Category Archives: Essay Writing

IELTS Essay Writing Tips

IELTS essay writing tips

Without a doubt, essay writing is the most challenging section of IELTS. Writing 150 or 250 words in the time allowed is the biggest concern of many students. Indeed, it is quite hard for people from a different cultural background to get high scores on the exam because of the another thinking mode. But with the right preparation, you can make sure that your essay will be good enough to attract the score you really want.

There is a lot to remember: you have to manage your time, keep to the word limit, use great vocabulary, avoid mistakes and find solid points to make about the topic. It may look impossible but it is all attainable if you know the main tips and tricks.

1. Keep your introduction short

Remember that you have only 40 minutes to write an essay, and some of this time should be spent for planning. That’s why you need to write your introduction quickly so you can start developing the body paragraphs. You just have to do two things: state the essay topic using some basic facts and present what you are going to write about.

2. Choose a controlling idea for each body paragraph

Your IELTS essay should contain 2 or 3 body paragraphs. Each paragraph should present one main idea and include several sentences to support it. You need to give enough facts, examples and arguments to answer the essay question. Make sure to stay on topic because you will be penalized if you stray off subject matter.

3. Be clear and straightforward

You need to write clearly and get to the point. English essays reflect a straightforward way of thinking, so make sure you develop your ideas precisely. Choose your words deliberately, pay attention to the sentence length, avoid unnecessary explanations, rewrite or delete needless phrases, eliminate redundancies.

4. Be logical

Logic is one of the most important factors of a good IELTS essay. Your sentences and paragraphs should have a clear reasoning, which aims for supporting your point of view. To build logical connections in your essay, you need to use transitions. They are important tools that will help you connect your ideas properly.

5. Use rich vocabulary

IELTS exam is the time to show what you know. Stay away from the over-used adjectives, such as “good” or “bad.” Instead, use more expressive words, such as excellent, wonderful, or horrible. The more precise words will make your language alive and help you get higher points for your essay.

6. Avoid slang and contractions

Find the best way to express your thoughts without using the slang or colloquial expressions. You need to show off the best English you know. Also, make sure you don’t use contractions in your essay. Academic tasks demand formal writing, so don’t write in a style that is improper to use.

7. Add the personal touch

An essay should reveal your personal feelings and opinions. It has to show your individuality. If this personal touch is lost, the essay will be colorless. Therefore, don’t be afraid to express your own point of view.

These techniques are key to producing a powerful IELTS essay. Keep these tips in mind and try your best!

Writing an Analytical Essay: The Most Useful Hints

How to write an analytical essayOne of the most frequently assigned essays in English is an analytical essay. In can be a challenging task to complete, but mastering its technique is essential as most academic assignments have a strong requirement to write with an analytical focus.

So, what is an analytical essay?

The key to understanding the nature of this type of essay is a word “analyze.” Yes, your main task is to present a deep and well-structured evaluation of the topic or problem. An analytical essay is not a summary of the work. If you find yourself paraphrasing the information or simply retelling the story, you are not writing an analytical essay.

The Most Useful Writing Tips and Tricks

1. If you may choose a topic, investigate the subject that inspires or fascinates you. You don’t have to fully understand that, but if you are really interested, you will be more motivated to figure out the unknown things.

2. Your essay should follow the requirements. A lot of students receive the low grades because they fail to read the instructions attentively.

3. Make sure your essay has an arguable thesis at the end of your introduction, which you will then develop in the main body through an analysis of the chosen topic and explain with specific evidence.

4. The structure of an analytical essay should be the following: introduction + body + conclusion + works cited.

5. All paragraphs have to be fully worked out and contain transitions. Each paragraph in the main body of your essay should include a topic sentence that introduces the issue to be discussed.

6. Avoid phrases “As far as I am concerned,” “To my mind” – the reader already understands that everything you write is your opinion, unless you attribute to another author.

7. Don’t include unnecessary long descriptions or plot summaries (in a case of novels or movies). You don’t need to describe the topic in details, your job is to remind the reader of the information that provides evidence for your argument.

8. Make certain your essay follows a logical structure and organization.

9. It is better to avoid the generalizations, such as “all people think,” “since the beginning of times,” etc.

10. To develop your argument, you’ll need to include at least one academic source.

11. You need to fully develop your voice and ideas. Avoid using too many quotes or summaries of other people’s works to not let the secondary sources dominate your essay.

12. Never use the quotations to substitute your own thoughts. Quote only those sentences that would lose their power if you paraphrase them.

13. Cite the sources according to the citation style specified in the requirements.

14. Leave a reader with a clear picture in his or her head.

15. Thoroughly revise your essay for clarity and coherence. Make sure it is error-free.

Preparing the analytical essay is difficult, but it can be one of the most rewarding forms of writing to master. So, practice, practice, practice!

How to Write a Historiography: Step-By-Step Guide

How to write a historiographyA historiography or historiographical essay is an examination of different ways in which historians have approached a particular topic. Unlike a research paper, it is not a study of a historical issue, instead, it is an analysis of how the interpretation of historical events by different scholars has changed over time.

A historiographical paper has to present a detailed overview of the main works on a topic and summarize and evaluate the arguments of each of those works. For the development of a clear and well-structured essay, you need to follow some crucial steps.

Choose a Topic

There are several useful strategies for coming up with a topic. The easiest way is to choose one of your assigned readings. Try to look for a topic that is really interesting for you – it will make the reading and the writing process much easier.

Alternatively, you may brainstorm a topic from scratch. If you take that approach, narrow down the topic to a specific area and focus on a particular historical event or person.

Once you have a topic, start looking for works on your subject. Take advantage of a mixture of various books, articles and publications. Generally, books tend to be more influential and relevant, especially for older topics. However, for modern issues, articles are more available.

Evaluate the Historians’ Viewpoints

Depending on the source you are using, there are some strategies you can apply to evaluate the scholars’ stances:

  • Books – You need to watch the structure of the book; how the author builds the argument and what he implies is the most important part.
  • Book reviews – The best way to find out the point of some work is to read a book review. This will provide you with an insight of how other historians respond to the author’s argument.
  • Periodicals – Look whether the article is often cited by other authors writing about the same subject.

Write Your Historiography

There are several possible ways to organize your historiographical paper:

  1. You can report writers in chronological order, monitoring changes over time.
  2. You may present the main schools of thought regarding your topic and discuss each one separately.
  3. If you need to prepare a large paper, you can address the works of the previous historians and describe how they relate to your own analysis.

All methods work for preparing a historiography.

Once you decide upon the organization, proceed with writing. You should begin your essay with a thesis that presents the issue and introduces your sources. In the main body of your paper, you have to develop the points of agreement or disagreement. You have to analyze why different historians have different opinions on the same subject. Is it due to the national affiliation, ideology or personal experience? These questions go to the heart of your historiographical essay. In a conclusion, briefly summarize the findings and access the credibility of the sources you’ve used.

Make sure your paper is consistent and well-structured. Revise it carefully to confirm that you’ve presented a cohesive picture of opinions and debate.

ACT Writing Tips: 5 Strategies to Raise Your Essay Score

ACT writing tipsThe written part of the ACT often strikes fear in the hearts of many students but there is no need to worry! A specific approach to the essay section and learning the main tips and tricks will help you prepare the most powerful piece of writing.

So, what do you need to accomplish in order to receive a high score? Here is all important information.

1. Write a Powerful Introduction and Conclusion

You need to know a little secret: your first and last paragraphs matter more than the middle. ACT graders need to read a lot of essays very quickly, so they pay more attention to the introduction and conclusion and simply scan the main part of your work. If the beginning and the end of your essay are well-written and logical, then most likely other paragraphs will be too. By reading these parts, the grader may tell with confidence what score you will get. However, it doesn’t mean that the middle part shouldn’t make sense. Just devote a bit more time to writing the introduction and conclusion of your essay.

2. Sell Your Examples with Details

A good essay should be persuasive. Interesting and specific details not only present the value of your point of view but also make an essay more interesting to read. Therefore, it is important to back up the statements you make with the fine points. You may even decide to support your position with a real-life story. It will only make your work more noticeable and memorable.

3. Organize Ideas in a Logical Manner

Your essay should be structured in a logical manner with distinctive paragraphs. Great ideas don’t make sense if they are not arranged well. Organization is important to effective writing because it makes easy for readers to follow your thoughts. To make your writing more consequent, use transitions between the paragraphs. Constructing effective paragraphs may be really challenging due to the effort involved in planning. However, the results can greatly improve your chances of getting the high score.

4. Use the Right Language

The use of language is very important, and voice, tone, word choice and grammar are always taken into account. Make sure to avoid slang, misspelling and grammatical mistakes. Your essay should be flawless and error-free. Also try to vary the sentence structure and use relatively sophisticated vocabulary. The ACT graders always pay much attention to the proper language use, so improve your mechanics of writing.

5. Carefully Review Your Essay

Once completed, read through your essay. Make sure it is on topic and persuasive enough. Check whether you don’t repeat the same ideas by using different words. Proofread the work for typos and mistakes as they may damage the most powerful essay.

The ACT test doesn’t have to be challenging or stressful. The tips mentioned above will give you the confidence and the ability to score well and bring you closer to the college of your choice.

How to Write an Abstract for Your Scientific Paper

How to write an abstract for a scientific paperAbstract is an essential part of every scientific project. It is a short, self-contained piece of writing that describes a larger work. An abstract includes the essential or the most important thoughts about the entire paper to allow the readers understand the point of your work.

Writing an abstract can be a bit intimidating, especially if you face the task for the first time. However, the following information will help you overcome the possible challenges with ease.

What Makes a Good Abstract

  • Well-developed, clear and concise paragraphs that can stand alone as a source of information.
  • Elements of a full-length paper, including purpose, focus, methods, results and conclusions.
  • Plain language understandable to a wide audience.
  • Material that doesn’t contain information not included in a paper.
  • No referencing.
  • Passive structures to describe the findings that focus on the issues rather than people.
  • Key words and phrases that quickly identify the content.
  • The same style of language found in the original.

Key Elements of Every Abstract

Your abstract should include 5 important sections:

1. Introduction

In your introduction, you should state the purpose of your paper, why you undertook the experiment and why a reader would be interested in the larger work. Something motivated you to explore this topic (an observation, question, frustration you experienced), so let the reader into your head.

2. A statement of the problem

You need to make a clear statement of the problem you’re going to solve in your paper.

3. Methodology

Specify the approaches or models used in your work. Be clear and concise and don’t include details about the materials used unless it greatly influenced the procedures.

4. Results

Indicate the results that lead to the conclusions you have drawn. Mention the contribution you’ve made and again, don’t give too many details.

5. Conclusions

Briefly describe the conclusions that you derived from your investigation.

Important Steps for Writing

Explaining a scientific paper in an abstract of 250 words can be challenging, but if you divide the writing process into logical steps, the task will be much more manageable.

  1. First of all, reread your paper attentively.
  2. Next read each part and specify the most important information in one or two sentences.
  3. Then read the sentences one more time to make sure that they cover the main points of your paper.
  4. Ensure that you have written something for every element of an abstract.
  5. Check the length of your abstract and reduce the words if necessary.
  6. Edit your abstract for flow and language.

Produce an abstract when you have finished your paper because by then you’ll have a clear picture of the findings and results. Make sure your abstract informs the audience of all important points of your scientific paper and remember that grammar, spelling, syntax, originality and neatness are important.

Scholarship Essay Tips: Write a Winning One

Scholarship Essay TipsYour scholarship essay is easily the most important part of your entire application. It’s probably the only part of the application which makes you stand out from other applicants. Most applicants will meet the same basic requirements: good grades, well-rounded extracurricular activities, and decent test scores. So congratulations…you’re just like everyone else!

Until the reviewers look at your essay and discover that you’re actually not like the others, at all.

Here are the tips to writing a winning scholarship essay.

  1. Follow the directions. You would be amazed at how many students get their applications rejected simply by failing to follow the instructions. Reviewers will be searching for ways to eliminate applicants quickly to make their jobs easier. That means that if you exceed the word limit or single-space instead of double-space, they may not even read your essay at all. And equally important: make sure that you have a crystal-clear understanding of the question so that you can respond to it effectively.

  2. Start with an outline. Do not leave your essay to the last minute! Give yourself plenty of time to plan what you’re going to say. A good outline in an essential tool to craft a coherent essay. Start by listing two or three main points in response to the question, and then add a few concrete supporting details to each of them.

  3. Use proper format. Unless the instructions specifically state otherwise, scholarship essays should be typed in size 12 Times New Roman font and double spaced. There should be one-inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides.

  4. Keep your audience in mind. Avoid crafting a “one-size-fits- all,” generic essay that goes out to everyone. Do some research on the organization offering the scholarship. Discover their goals and priorities and write your essay to reflect these. Find out as much as you can about former award recipients; this will help you understand what the committee values. Remember that there are people evaluating you, with their own hopes, dreams, and goals. You will stand out by showing that their goals are important to you.

  5. Be concise. Keep your language clear and to-the-point. Avoid word repetition.

  6. Make the real “you” shine through. Write with passion and reveal your hopes, dreams and convictions. Instead of just listing activities and accomplishments, turn them into a story that says something meaningful about you as a person. Give concrete details to make this story memorable and believable.

  7. Proofread carefully. Before completing this step, go back and read the question again. As you read over your work, make sure that it answers the question. Then proofread carefully for spelling, punctuation and grammar. It’s also a good idea to enlist a friend, a teacher, or a parent to read it over; it’s easy to miss simple mistakes when we are reading our own work.

It can seem like a lot of pressure to write a scholarship essay that stands out from the crowd. But if you take a little extra time and thought, it can pay off big in the long run.

Writing Lessons You Can Learn From Your Favorite TV Shows

Writing lessons form your favorite TV showIt’s one of the best ways to wind down during a study break or a lazy Sunday: tuning in to Hulu or Netflix for some of your favorite shows.

But do you ever stop to ask yourself why you love these shows so much? Something about them has captured your attention.

What if you could make your writing as captivating as those TV shows you love? What if you could write an essay, story, or lab report that held your reader’s attention to the very end?

Maybe that seems far-fetched, but some of the qualities that make these shows unforgettable can also be applied to your writing.

Here’s how.

1. “Blackish:” Show, don’t tell.

You probably love this show because of its humor, and the funny, well-developed characters. Another great thing about the show is the understated social message. Beneath the humor, there is an undercurrent of commentary on racism and LGBT issues. But no one is holding a billboard announcing: “Attention! This is an example of racist stereotyping!” Instead, we see this message played out through the actions and behavior of the characters.

Any essay or report that you write also has a message, or a “thesis.” In effective writing as in a good TV show, this message is revealed through details, examples, and quotes rather than simple and obvious statements.

2. “Game of Thrones:” Realism and accuracy always win.

Although “The Game of Thrones” belongs to the fantasy genre, the writers purposely limit elements of magic in favor of making the story an accurate reflection of the dark and brutal way of life in medieval times. The violence and the dark stories of intrigue make the viewer feel like they are experiencing the Middle Ages firsthand. This is part of what makes the show so appealing.

Your writing will also be more appealing to your readers if you strive for realism and accuracy. Take the extra time to research your topic thoroughly to bring your reader the true blood and guts of your subject.

3. “The Walking Dead:” Examining a problem from all sides.

What if an apocalyptic event occurred in which those who died became brain-eating zombies?

“The Walking Dead” has held steady success for eight seasons by thoroughly exploring this premise. It examines the differing motivations of the characters, how these characters react differently to the post-apocalyptic world, and how these actions influence the story.

Just like a zombie apocalypse, the problems that you explore in your writing have different sides and affect people in different ways. A stock market crash will be experienced differently by a CEO than by a factory worker, and their reactions will affect one another. A good essay or report will examine a problem from all possible angles.

4. “Criminal Minds:” Deliver the profile.

“Criminal Minds” is a great detective show, with a twist. Instead of profiling the crime itself, the B.A.U. team solves it by compiling a list of clues about the killer, which gives them the ability to determine who and where he is going to attack next.

An effective paper will present the reader with a “profile” in the introduction, outlining the list of clues that have led to a particular conclusion. Then you can develop your paper as if you were solving a crime.

5. “Breaking Bad:” How does change happen?

The character of Walter White is a case study on how events can change a character from good to evil. The well-intentioned chemistry teacher is transformed by the events of poverty and illness into a ruthless drug dealer.

Are you analyzing some kind of transformative change in your paper? What are the factors that led to that change? As you examine the transformation in depth, you may find that it is every bit as complicated and intriguing as the sea-change of Walt White.

So don’t worry about your next writing assignment! With a little imagination, you can make it into a hit!

10 Tips to Write a Personal Statement That Works

how to write a personal statementAre you dreading to write that personal statement for your application?

You may feel overwhelmed by the task, but in reality your personal statement is a great opportunity. This is your chance to show the admissions committee the real you, the aspects of yourself that are not revealed by grades or test scores. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your personal statement.

1. Start with a personal inventory. Answer a set of questions about why you are attracted to this field or this school and how your past experiences have shaped you. Some good questions might be: What do you hope to get out of this career? How have your past jobs contributed to your growth? What challenges and hardships have you had to overcome?

2. Do some research ahead of time. What exactly is it about this school or this program that sets it apart in your mind? Uncover some specific information about the school to help you clarify this.

3. Respond specifically to the questions asked. Tailor your personal statement to the school to which you are applying. Try not to cut corners by using a one-size-fits-all personal statement for every school.

4. Include only items that are relevant. Focus on a clear thesis statement about why you are a great candidate for the program. Don’t litter your personal statement with an excess of trivial details. The reviewers don’t need to know your entire life story. Also try to avoid any statements that may be controversial (political or religious statements).

5. Be positive. This is a good place to address any obstacles that you have faced and how you overcame them. Whatever you mention as part of your story, spin it in a positive light and show that you have the resilience and determination to surmount challenges.

6. Write a strong opening paragraph. No pressure, but your first paragraph will make or break your personal statement. Put effort into making that opening paragraph a memorable attention-grabber, and you will have the reader’s attention throughout the rest of the essay.

7. Make your personal statement lively and interesting. The admissions committee will most likely be reading thousands of personal statements, so don’t bore them. Make your personal statement into a memorable story that showcases the real you.

8. Get specific. Any statement you make in your essay should be backed up with facts. Don’t just say that you are driven and goal-oriented. Cite specific accomplishments to prove that this is true.

9. Show your knowledge. The admissions committee is interested in what you have already learned about your chosen field of study. Reference classes you’ve taken or books that you’ve read. Use field-specific terminology to show you understand it.

10. Proofread not just once, but many times during the writing process. Ensure that your spelling, punctuation, and grammar are flawless. Professors care about the writing ability of their students, so don’t let a few silly errors obscure your potential.

It’s hard to stand out from so many other applicants, especially if you’re applying to a competitive field. Use this opportunity wisely, and you will certainly shine brighter than your competitors.

7 Reasons to Write Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

7-reasons-to-writeWriting an essay or a lab report can definitely seem like a chore! It’s hard work, and you can’t help thinking that there are other things you’d rather be doing.

But writing is not just some kind of meaningless ritual that professors compel you to do out of routine. There are many ways in which writing helps you long-term, in your classes, your career, and your personal life. Here’s how.

1. It enhances creativity and imagination. Writing gives you the opportunity to explore and use your imagination. Ultimately, that will improve your problem-solving abilities and help you feel more motivated. When you are able to use your imagination, learning can be more fun!

2. It allows you to demonstrate your learning. Sure, there are lots of different ways a student can show that he’s learned something, but let’s face it: most professors are going to require you to demonstrate what you’ve learned through a research paper, a lab report, or an essay prompt. If your writing skills are weak, that’s going to be an obstacle to showing your competence.

3. It helps you communicate your ideas clearly. The ability to write helps us express our feelings and ideas in all kinds of situations! Whether it’s a love letter to a significant other or a petition to affect the social change in your community, writing will help you clarify your thoughts and get them across clearly.

4. It is an essential skill for every academic area. No matter what your major is, your professors are going to expect you to be able to write. If you’re studying engineering or accounting, you may think that you won’t ever need to know how to write, but see the next point.

5. It is an important skill for almost every career. Are you planning to start your own business someday? Well, you’re going to need to write a business plan. Are you studying to become a nurse? Nurses need to write up notes on their patients every day. More importantly, research shows that employees with strong writing ability are statistically more likely to advance in their chosen careers, all the way up to the corporate level.

6. It helps you understand and remember information. What do you do when you’re going to the store and need to remember what you’re getting? You write it down, of course. That’s because writing aids memory. It’s the same with course material: taking the time to write about what you’re learning will help you remember and understand it better.

7. It helps you understand your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. There’s a reason why blogging and journaling are such popular activities. The act of writing helps us make sense of the story of our lives, so that we can set effective goals for our future growth.

We know that you’d rather be socializing with friends or vegging out in front of the TV. Writing is not necessarily the most fun activity in the world. But it will bring you some lasting benefits. And who knows? Once you start writing every day, you may even find that you love it.

How to Write an Evaluation Essay

write-evaluation-essayDo you ever read restaurant critiques or movie reviews? Of course, you do.

These reviews are examples of evaluation essays.

You might think that an evaluation essay does nothing more than express your opinion, but actually a good one is unbiased and rational.

There are three key elements of a good evaluation essay:

1. Criteria. Think about what makes a great movie. Great acting? A compelling story? Define the qualities of a great movie, a great restaurant, a great TV show. Defining this ahead of time makes your evaluation seem more objective and less opinionated.
2. Judgment. State how your subject measured up to your evaluation of the criteria. Be descriptive in your writing to engage the readers’ interest.
3. Evidence. Use facts and information to prove that the subject met your criteria, or didn’t.

Now that you know what the three elements of well-written evaluation essay are, here are the steps to writing it.

Come Up with a Topic

Begin with a list of general topics, like restaurants or beauty products. Then get more specific with names of specific products or businesses. Ideally, choose a topic that you already know about.

Write Your Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement will summarize your evaluation and briefly give your reasons for it. For example, you might say that Johnson’s Restaurant is great for families because of their good service, casual atmosphere, and kid-friendly menu.

Identify Your Audience and Subject

Describe the genre of service and the audience targeted by this product or service. For example, you might say that a certain kind of car is ideal for commuters who have to drive a lot because of its good gas mileage.

Outline Your Criteria

Detail the specific criteria by which you are evaluating your subject. For example, if you’re critiquing a band, you might mention melody, lyrics, and dynamics as your criteria.

Establish Whether Your Subject Met That Criteria

Support your evaluation with strong and specific reasons. You can do this through a chronological description of the subject or you can quote others who are talking about it. You may also describe your own personal experience, or draw a comparison to another subject in the same genre.

Depending on what your subject is, there are several different ways that you can structure your essay.

1. Compare/Contrast: Take an example of something that’s universally recognized as the best within that area, and begin your essay by comparing your subject to that.
2. Unfulfilled Expectations: Begin with what you expected to experience, and then explain that the subject exceeded this expectation, or failed to live up to it.
3. Description as Framework: Begin and end with a description of your experience of the subject. Break off midway through your description to give your evaluation. This structure keeps the reader in suspense.
4. Evaluate based on Criteria: After giving your introduction and evaluation, discuss how your subject performed in each of your criteria.
5. Cause and Effect Analysis: What effect does this subject have on your audience?

There is more than one way to write an evaluative essay, so try to have fun with this opportunity to articulate your opinion about something that matters to you.