
Think and Decide
- Make sure you understand your assignment. See Research Papers or Essays
- Decide on a topic to write about. See Prewriting Strategies and Narrow your Topic
- Consider who will read your work. See Audience and Voice
- Brainstorm ideas about the subject and how those ideas can be organized. Make an outline. See Outlines
Step 2: Research (if needed)
- List places where you can find information.
- Do your research. See the many KU Libraries resources and helpful guides
- Evaluate your sources. See Evaluating Sources and Primary vs. Secondary Sources
- Make an outline to help organize your research. See Outlines
Step 3: Drafting
- Write sentences and paragraphs even if they are not perfect.
- Create a thesis statement with your main idea. See Thesis Statements
- Put the information you researched into your essay accurately without plagiarizing. Remember to include both in-text citations and a bibliographic page. See Incorporating References and Paraphrase and Summary
- Read what you have written and judge if it says what you mean. Write some more.
- Read it again.
- Write some more.
- Write until you have said everything you want to say about the topic.
Step 4: Revising
Make it Better
- Read what you have written again. See Revising Content and Revising Organization
- Rearrange words, sentences, or paragraphs into a clear and logical order.
- Take out or add parts.
- Do more research if you think you should.
- Replace overused or unclear words.
- Read your writing aloud to be sure it flows smoothly. Add transitions.
Step 5: Editing and Proofreading
Make it Correct
- Be sure all sentences are complete. See Editing and Proofreading
- Correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
- Change words that are not used correctly or are unclear.
- APA Formatting
- Chicago Style Formatting
- MLA Formatting
- Have someone else check your work.
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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples
An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.
There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.
The essay writing process consists of three main stages:
- Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
- Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
- Revision: Check the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.
Table of contents
Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.
The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .
For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.
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Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:
- Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
- Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
- Do your research: Read primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
- Come up with a thesis: The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
- Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.
The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.
1. Hook your reader
The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.
Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
2. Provide background on your topic
Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.
3. Present the thesis statement
Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:
As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.
4. Map the structure
In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.
The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Write your essay introduction
The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.
Length of the body text
The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.
To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.
That idea is introduced in a topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.
After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.
Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.
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The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :
- Returns to your thesis
- Ties together your main points
- Shows why your argument matters
A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.
What not to include in a conclusion
To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:
- Including new arguments or evidence
- Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
- Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”
Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.
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My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).
My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.
My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.
I use paragraphs to structure the essay.
I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.
Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.
I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.
My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.
I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.
I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.
I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.
My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .
My essay has an interesting and informative title.
I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).
Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence.
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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.
In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.
Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
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- Academic Skills
- Essay writing
Using a writing process
A six-step process to get writing done.
Written assignments are one of the major requirements of university. Writing tasks at university vary greatly, but generally, academics expect that tertiary-level writing will:
- Directly respond to the specific task requirements;
- Adhere to the conventions of the writing task so that the writing fits the requirements of the genre;
- Present a clear, supported response;
- Demonstrate evidence of research ; i.e. use of literature;
- Demonstrate understanding of literature through critical analysis , not just description or summary;
- Acknowledge all sources used; i.e. through referencing.
Here, we present a process that will help you meet these requirements. Note that it focuses on the type of writing found in Social Sciences and Humanities disciplines.
1. Determine the genre
Once you have received your writing task you need to determine the genre; in other words, what type of writing is required. For example, essays, reports, a literature review; annotated bibliographies and reflective writing are all common academic genres with their own requirements, organisation, structure, style expectations and language conventions.
For example; an essay generally consists of an introduction, a body and a conclusion. It is presented in paragraphs; does not usually have headings or titles; and is written in an ‘objective’ formal style where you may not directly refer to yourself in the writing. It also concludes with a Reference List or Bibliography.
If the requirements of the genre are not made explicit to you, or if you are unclear about them, you need to find out what they are. The Subject Guide or the ‘Assessment’ tab on your subject’s Canvas site often has this information.
2. Analyse the task
The next step is to determine what the task is asking you to do. Spend extra time on this step, as it will save you time and heartache later. Look carefully at the task question i.e. the actual statement or question you have to respond to. Writing tasks will typically have a question which consists of:
- Topic words ( what the task is about)
- Direction words (which tell you what to do with the topic)
- Focus words (which limit your topic to a specific area)
Analyse two theories of education and state a case as to which has the most relevance in today’s classroom . Illustrate how this could apply to your future teaching .
Legend: Topic words Direction words Focus words
Analysing these elements will help you to ‘get inside’ the question and focus on what it is at its core. Indeed, accurate task analysis informs all of the next steps.
3. Make a plan
After analysing the task, map out a plan. You can do this on paper or as a Word document, organising your ideas into logical sections. Using the above assignment task as an example, a starting plan (not including Introduction and Conclusion) might look like this:
4. Research and write into your plan
Now you need to find information to use in your writing. You are looking for information include in your plan.
The website library.unimelb.edu.au has two excellent resources you can use for research:
- Discovery , on the Library frontpage, enables you to search across databases, catalogues and the digital repository for information sources.
- LibGuides at unimelb.libguides.com provides excellent collections of resource materials specific to discipline, course and subject.
You may find as you research that you refine your initial plan; re-organise, change, delete and re-sequence ideas.
As you read, transfer ideas directly into your plan. Fill in the plan with bullet point information, including BRIEF reference details (author name, page number or URL). Don’t forget this – you can then easily go back and find the information if you need it again.
5. Draft your writing
Note that this step comes some way into the entire process. The benefit of using research-to-plan transfer is that when you are ready to start writing the actual paper, you already have information there! This is also a very effective way to prevent writer’s block.
One way to start writing is to try expanding the bullet points you have into sentences and to link related sentences into paragraphs. Writing is a step-by-step process; it doesn’t just happen all at once. Review the following orderly steps.
Steps in writing
- Free write (1st draft): just write; don’t worry about the word count at this point; get ideas flowing on to the page.
- Take a break – get away from it for a while
- ‘Hack’ edit (2nd draft): come back and ‘cut’ into the work. At this stage, you might remove sections that are repetitive or irrelevant, shift things around, or make choices about things you don’t need i.e. if you have compiled six definitions, you may decide to cut back to three.
- Take a break
- Refine edit (3rd draft): come back and ‘fine cut’ the writing. Work on expression and clarity; check grammar and references; make sure the writing answers the question. At this point you need to look at the word count: are you within the +/- 10% range? (There is an expectation that the amount you write will fall within 10% of the word count. E.g. for a 2000 word essay, 1800 – 2200 words is acceptable)
- Typos, spelling and grammatical mistakes
- Formatting, including line spacing, page breaks, font consistency, headings if required
- In-text referencing and Reference List correctly formatted; sufficient range of sources evident
Note: the breaks in between steps are very important. They allow you to create distance from the writing, feel refreshed and be able to have a clear, renewed perspective on your work.
6. Final step – submit the work
Make sure that the writing is ready on the due date. Check how and where you submit your work and the exact time and date. Take into account that ‘stuff happens’: printers jam, people get sick etc., so, be prepared. If you can’t submit on time, talk to academic staff and be honest.
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University of Lynchburg
The Writing Process
The first step in writing a successful paper in college requires an active engagement with your sources. Simply reading a primary source for content is no longer sufficient. The question should no longer be “What happened?” but rather “Why did that happen? What does that say about the character(s)/plot?” Make notes of your thoughts and ideas as you read.
Once the writer has finished an active reading of the primary source, it may be necessary to obtain secondary sources to back up the thesis. If your research yields books, remember that it is not necessary to read the entire book. You can either look for a chapter title that you believe will have information pertinent to your paper, or look at the index for terms that you will be discussing.
Peer-reviewed journals available online will be your most commonly used secondary resource. Use the online searches through the Knight-Capron Library, but remember that other search engines, such as Google Scholar, can yield results.
Prewriting is the step in which tools such as free writing, brainstorming, outlining, or clustering are used. In prewriting, no idea is too off topic or too strange. It is these sometimes dissociative ideas that can lead you to a paper topic that you never would have considered.
Though the common perception is that there is nothing that hasn’t been written about before, if you allow yourself to think outside the box, you can find a way of looking at an old topic through new eyes.
It is also during prewriting that the writer needs to make a decision about audience. Asking questions like: “Who is going to read my paper?”, “What is the purpose of this paper?”, and “Why are they going to read my paper?” will help you set your audience.
The simple answer to these questions is “My professor” and “Because they assigned it.” They are not the true answers. It could be that your paper needs to be geared towards elementary level students or participants in a seminar or peers at a conference. The language and tone for either of those audiences would be very different.
Drafting is the beginning of “writing” your paper. It is important to remember that in drafting you should already have a thesis idea to guide your writing. Without a thesis, your writing will be prone to drift, making it harder to frame after the fact.
In drafting, the writer should use materials created in the prewriting stage and any notes taken in discovery and investigation to frame and build body paragraphs.
Many writers will tackle their body paragraphs first instead of beginning with an introduction (especially if you are not sure of the exact direction of your paper). Beginning with body paragraphs will allow you to work through your ideas without feeling restricted by a specific thesis, but be prepared to delete paragraphs that don’t fit.
Afterwards, create an opening paragraph (with an appropriate revised thesis) that reflects the body of your essay.
There are two different scopes of revision: global and local.
Global revision involves focusing on higher order concerns. We frequently think of higher order concerns as involving audience, purpose, thesis claims, development (and support), and organization.
When looking your paper over with global revision in mind, ask yourself the following questions:
- What does my audience already know about this topic, and what do they need to know? Have I included information from sources that my audience values?
- Is the purpose of my paper clear? Does my thesis claim reflect the purpose, and does it fully capture my paper’s content?
- Have I offered enough supporting evidence in my supporting paragraphs? Have I effectively quoted, paraphrased, and/or summarized my sources? Have I provided appropriate in-text citations and entries in my works cited or reference page?
- Have I effectually discussed my evidence? Have I put my sources into context for the reader (perhaps by using signal phrases), and I have discussed the evidence I have used so that the reader understands its relevance/importance? Have I quoted sources but have failed to discuss the quotes?
- Have I organized my paper in a logical manner? Did I go from least important/shocking points to most important/shocking points?
Many also believe that global revision involves looking for issues like cohesion and the overall progression of your paper. If your paragraphs jump from point to point without a clear connection between the points, there is an issue with cohesion. If your paragraphs contain too many points, this is also an issue. Ideally, a paragraph contains one point that is thoroughly discussed and supported with credible evidence.
Lastly, If your paper has paragraphs that do not flow into each other, but change topic abruptly only to return to a previous thought later, your paper has poor cohesion.
A paper that includes smooth transitions is significantly easier to read and understand. It is preferable to keep all like thoughts together and to arrange your paragraphs in such a way that your argument builds, rather than laying everything out with equal weight.
Though the blueprint for your paper is in the thesis, the end result of your argument should not come early in the paper, but at the end. Allow the supporting paragraphs to build to your conclusions.
Local issues involve looking for clarity in sentences, ensuring coherence with your ideas. The greatest asset to avoiding and fixing local issues is to use varied sentence structure and to avoid using the same words repeatedly. Repeating the same sentence structure can make your paper feel mechanical and make an interesting topic feel boring.
Local revision also involves being mindful of lower order concerns, such as sentence structure, word choice, grammar, and spelling.
The final stage in writing a paper requires a review of what you have written. In this last read of your paper, you should look for any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors that have slipped through the cracks during the revising stage, or that were introduced in your revisions.
Reading your paper aloud, or asking a friend to read your paper to you is a good way to catch errors. Often if you read your own paper, especially out loud, you can catch errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Though this step seems minor within the process of writing, it is an easy way to prevent the loss of points over simple mistakes.
Formatting, Inner-text Citation, and Works Cited
The formatting required for your paper will change depending on the field of your topic. Generally, the sciences and business and economics use APA or CSE formatting. English, and other humanities will use MLA, and History uses Chicago. The appearance of inner-text citations, and Works cited page will all be affected by these different formats.
Consult your syllabus or ask your professor to learn what format you should use. Guides for APA, Chicago, and MLA are available online .
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How to Write a Process Essay: Step-by-step Guide
The process essay, also known as the "how-to" essay, is commonly written for people or companies that need tutorials or a set of instructional steps. Whether it's building a robot or cooking a chocolate cake, process essays use a similar format for any variations. They follow a step-by-step style, with the initial step influencing the second, which influences the third, and so on. Each step carries its own importance, and a poor explanation of one step can ruin the entire process. It's important to stay concise and efficient. However, before you begin writing your essay, you should do some small preparations. Let's discover them with our research writing service .
What Is a Process Paper?
A process essay is a type of essay that explains a process step by step and gives guidance for a certain process, working mechanism, procedure, etc. Process essays range from very simple ones, such as instructions for how to ride a bicycle, to more complex ones, such as a chemistry lab report of an oxidative reaction experiment. The goal of a process paper is to give its readers guidance and directions.
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A process paper is characterized, first of all, by explaining a process using a description. Some words that are frequently used in process essays are “further”, “then”, “next”, “first”, “last”, “finally”, and “initially”. It is really important to remember that every process essay includes features, such as:
- clear and straightforward narration - the last thing you want to do is to confuse your reader with complex language and an unorganized thought thread;
- chronological order - avoid skipping steps and shifting them around, as it will result in misunderstanding and frustration for the readers;
- transition words - make sure to separate the next step from the previous ones by using transition words;
- descriptions of the steps - make sure your steps are clear and easy to follow.
There are several types of process essays. The first one is directional - it explains the “how to” for something. It can take on a wide range of subjects, such as how to apply for a credit card, how to get your driver’s license, how to plan a wedding, etc. The outcome of the directional essay should be a result. In the cases of the examples above: a credit card, a driver’s license, or a carefully planned wedding. The other type of process paper is informational - it explains how something works. Here are some examples: how a weather forecast is determined, how a space rocket works, how intermittent fasting changes your body, etc. An informational essay explains something to a reader and does not necessarily end up with a result, like directional does.
Another type of essay that is similar to a process essay is a process analysis essay. The biggest difference is that a process analysis essay not only explains the steps, but also analyses them in depth. It has all of the characteristics of a process essay, although goes into more detail about the causes and consequences of every step.
How to Write a Process Essay
Writing a process essay is not extremely difficult. By following simple rules and a set of steps, a successful, well-structured essay can be guaranteed.
Prepare The Small Stuff
Here we gathered some small general tips and advice that you should follow throughout your writing process to make sure that all of the expectations of a process paper are met.
- Determine the Audience's Skill Level. It's important to base the level of complexity of the essay on who the readers will be. For example, if you need to teach a friend how to do a simple fix or create a certain tool, then it would be most reasonable to stick to more basic terminology. However, if you are writing an essay for your astrophysics professor about the creation of a black hole in the universe, use more sophisticated and informative terminology.
- Make a List of Materials. Obviously, the creation of anything comes with some prerequisites. Whether it's items or ideas, the importance of knowing the necessities beforehand and having them ready to go is essential. Make sure to place each item in accordance with its importance. The more impactful a part is, the higher up on the list it should be.
- Write out Each Task. In a step-by-step tutorial, each individual task carries some sort of weight. Since an entire process can not be complete if a step is skipped, it's crucial to write out every single step. However, don't go overboard in your explanations. It's not necessary to bring the tutorial to a microscopic level, but each step should be understandable and competent.
If you still have difficulty writing, you can get essay help online from our service.
Process Essay Topics
Choosing a topic for a process paper can be quite challenging. A good place to start is with your passions. If you pick something you are excited about, you can make it interesting for your readers and fun for yourself to write about. If your professor limits you to write a process essay on something you have very little knowledge of, choose a topic that is intriguing and triggers your interest. Then, conduct enough thorough research to make sure you understand everything perfectly before you go ahead and try to explain it to someone else.
Another very important thing to consider while writing a process essay is your audience. It is highly unlikely that college students are interested in instructions for “How to Get Into Your Dream School” or “How to Pass Your SATs”. Make sure your topic relates to the subject you are studying and you are following your professor’s prompt guidelines.
Here are some ideas that might be of interest for you:
- How to lose weight on a keto diet
- How your immune system fights COVID-19
- How to start selling on Amazon
- How to improve your credit score
- How to decrease your social media usage
- How to apply for unemployment insurance
- How to improve your college performance
- How to open your first bank account
It's important to note that these essay topics are just some common examples used by several college students for their course papers. Feel free to use any one of them if you want, or think of one on your own. Just make sure it's a PROCESS!
Process Essay Outline
Most essay outlines follow the standard scheme: Intro > Body Paragraphs > Conclusion . follow the standard scheme: Intro > Body Paragraphs > Conclusion. A good process essay outline should look like this:
- Introduction — brief your reader on your topic, explain why you have chosen it and how you are planning to approach the explanation of the process.
- Body — the biggest part of your essay that should be divided into paragraphs for easier understanding and structure. Make sure each paragraph is flowing smoothly into the next one with connective words.
Paragraph 1. First step of the process. Explain what the step is, what the best way to perform it is, and how to avoid common mistakes when doing it.
Paragraph 2. The next step of the process (the same as in Paragraph 1). Thoroughly explain what this step is about.
- Conclusion . Here you need to explain why your instructions are valuable. It is your opportunity to persuade your reader(s) that the steps you presented and the process they learned will be useful for them in the future.
Every process is different: some can take a couple of minutes, while others can take months or years to complete. The length of the essay is generally based on the difficulty and number of steps it takes. However, the structure doesn't maneuver.
The first thing that you want to do as a writer for your process paper is to help your readers be interested in your individual process. Be descriptive about it, paint a picture for your readers. A joke or a personal reference can be a great attention grabber and can pull your reader right in. For somebody to be keen on approaching your process, they have to express interest in it. Though, it generally goes without saying that many writers ignore this fact. Let's break it down into subsections:
- Give a little bit of historical background. People often want to know the origins of whatever it is that they're working on. Introducing this part of the process helps to intrigue your readers, as well as give them a sense of purpose for the task.
- Create an approximate timeframe. Unfortunately, your readers don't have all day to spend on this one event. In addition to learning about its purpose, people want to know how long the task will take. This way, they can decide how to break up the work. If it's a quick fix, then they can knock it out in one session. However, if it's a large-scale operation, then your readers will obviously have to create their own time schedule.
For example, let’s say that the topic of your essay is “How to Save Money”. You can start the introduction of your process essay by explaining that as a college student, you often find yourself in need of extra money and you are stuck with bad money habits. This will create a good connection with your readers, because almost everyone has been in a situation of needing to be savvy with their finances. Another thing you can mention is the importance of saving money and the multiple opportunities it presents, such as being able to invest it, being able to pay off a credit card debt, or being able to save up to avoid taking out a student loan.
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This is the point in the process essay where you start introducing the step-by-step process your readers will need to take. A lot of the time, it helps to break down each process into subsections. For example, if a step has many parts to it, it would be clever to create a paragraph on its own just for that step. Remember, it's important to keep things smooth and efficient. Break down the body paragraphs in unity with the steps. Let's go into more detail about each step:
Each step should be carefully explained. Every step will vary in length. Think about it: every instruction manual has several steps. Some are more difficult to comprehend or perform than others. For this reason, create your steps and explanations accordingly. You should be able to get a sense of their length and difficulty based on the explanation.
Don't forget to explain the purpose. People don't want orders barked at them aimlessly. Besides just accomplishing a task, people want to learn as they perform.
- Why did they do this?
- What was the purpose of this method?
- Why did we do it this way and not this other way?
To make everything flow smoothly use transitions. Make the steps flow one after another to create a well-structured essay. As you introduce the next step, consider using transition words like “next”, “now”, “then”, “so that”, etc.
Before writing the steps out in full sentences, it is a great idea to create an outline for your body paragraphs. Here is an outline for the body paragraphs of a process essay on “How to Save Money”:
- keep track of your expenses
- organize your collected data
- decide what you can skimp on in your spendings
- create a realistic budget
- check weekly to ensure you are sticking to it
- save 15% of every monthly income
- set a tangible goal for saving, such as a car
This example uses only two body paragraphs, but feel free to include more to ensure a better understanding and cohesive flow for your paper. Although, do not include excessive unnecessary details that clutter your essay and make understanding it even more difficult. While writing your essay, include small brief explanations for each statement. For example, “Even though eating out and grabbing a coffee on your way to class sounds tempting, setting a budget and saving 15% of each of your monthly earnings aside can help you have enough to put down a downpayment on a new car.” Here the reader will understand that there is a direct relationship between each step and the result it is going to give.
Showing the readers that they are learning and not just repeating is one of the most effective ways to lock down their attention and keep them coming back!
After going through every step meticulously and explaining the whole process, a process essay needs a confident conclusion. This paragraph should be short, sweet, and to the point. It's main goal is to accomplish the following tasks:
- Discuss the main result. After the readers have completed the process, they should be left with a final result. It's important that you explain to your readers what the end result will look like, and what can be done with it.
- Restate the process’s general purpose. After completing the task, you obviously would like to know its overall purpose. When your readers feel that they have accomplished a challenge, learned something from it, and have a path to take the result towards, they will be satisfied!
- State your Overall Conclusion. To put a pretty tie around your process essay means that you need to neatly wrap things up! Restate some of the highlightable points as well as the process’s key overall purpose. Make sure that your readers feel accomplished after going through your process, and ensure that you strengthen the necessity of its purpose with a nice concluding sentence!
The conclusion of an essay on “How to Save Money” would explain that the completion of all of the steps will result in saving money that can be used for a specific goal or for rainy day fund purposes. You can mention the importance of every step and briefly repeat some of the key points.
Here are some final tips to wrap up your writing process. Use them as a checklist for a successful and coherent essay.
- Make sure the work is simple enough to follow. Worst-case-scenario: its author creates a feeling of absolute confusion in the reader’s mind. To avoid this problem, always remember that your readers can be beginners. Do not try to impress them with complicated words or sentences, use simple language to provide clear directions on how to do something. Give as many details as possible, but do it plainly. "Why is he making me do this?" "What was the purpose of this?" "I don't understand this step at all!" If the reader is asking themself these questions, then it's time to do some editing!
- Experiment and try it for yourself or ask a friend. There's no better way to experience success than to actively attempt your process through your own instructions. If everything truly makes sense, then you should have no problem solving the task using your own words. Even better, ask a peer to try it through your words to get an outside point of view.
- Choose the right topic for you and research it well
- Maintain a logical order of steps, make it easy to follow
- Avoid using imperative sentences - you do not want to sound like an Apple TV manual
- Explain terms that are most likely outside of most people’s range of common knowledge
If you have a ready-made essay but need to make significant changes to it, you can use our rewrite my essay service .
Video Guide: How to Write a Process Essay
Now that you know all about process essays and how to write them, we have prepared some great essay topic ideas in case you are stuck and cannot choose one:
Building a business from scratch is an intricate process that entails a number of steps. Each of these steps should have specific objectives and measurable outcomes.The following analysis gives the basic steps followed when building any business from scratch.
Saving can be defined as a differed consumption or keeping aside a portion of your income for unexpected future uncertainties or plans. Read for reason and actual steps for saving more money
Read also a thesis statement example from our author. In this article, you can learn something useful for yourself.
Still Need Help?
If you still feel like you could use some help with your process essay, do not hesitate to seek help from our writing service. Our writers specialize in a wide range of essays of different types including creative writing essay , process essays, and would be more than happy to assist you with writing, editing, or direction if you are feeling uneasy. Click the button below and college admission essay writer will process your requests fast.
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What Are The Steps Of Writing An Essay
Table of contents
Looking to get started with your essay writing?
To write an excellent academic essay, you need to follow a proper writing process to translate your set of ideas into a persuasive argument.
Some college students tend to start writing directly but often fail to answer the assignment, resulting in subpar work.
What’s worse, you may find yourself spending more time than you actually need to make fixes and edit your messy work.
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No matter how good a writer you are, anyone can benefit from using a proper framework to write their essay. It will help you write an excellent essay in one sitting and not lose your calm.
Now, let's look into the steps of writing an essay . Following this process will allow anyone to write a top-notch paper in a matter of hours.
1. Choose a topic
Regardless of what type of essay you are writing, the first step is to understand the prompt.
Your assignment may need you to answer a specific question or give you the freedom to choose your topic. However, don't jump into writing the first subject that comes to your mind.
Instead, you want to spend some time researching and selecting the best topic that will most likely give you a high grade. Consider the purpose of your essay and make sure the topic you choose can reflect it.
When choosing your topic, you want to avoid common subjects that are often discussed or narrow issues that won't give you much to write about.
One quick tip is to think about broad subjects that interest you and narrow it down by limiting it to specific geography, culture, or time. You can always check a few ideas with your instructor to see if they are worth turning into an essay.
2. Brainstorm and research
Next, brainstorm and research the topic you have chosen. You can start by quickly jotting down what you already know about the subject. Then, think critically and get some keywords or questions to dig deeper.
You can then find the answers to your predetermined question and easily record any helpful information you came across along with your sources.
Take note of ideas, discussions, quotations, or examples you would like to include in your writing, along with the resource to make citation and references easier down the line.
If you have time, put in the extra effort to research beyond your course textbooks. Use varied sources of information like journals, newspapers, and online resources to learn more.
Reading more literature on the topic will give you a broader view, and you can offer a fresh perspective that will add points to your essay.
3. Develop a thesis statement
One of the steps of writing an essay is putting together your thesis statement . This is key to tell readers the purpose of your paper.
Even if your assignment doesn't ask a specific question, you still need a thesis statement to show your primary idea.
It should also clearly state your position about the topic and offer readers the direction of the essay. Generally, you want to craft a concise sentence that shows a debatable argument.
4. Create an essay outline
A good outline makes writing easier and more efficient. After developing your ideas and arguments, it's time to build your essay outline .
It can be as simple as scribbling your ideas into a mind map or fully stretching it out in a basic outline form. The idea here is to organize the arguments and evidence you gathered.
You should never skip this step when writing your essay. This will help structure your writing and see how you can fit each of your important ideas while maintaining the logical flow.
Ideally, each paragraph in your body should only contain one main idea and relevant elaboration and details.
A quick pro writing tip is to have your two most decisive points in your body's first and last paragraph to better persuade your readers.
5. Plan your writing
As much as you research your topic, your essay can't be completed unless you start writing. And we understand, as a college student, it can get busy juggling between classes, clubs, and attending socializing events.
But it is crucial to plan your writing into your calendar earlier to avoid chasing deadlines. Writing an essay shouldn't mean sleepless nights, and it's easy to make mistakes with last-minute works.
So if you are looking to get a distinction grade on your essay, you need to start writing earlier. This is especially important if you're handling a super long report that requires you to write 10,000 words, for example.
In the case of such a massive project, you need to break it down into manageable steps like writing 1,000 words a day.
When planning, set realistic deadlines that take into account the delay time and planning fallacies. Because even the most professional authors tend to underestimate the complexity or amount of time needed to finish their writing.
For better estimation, we recommend that you record yourself when you are writing to gather more accurate insights.
Here’s an interesting video by Top 5 Education on how to plan your essay.
6. Write your introduction
How you start your essay is key to writing an essay that stands out. You need to attract the reader's attention in the beginning with a hook .
Even though you may be writing a formal academic essay, you are still writing for an audience, and you'd want to make sure your piece is memorable and able to grab your instructor's attention.
You can use a story, dialogue, shocking statistics, or a quote, as long as it is exciting and ties into the thesis statement.
Also, make sure to provide some context and introduce your topic. This should then be followed by your thesis statement to let readers know what the essay is about.
7. Write the body paragraphs
This is the part of the writing that supports your thesis statement and builds up the argument of your essay. It is supposed to explain, describe or argue your topic.
A good body paragraph comprises a topic sentence, further elaboration, and is backed up by credible evidence. It also should relate back to the broader topic and make sense to your reader.
Using this structure will keep your paragraph focused on the main idea and provide clear, concise information.
When transitioning from one point to another, make sure you close each paragraph properly by reinforcing the main point and linking it to the next.
Throughout the essay, actively integrate the work of others to show credible evidence. But don't forget to cite every reference and material you have used appropriately.
8. Write the conclusion
In the final section of your essay, the conclusion is your chance to leave readers with a favorable impression of your work.
As a rule of thumb, it should reaffirm your answer to the question. That means writing a brief summary of your prior arguments in about three to five sentences.
Note that: your conclusion should not contain any new information . Rephrase your thesis statement once again, and draw your points together to amplify your argument.
To bring it to the next level, you can also end by reflecting on the broader significance of the topic or with a thoughtful question that will leave your readers pondering.
9. Proofread and edit
Your essay is not completed just yet. Having completed your writing, you must take a second look at your draft to add the finishing touches.
Read through your whole essay to check the flow and structure of your essay. Ensure the correct format is used and that your strongest points appear in the first and last paragraphs within the body.
See if your essay answers the assignment and if there are ways you can strengthen your argument. Pay attention to every paragraph to see if your topic sentence is supported by evidence or examples.
Check the grammar, spelling errors, and punctuation to make sure your essay is impeccable. Remove any fluff and irrelevant sections, add variety to your expressions and avoid overusing vocabulary or transitions.
If you still have some time before the deadline, you can also get a reliable friend to read it and ask their opinions. An alternative option is giving your essay to a professional proofreading service.
10. Do a plagiarism check
There are definitive ways to avoid plagiarism during writing. We recommend that you check your essay using a plagiarism tool to make sure it meets academic integrity.
Check your citations and references to see if they are done correctly. Review your essay with Copyscape or Turnitin to avoid any accidental plagiarism.
Once you're done, it's all ready to be submitted!
Quick Checklist: 10 Steps to Write an Essay
Essay writing is so much easier if you know the proper methods, and that's why here's the ultimate essay writing checklist.
- Understand your essay prompt and choose a suitable topic;
- Brainstorm and research a variety of resources;
- Develop your thesis statement;
- Create your essay outline;
- Plan your writing schedule;
- Write your introduction;
- Write your body paragraphs;
- Write a conclusion;
- Proofread and edit your work;
- Do a plagiarism check.
Now that you know the steps of writing an essay make sure to put it into practice to become a more efficient writer.
Last edit at Jul 27 2023
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The Five Steps of Writing an Essay
Mastering these steps will make your words more compelling
- Tips For Adult Students
- Getting Your Ged
- B.A., English, St. Olaf College
Knowing how to write an essay is a skill that you can use throughout your life. The ability to organize ideas that you use in constructing an essay will help you write business letters, company memos, and marketing materials for your clubs and organizations.
Anything you write will benefit from learning these simple parts of an essay:
- Purpose and Thesis
Body of information.
Here are five steps to make it happen:
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Before you can start writing, you must have an idea to write about. If you haven't been assigned a topic, it's easier than you might think to come up with one of your own.
Your best essays will be about things that light your fire. What do you feel passionate about? What topics do you find yourself arguing for or against? Choose the side of the topic you are "for" rather than "against" and your essay will be stronger.
Do you love gardening? Sports? Photography? Volunteering? Are you an advocate for children? Domestic peace? The hungry or homeless? These are clues to your best essays.
Put your idea into a single sentence. This is your thesis statement , your main idea.
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Choose a title for your essay that expresses your primary idea. The strongest titles will include a verb. Take a look at any newspaper and you'll see that every title has a verb.
Your title should make someone want to read what you have to say. Make it provocative.
Here are a few ideas:
- America Needs Better Health Care Now
- The Use of the Mentor Archetype in _____
- Who Is the She-Conomy?
- Why DJ Is the Queen of Pedicures
- Melanoma: Is It or Isn't It?
- How to Achieve Natural Balance in Your Garden
- Expect to Be Changed by Reading _____
Some people will tell you to wait until you have finished writing to choose a title. Other people find that writing a title helps them stay focused. You can always review your title when you've finished the essay to ensure that it's as effective as it can be.
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Your introduction is one short paragraph, just a sentence or two, that states your thesis (your main idea) and introduces your reader to your topic. After your title, this is your next best chance to hook your reader. Here are some examples:
- Women are the chief buyers in 80 percent of America's households. If you're not marketing to them, you should be.
- Take another look at that spot on your arm. Is the shape irregular? Is it multicolored? You could have melanoma. Know the signs.
- Those tiny wasps flying around the blossoms in your garden can't sting you. Their stingers have evolved into egg-laying devices. The wasps, busying finding a place to lay their eggs, are participating in the balance of nature.
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The body of your essay is where you develop your story or argument. Once you have finished your research and produced several pages of notes, go through them with a highlighter and mark the most important ideas, the key points.
Choose the top three ideas and write each one at the top of a clean page. Now go through your notes again and pull out supporting ideas for each key point. You don't need a lot, just two or three for each one.
Write a paragraph about each of these key points, using the information you've pulled from your notes. If you don't have enough for one, you might need a stronger key point. Do more research to support your point of view. It's always better to have too many sources than too few.
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You've almost finished. The last paragraph of your essay is your conclusion. It, too, can be short, and it must tie back to your introduction.
In your introduction, you stated the reason for your paper. In your conclusion, you should summarize how your key points support your thesis. Here's an example:
- By observing the balance of nature in her gardens, listening to lectures, and reading everything she can get her hands on about insects and native plants, Lucinda has grown passionate about natural balance. "It's easy to get passionate if you just take time to look," she says.
If you're still worried about your essay after trying on your own, consider hiring an essay editing service. Reputable services will edit your work, not rewrite it. Choose carefully. One service to consider is Essay Edge .
Good luck! The next essay will be easier.
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- How to Write a Persuasive Essay
- How to Write a Great Essay for the TOEFL or TOEIC
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- How to Write a Great Process Essay
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The 5 step essay writing process that will help you write better papers.
Whether you’re writing a 500 word paper or a 30 page paper, writing an essay can be challenging. Figuring out how to get your point across, the proper diction, paragraph organization, and more before a deadline can feel like a daunting task. Even if you’re a great writer, the writing process isn’t always going to be easy. Fortunately, I have a 5 step writing process that makes essay writing a bit easier, and that helps you write better papers:
Step 1: Determine your purpose for writing the paper.
This first step is probably the most important step you can take when writing a paper. Defining the subject of the paper will help guide you in what to write. It is much easier to research something and write about it when you know exactly what it is you’re trying to write. Look over the assignment carefully to gain a better understanding of what your professor wants from the paper. Ask yourself the following question: What do you want the reader to know after reading this paper? Remember: When you write with a purpose in mind, your paper will have purpose. Make sure you know the goal you’re trying to accomplish well and how you can convey the message to your reader.
Step 2: Write down everything and anything about your topic.
Before you can start to write or even outline, you have to have ideas. Ideas are the starting point of any paper. Think about the overall point you want to get across to your reader that you defined in step one. For example, let’s say you’re writing a paper on why business X is successful. Do research on the business and on what defines success for that business and dump thoughts, links, quotes, statistics, and anything you can find on the subject into a document. This doesn’t need to have any structure or clear reasoning behind it just yet. This is simply a chance for you to brainstorm and collect information. This will also help give you a better understanding of the topic of your paper and will be extremely useful when the time comes to start writing.
Step 3: Organize your thoughts.
Step three is when you sift through the research from step two and find the most valuable pieces of information that you’ll want to include in your paper. This is the step where you can create an outline. Keep in mind that outlines don’t have to be extremely detailed and lengthy; just think of the main points you want to write about and underneath those points, include supporting information. While you may be eager to begin the writing process and want to skip doing an outline, I wouldn’t recommend it. Outlines are a great way to organize your paper in a logical way. Start with your introduction which should include your thesis (what you want the reader to know after reading your paper), then body paragraphs where you share information that supports your thesis, and a conclusion that ties the paper together and summarizes what you’ve written. It sounds simple enough, and you’ve most likely been writing papers with this structure for most of your life, but it can be easy to neglect the basics and let your paper go off the tracks. Create an outline to organize your paper and see how each element of the paper will work together to accomplish your vision.
Step 4: Start writing, then take a step back.
Step four is when the writing begins. It might sound a little late in the process to start writing the paper itself, but after you’ve done the first three steps, this part of the process will be made significantly easier. Use your outline as a guide for writing. It is also very important to make sure that you read all of your professors guidelines for the paper so you know you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, as I mentioned in step one. If there is a rubric, make sure to look it over so that you know what you’re being graded on.
Remember that you can always go back to previous steps in this process and do more research or add things to your outline if you realize adjustments need to be made as you write. In fact, I strongly encourage you to do this to make sure your paper is exactly how you want it to be and satisfies the requirements. Refer back to your professors instructions regularly to make sure you’re on the right track. After you’ve written your paper, I recommend you step away from it for a while and do something else. This is so that when you come back to it, you can find mistakes that you may have overlooked before. It also gives you a mental break and prevents you from becoming overwhelmed.
Step 5: Grade your own paper.
This last step requires you to put yourself in your professors shoes. Once your paper is finished, read it over as if you weren’t the one who wrote it. When you’re done reading, write down what you believe the purpose of the paper was. If this matches the purpose you wrote down for yourself in step one, that’s great! That means you effectively conveyed what you wanted to to the reader. However, it’s always good to get a second opinion, so I would recommend having a peer, someone from the Writing Center , or even your professor look it over and give you their thoughts. You should also give yourself a grade and some feedback after reading it. It might feel a little strange to grade your own paper, but it’s very useful. If you feel like your paper was worthy of a B, think about what you could change to make it an A-worthy paper. What do you feel like was missing? What did you like about the paper? Was there anything you disliked about it? Being totally honest with yourself during this step will improve the quality of your paper.
Try using this 5 step process for your next writing assignment!
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