Essay writing is an integral part of a student’s academic life. Despite knowing the basic rules of essay writing, many students find this process challenging and time-consuming. While there is no common template for writing an exceptional essay, students need to know which mistakes to avoid.
Learning to avoid the most common writing mistakes can significantly improve the quality of the essay. To help you in this process, here are the top 10 essay writing mistakes and ways in which you can avoid them.
1. Poor grammar
Grammar is an important aspect of academic essay writing. Without proper grammar, spelling and punctuation your essay will appear dull and vague. Thus, it is important for students to proofread their essays multiple times before submitting them. Besides manually proofreading your essay, you can quickly scan it using an online grammar checker. A good grammar checker will highlight all the grammar errors in your essay and provide suggestions for adding punctuation marks, correcting the spelling mistakes and improving the vocabulary of your essay.
To meet the word count of the essay, students often repeat the same ideas and arguments in different parts of the essay. This shows that you have not done enough research about the topic and lack ideas to explain your perspective. Some students also have a habit of repeating words and phrases. This makes your essay fluffy and you might lose marks for not being able to write a well-constructed essay. To avoid any kind of repetition in your essay, make sure to read your essay multiple times. You can also use online grammar checker tools to identify repeated words and phrases and replace them with other meaningful words.
3. Use of passive voice
Many students use passive voice in their essays. Passive voice is easy to explain and is not straight to the point. This makes the sentences incredibly long and is likely to confuse the readers. Instead of a passive voice, use an active voice that is more direct and stronger. While the use of passive voice in some sentences is acceptable, try to limit it only to a few sentences. To reduce the use of passive voice, read your text again and see how you can make it more direct, active and engaging.
4. No original ideas
Presenting facts without proper explanation in your essay can make it difficult for people to interpret your points. If you are presenting any evidence, facts, quotations or theories in your essay, remember to support it with a brief analysis. Be consistent while presenting facts and analysing them. This will help readers in understanding the information presented. Giving your own perspective on existing information will further make your essay appear unique and interesting.
5. Improper introduction
The introductory paragraph of the essay should introduce the major concepts and the thesis statement. The introduction paragraph helps the readers decide whether to read the essay or skip it. Make your essay interesting by writing a clear and engaging thesis statement. Place your thesis statement at the ending part of the introduction. This will allow a consistent flow of information between the introduction paragraph and the main body of the essay.
6. Reiteration in conclusion
You might lose marks for reiterating your introductory part in the conclusion paragraph. Use the conclusion paragraph to briefly explain your observations. You can also restate the thesis statement for readers to compare your results. A strong conclusion can consist of new questions, additional implications or intriguing information that leaves the readers with new ideas.
7. Lack of critical thinking and evaluation
Lack of critical thinking and evaluation is one of the most common essay writing mistakes. Students fail to critically evaluate the information presented in the essay. This leads to biased findings and reduces the value of the essay. To avoid this, add questioning ideas and evidence in your essay and evaluate information from different perspectives. An easy way to include critical thinking is by accessing information from multiple sources and analysing the evidence.
8. Not editing
If you have spent a lot of time researching and writing your essay you might feel like ignoring the editing part. Submitting your essay without proofreading, revising and editing can make you lose marks. After you finish writing the essay, take a short break and start with the editing process. Editing the essay with a fresh mind will make it easier for you to identify the mistakes. Editing will help you evaluate your content and ensure that it is clearly written and well-organised.
9. Ignoring university instructions
Every university has different guidelines for academic essay writing. Although most of these instructions are universal, meticulously following your university’s guidelines is important. These instructions mainly guide the students about appropriate word count, formatting, structure and font selection.
Unable to maintain the university format will show your incapability of following instructions. Thus, carefully read the guidelines provided by your professor and follow them in your essay. Brainstorm before writing the essay while going through the material, notes and guidelines. This will help you come up with innovative ideas to write a unique essay.
Plagiarism is the biggest essay writing mistake that can reduce the credibility of your work. Universities follow strict protocols for plagiarism and have penalties based on the severity of plagiarised work. If you are including someone else’s work remember to add proper citations and references. Do not just copy and paste sentences from the internet. To avoid plagiarism, make sure to understand the topic completely. Refer to books, journals or existing academic essays based on your topic. Use this information to present your own ideas in an innovative way.
Writing an academic essay can be overwhelming for students in the beginning. Thus, it is essential to follow the guidelines and instructions while writing an essay. Avoiding the above mistakes will help you make your essay free from common errors. Moreover, with proper practice, you can improve your writing skills and write an engaging essay.