Listed: three tips for essay writing

Image via Thinkstock
Image via Thinkstock

By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor

Do you have trouble focussing on essay writing? Here’s a list of ways you can improve your abilities.

  1. Do a skeletal structure of your essay. In point form lists out each body paragraph or argument for your thesis, and bullet point some of the points you’d like to make within each of those arguments. This is especially helpful if you find it difficult to maintain your thesis throughout your essay, or if you’re forced to work on the essay in small increments due to work or other school obligations, as it will act like a list that you can simply check off, or turn to in the event you need to remind yourself of where you are. It will also help ensure that nothing is forgotten if you have specific points you need to hit.
  2. Colour-code your quotes. If you’re doing a really long essay, you might find it helpful to use different highlighters to keep track of what quotes you want to use and where to put them. This is extremely useful if you have trouble linking arguments, or if you need to work on your transition sentences because depending on the text, multiple points or themes could be made in a single quote. Taking advantage of this is paramount to making your essays flow smoother.
  3. Strip notes. In the event of a compare and contrast or a research essay, where you will be required to use multiple texts, I often find it helpful to copy the quotes I want to use onto an index card. Doing so will allow you to rearrange the quotes and play with how they function both with and against each other. You can even add little notes as to what your intention for that quote was, which will help when you get to the actual writing part. Essentially what this does is create a giant puzzle that you can fit together how you like, giving you the best chance at getting your point across clearly.