5 most important rules of writing an essay

There is any number of important rules when writing an essay but it is fairly easy to list the five most important ones. They are not necessarily in order of priority but each is essential if you want to make your essay as good as possible. Here are the five most important rules.

  • always have a plan or outline
  • always have a kicker in your introduction
  • always stick to the topic
  • always get the word count right
  • always review

You will make a much better fist of writing any type of essay if you think about it before you start writing. I'm not talking about doing research for the topic although that is very important. I'm talking about having a plan or an outline. This can be a single page on which you simply put headings for each of the paragraphs in your essay. Underneath each heading you list the main points you wish to make in that particular paragraph. So in a single glance you can see the whole picture of what your essay will be like.

The first sentence of your first paragraph, that is your introduction, needs to grab the attention of the reader. Remember that it will probably be a teacher or teacher who will be reading and marking your essay and they have the ‘pleasure’ of reading thousands of such pieces of prose. Make yours different. Give it a great opening line.

So many students write wonderfully well and stick to all points as far as the layouts are concerned but still get a poor score because they don't address the question. They don't stick to the topic. Put your thesis statement on a separate piece of paper and keep it in front of you as you plan and write your essay. Never lose sight of the original topic.

Getting the word count right is really important. If your essay is to be between 1500 and 1800 words, don't submit something that is only 1200 words or has 2000 words. You won't get any more points for writing more and you will lose points for not writing enough so get the word count right.

And as always you must edit or review your finished work. Once you finish the writing go back over your essay and look for mistakes and issues such as repetition and incorrect use of the words. Stick to these five main rules and your essays will certainly improve.

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