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Night Owl Above Average Essay Guide
Learn how to write an essay well. Improve your assignment grades and exam essays.
Master the skill of essay writing: essay writing tips from a published author, experienced teacher and examiner.
This guide shows you how to write an essay. It takes you through the complete process of essay writing, pointing out the most common mistakes and helping you to avoid them.
All the stages of essay writing are considered in detail, from preparation, planning and research, to writing and editing. The way to structure your essays is clearly explained. Referencing is discussed, including referencing in the text and formatting reference lists. An example essay entitled “how to write an essay”, is presented in the appendix, at the back of the guide. There is also some advice on the writing of exam essays.
Message from the authour
I didn’t really learn how to write well until after I’d finished both school and a university degree course. I went on to do a doctorate, and then I really had to learn how to write!
My supervisor, an uncommonly modest man, would patiently edit my long-winded and flowery prose. He’d mildly suggest I made “just few little changes, nothing major really”, as he reworded large parts of my thesis. I carefully studied how this early work had been altered and thereby learnt how to improve my style. When the first scientific papers we wrote received glowing comments about the standard of the writing I was secretly very proud. Since then I’ve published various works, including scientific and magazine articles, book chapters and reviews and also co-authored a book. I now consider writing to be one of the most enjoyable tasks I do.
I have regularly found myself in the position of having to assess the written work of students, and occasionally of colleagues. While I’m always delighted to read a well written piece, it seems a pity that otherwise intelligent people often let themselves down by their poor standard of writing. I’ve known people who, even though they’ve already attained high level academic qualifications, still can’t write well. This can become a nuisance, both to them and work-mates who have to compensate for them! Many students do not attain their potential grades, partly because they do not know how to write an essay.
I decided to try and help some of my students by providing them with essay writing tips. Amongst other things I wrote them an essay on “how to write an essay”, which is now presented in the appendix, at the back of this guide. Some time later I was encouraged to write this guide, in the hope of helping more people who need to improve their essay writing skills.
I hope that once you’ve mastered the basics you’ll find writing fun, as I do.
I wish you all the best!
Heather E. Ryndaws, August 2009.
The stages of essay writing
(1) Analysing the task
(2) Making a plan
(i) How to find resources
(ii) How to use resources
(iii) How to reference resources
(2) Main body
(4) Writing style
Writing exam essays
Appendix: Essay on “How to write an essay”
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