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Essay Writing Skills

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We've all been there: the task is to write an engaging and knowledgeable essay, but the page is staring back, dauntingly empty. Being aware of the different skills that go into writing a good essay can make tackling this first step much easier and help you improve your writing once you get going. So, if you're not sure where to start, don't worry! We will explore tips and tricks to help you develop the skills you need to write an essay that is clear, informative, and will impress your reader.

Essay writing skills: examples

When writing an essay, there are different elements and skills to consider. For example:

The essay format - this refers to the physical appearance of your essay. How will it be arranged on the page?

The essay content - this refers to what you will write. What will your essay be about and what points will you make?

Essay writing skills - this refers to the ability to turn your ideas into words. How will you convey your thoughts and argument to the reader in a clear, concise way?

Now, let's explore these in more detail!

Essay writing skills: format example

It is important to understand the basic format of an essay. This way, you will be able to plan your content around the basic format of an essay: the introduction , main body , and conclusion .

The introduction is the opening paragraph of your essay. It tells the reader about the topic you are writing about and briefly states the main points you will expand on throughout the main body of your essay. An introduction usually contains:

Other words for 'essay brief' that you may be familiar with include 'thesis' or 'main argument'.

The main body is split into different paragraphs. This is where you expand on your ideas or your argument to show the reader that you are able to analyse and interpret information effectively while also forming your own opinion on the topic. A good structure to follow when writing the main body paragraph is PEE. This stands for: point, evidence, explain:

The conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay. It summarises the main points made throughout your essay and gives the reader something to think about when bringing the essay to a close. A conclusion usually does these three things:

Critical Thinking Skills in Essay Writing

In the main body of your essay, it's your chance to show off your critical thinking skills and let the reader know how knowledgeable you are about your essay topic !

But, what is critical thinking ? Let's begin by looking at the meaning:

Critical thinking helps to strengthen your point of view and enhance the way you express your ideas. It also helps you to reflect on your own opinion and also to question the views of others. In short, critical thinking involves not just taking things at face value.

Critical thinking also enables you to read between the lines, i.e., by considering meanings that may not be initially obvious. When thinking critically, you should consider the following:

Improve your English Essay Writing Skills

We will now look at a few things you can do to help improve your English essay writing skills. It is important to note that these are simply suggestions; everyone writes in different ways and will find different things helpful!

Steps to writing an essay

There are different steps you can take before, during, and after writing an essay to ensure that your thoughts are well organised and your work is clear.

Before writing an essay, it can be very helpful to write down your initial ideas to help you plan out what you want to focus on in your writing.

Essay Writing Skills Image of a mindmap StudySmarter

Planning for an essay can be done in various ways. You could organise your thoughts by creating a mind map like the one shown above, for example, or you could write a list.

Whichever way is best for you, you should begin by focusing on your essay brief or question. It is important to have a good understanding of the main purpose of your essay or the question you will be answering. This will make it easier to plan out the rest of the writing. It may be useful to highlight any keywords in the brief/question so that you know what to focus on when writing.

You could highlight instruction verbs as these can help you to understand exactly what the question is asking you to do. Examples include:

When planning your essay, you should also ask yourself the following questions:

What is the brief/question telling me to do?

Do I understand the purpose of my essay?

Do I have to argue for or against something?

Can I develop this in the main body of my essay?

You could separate your plan into different sections to help determine the main points you will make in each paragraph:

Essay brief/question: Explore the ways slang can either have a positive or negative impact on teenagers.

Now you've finished your plan, it's time to look at each section of your essay in more detail and start writing.

When stating the brief in your introduction , consider the following questions:

What is my essay about?

What is the purpose of this essay?

When outlining the main points and/or argument you will make in your introduction, consider the following questions:

Am I arguing for or against something?

What am I trying to prove to the reader?

What key points will I further expand on in the body of my essay?

Am I going to be discussing/analysing any theories?

During the writing of the main body of your essay, you should ensure that your ideas are clear and flow well. A good way to do this is to link your writing back to the brief . Linking back to the brief is important to show that you understand it fully and your argument clearly relates to it.

If you are answering the question:

'Do you agree or disagree that the internet has positively impacted communication?'

You could link your paragraph back to the question by writing:

'This shows that the internet has/has not (depending on your argument) positively impacted communication because…'

Linking can also be done between paragraphs – think of your paragraphs like a chain!

You could link the final idea of one paragraph to the next idea of the following paragraph. This will help to create a coherent flow and will ensure that all of your ideas relate to one another.

Another way to make sure your ideas are clear is to make sure your vocabulary is not too complicated. Although you may think that advanced vocabulary is more impressive, it is often unnecessary! Complicated language may cause confusion between you and the reader, as they may not understand the meaning of the words and could get distracted from the main purpose of your essay.

Because of this, it is better to stick to vocabulary that you are familiar with, as this will ensure your writing is concise and your main points are easier to understand for the reader.

When writing your conclusion , you could consider the following questions:

What is the main message of my essay?

What ideas did I raise in the main body of my essay?

What is my overall opinion of the topic?

How did I contribute to the study of my topic?

After you have finished writing, you should allow yourself time to proofread your work to ensure that you have not made any obvious mistakes such as spelling or grammar errors.

Put your proofreading abilities to the test! Can you spot the errors in the following essay writing example?

It could be argued that the internet has had a positive impact on communication one reeson for this is ability to contact people quickly. Social media platforms such as facebook and instagram have enabled people to to engage in instant messaging, which lets people eficiently send and receive messages at a fast speed.

Below is the correct version of the text. The parts that have been corrected are highlighted:

It could be argued that the internet has had a positive impact on communication . One reason for this is the ability to contact people quickly. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have enabled people to engage in instant messaging, which lets people efficiently send and receive messages at a fast speed.

Essay Writing Skills - Key Takeaways

Frequently Asked Questions about Essay Writing Skills

--> how to write an essay.

To write an essay, you should first be aware of the essay format: introduction, main body, and conclusion. The introduction tells the reader about your essay brief and the main points you will make. The main body expands on your main points. It allows you to analyse information, develop an argument, and form your own opinion. The conclusion summarises your essay brief and the main points of your argument. 

--> What is an essay?

An essay is a piece of writing that explores a topic by evaluating ideas, analysing evidence, and building an argument.

--> How to improve essay writing skills?

There are different steps you could take to improve your essay writing skills. For example:

--> What are the 5 writing skills?

5 good skills to have when writing an essay are as follows:

--> What are the 5 parts of an essay?

Typically, the 5 parts of an essay are as follows:

(This may differ depending on the type of essay or the word count).

Final Essay Writing Skills Quiz

What does PEE stand for?

Show answer

Point, evidence, explain.

Show question

What is a point?

A statement relating to the question you are answering.

What is evidence?

Examples used to back up your point.

What does 'explain' refer to?

Going into detail about how your quote backs up your point and considering what it suggests/implies. 

Fill in the blank:

You should  ____  your explanation back to the question.

A quote should be long.

True or false?

Try to keep quotes short and succinct!

What is a conclusion?

An ending paragraph that brings an essay to a close.

What comes before a conclusion?

The main body of the essay.

What is an essay brief?

The main idea of the essay.

You should directly repeat ideas from the rest of your essay in your conclusion.

You shouldn't introduce new ideas in a conclusion.

Directly repeating ideas can be _____ for the reader.

Directly repeating ideas takes away from the main _____ of your essay.

A conclusion should be around __% of your total word count.

A conclusion ______ your argument.

A. develops

B. disproves  C. summarises

C. summarises

A conclusion _____ your essay brief.

C. disproves

What is an introduction?

An opening paragraph that states the purpose and outlines the main objectives of your work.

What is an introduction followed by?

Main body and conclusion

What is a hook?

 A memorable opening line that draws the reader in and intrigues them.

A hook can be written in a variety of ways. What are they?

Statement, question, quotation, fact/statistic

What does background information do?

Provide the reader with context.

Fill in the blanks:

Background information allows the reader to gain more of an ________ of the _____ you are exploring.


What does an essay brief refer to?

The main idea of your essay.

Outlining the main goal of your argument lets the reader know what?

What to expect in the body of the essay.

Your introduction should be long.

Your introduction should be brief and concise, not too long.

An introduction should be around __% of your overall word count.

What is a transcription?

A transcription is a written or printed version of something.

What needs doing before you can transcribe spoken data?

You first need an either audio or audio-visual recording of speech before you can transcribe it.

What needs to be considered before recording speech to use as data?

Ethics and observer's paradox.

How do ethics affect data collection for transcription?

You need to have the speakers' permission before you record their speech.

Why is observer's paradox a problem when collecting spoken data?

When you're recording people speaking, you're usually wanting natural speech. This is very difficult to get when the speakers know they're being recorded or listened to.

How can you overcome observer's paradox when collecting spoken data for transcription?

You can ask permission to record someone's speech in advance and then record when they aren't aware, then ask permission again after to check you can use that recording as data.

You could also start the recording and let the speakers chat for a period of time before selecting a section of recording to use as data, so they're more likely to have relaxed and be speaking more naturally.

What should be at the beginning of a transcript?

At the beginning of a transcript, there should be a couple of sentences giving some contextual information regarding the interaction. This should include who the speakers are, what their relation to each other, what they're doing, and any social factors such as age, gender or class that might be relevant to your research.

What should each line of a transcript have?

Each line of a transcript should be numbered. In some cases of longer transcripts, it could be that every fifth or tenth line is numbered. This is so you can clearly reference a specific line of the transcript in your analysis.

What features of speech can be shown in a transcript?

What's the difference between a micro-pause and a pause?

What can you use to show specific speech sounds in transcriptions?

You can use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols to show specific speech sounds.

How do you discuss a short quote from a transcript?

The first time you introduce a the transcript, give the year and a bit of context. Then use quote marks around your quote and give the line number.

How do you give a long quote from a transcript?

You introduce the extract and then quote the extract as a separate paragraph after. Then discuss the quote in another separate paragraph below.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when you take someone else's work and try to pass it off as your own.

In what order are reference lists typically in?

Alphabetical order.

When do you not need to reference?

You don't need to reference when

You are drawing your own conclusions.

You are sharing your own original thoughts, ideas, or personal experiences. 

You writing up the results of your research.

When do  you need to reference?

Anytime you are using someone else's ideas, findings, work etc.

What punctuation is needed for direct quotes?

Quotation marks.

If you are using a direct quote, what information do you need to provide in-text?

The author's surname, the publication date, and the page number(s).

True or false, you should use quotation marks when paraphrasing?

What does the Latin term 'et al.' mean?

And others.

In the reference list, which part of the reference should be italicised?

The title of the place where the work was published i.e. the title of the book or the title of the journal article. 

What is a DOI?

DOI stands for Digital Object Identifiers. They work as direct links to online journal articles.

PEE paragraphs can sometimes be referred to as PEEL paragraphs. What does the 'L' stand for?

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1.2 Developing Study Skills

Learning objectives.

By now, you have a general idea of what to expect from your college courses. You have probably received course syllabi, started on your first few assignments, and begun applying the strategies you learned about in Section 1.1 “Reading and Writing in College” .

At the beginning of the semester, your work load is relatively light. This is the perfect time to brush up on your study skills and establish good habits. When the demands on your time and energy become more intense, you will have a system in place for handling them.

This section covers specific strategies for managing your time effectively. You will also learn about different note-taking systems that you can use to organize and record information efficiently.

As you work through this section, remember that every student is different. The strategies presented here are tried and true techniques that work well for many people. However, you may need to adapt them slightly to develop a system that works well for you personally. If your friend swears by her smartphone, but you hate having to carry extra electronic gadgets around, then using a smartphone will not be the best organizational strategy for you.

Read with an open mind, and consider what techniques have been effective (or ineffective) for you in the past. Which habits from your high school years or your work life could help you succeed in college? Which habits might get in your way? What changes might you need to make?

Understanding Yourself as a Learner

To succeed in college—or any situation where you must master new concepts and skills—it helps to know what makes you tick. For decades, educational researchers and organizational psychologists have examined how people take in and assimilate new information, how some people learn differently than others, and what conditions make students and workers most productive. Here are just a few questions to think about:

Learning Styles

Most people have one channel that works best for them when it comes to taking in new information. Knowing yours can help you develop strategies for studying, time management, and note taking that work especially well for you.

To begin identifying your learning style, think about how you would go about the process of assembling a piece of furniture. Which of these options sounds most like you?

Now read the following explanations. Again, think about whether each description sounds like you.

Your learning style does not completely define you as a student. Auditory learners can comprehend a flow chart, and kinesthetic learners can sit still long enough to read a book. However, if you do have one dominant learning style, you can work with it to get the most out of your classes and study time. Table 1.3 “Learning Style Strategies” lists some tips for maximizing your learning style.

Table 1.3 Learning Style Strategies

The material presented here about learning styles is just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous other variations in how people learn. Some people like to act on information right away while others reflect on it first. Some people excel at mastering details and understanding concrete, tried and true ideas while others enjoy exploring abstract theories and innovative, even impractical ideas. For more information about how you learn, visit your school’s academic resource center.

Time Management

In college you have increased freedom to structure your time as you please. With that freedom comes increased responsibility. High school teachers often take it upon themselves to track down students who miss class or forget assignments. College instructors, however, expect you to take full responsibility for managing yourself and getting your work done on time.

Getting Started: Short- and Long-Term Planning

At the beginning of the semester, establish a weekly routine for when you will study and write. A general guideline is that for every hour spent in class, students should expect to spend another two to three hours on reading, writing, and studying for tests. Therefore, if you are taking a biology course that meets three times a week for an hour at a time, you can expect to spend six to nine hours per week on it outside of class. You will need to budget time for each class just like an employer schedules shifts at work, and you must make that study time a priority.

That may sound like a lot when taking multiple classes, but if you plan your time carefully, it is manageable. A typical full-time schedule of fifteen credit hours translates into thirty to forty-five hours per week spent on schoolwork outside of class. All in all, a full-time student would spend about as much time on school each week as an employee spends on work. Balancing school and a job can be more challenging, but still doable.

In addition to setting aside regular work periods, you will need to plan ahead to handle more intense demands, such as studying for exams and writing major papers. At the beginning of the semester, go through your course syllabi and mark all major due dates and exam dates on a calendar. Use a format that you check regularly, such as your smartphone or the calendar feature in your e-mail. (In Section 1.3 “Becoming a Successful College Writer” you will learn strategies for planning out major writing assignments so you can complete them on time.)

The two- to three-hour rule may sound intimidating. However, keep in mind that this is only a rule of thumb. Realistically, some courses will be more challenging than others, and the demands will ebb and flow throughout the semester. You may have trouble-free weeks and stressful weeks. When you schedule your classes, try to balance introductory-level classes with more advanced classes so that your work load stays manageable.

Crystal knew that to balance a job, college classes, and a family, it was crucial for her to get organized. For the month of September, she drew up a week-by-week calendar that listed not only her own class and work schedules but also the days her son attended preschool and the days her husband had off from work. She and her husband discussed how to share their day-to-day household responsibilities so she would be able to get her schoolwork done. Crystal also made a note to talk to her supervisor at work about reducing her hours during finals week in December.

Now that you have learned some time-management basics, it is time to apply those skills. For this exercise, you will develop a weekly schedule and a semester calendar.

Staying Consistent: Time Management Dos and Don’ts

Setting up a schedule is easy. Sticking with it, however, may create challenges. A schedule that looked great on paper may prove to be unrealistic. Sometimes, despite students’ best intentions, they end up procrastinating or pulling all-nighters to finish a paper or study for an exam.

Keep in mind, however, that your weekly schedule and semester calendar are time-management tools. Like any tools, their effectiveness depends on the user: you. If you leave a tool sitting in the box unused (e.g., if you set up your schedule and then forget about it), it will not help you complete the task. And if, for some reason, a particular tool or strategy is not getting the job done, you need to figure out why and maybe try using something else.

With that in mind, read the list of time-management dos and don’ts. Keep this list handy as a reference you can use throughout the semester to “troubleshoot” if you feel like your schoolwork is getting off track.

The key to managing your time effectively is consistency. Completing the following tasks will help you stay on track throughout the semester.

Writing at Work

If you are part of the workforce, you have probably established strategies for accomplishing job-related tasks efficiently. How could you adapt these strategies to help you be a successful student? For instance, you might sync up your school and work schedules on an electronic calendar. Instead of checking in with your boss about upcoming work deadlines, establish a buddy system where you check in with a friend about school projects. Give school the same priority you give to work.

Note-Taking Methods

One final valuable tool to have in your arsenal as a student is a good note-taking system. Just the act of converting a spoken lecture to notes helps you organize and retain information, and of course, good notes also help you review important concepts later. Although taking good notes is an essential study skill, many students enter college without having received much guidance about note taking.

These sections discuss different strategies you can use to take notes efficiently. No matter which system you choose, keep the note-taking guidelines in mind.

General Note-Taking Guidelines

Organizing Ideas in Your Notes

A good note-taking system needs to help you differentiate among major points, related subtopics, and supporting details. It visually represents the connections between ideas. Finally, to be effective, your note-taking system must allow you to record and organize information fairly quickly. Although some students like to create detailed, formal outlines or concept maps when they read, these may not be good strategies for class notes, because spoken lectures may not allow time for elaborate notes.

Instead, focus on recording content simply and quickly to create organized, legible notes. Try one of the following techniques.

Modified Outline Format

A modified outline format uses indented spacing to show the hierarchy of ideas without including roman numerals, lettering, and so forth. Just use a dash or bullet to signify each new point unless your instructor specifically presents a numbered list of items.

The first example shows Crystal’s notes from a developmental psychology class about an important theorist in this field. Notice how the line for the main topic is all the way to the left. Subtopics are indented, and supporting details are indented one level further. Crystal also used abbreviations for terms like development and example .

Child Development-10th Century Theorists. Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist and very influential in education. He first developed theories in the 1920s and 1930s. 4 major stages of cognitive development are sensorimotor (0-2), preoperational (2-7), concrete operations (7-12) and formal operations (12-adulthood)

Idea Mapping

If you discovered in this section that you learn best with visual presentations, you may prefer to use a more graphic format for notes, such as an idea map. The next example shows how Crystal’s lecture notes could be set up differently. Although the format is different, the content and organization are the same.

Child Development--20th Century Theorists

If the content of a lecture falls into a predictable, well-organized pattern, you might choose to use a chart or table to record your notes. This system works best when you already know, either before class or at the beginning of class, which categories you should include. The next figure shows how this system might be used.

The Cornell Note-Taking System

In addition to the general techniques already described, you might find it useful to practice a specific strategy known as the Cornell note-taking system. This popular format makes it easy not only to organize information clearly but also to note key terms and summarize content.

To use the Cornell system, begin by setting up the page with these components:

During the lecture, you record notes in the wide column. You can do so using the traditional modified outline format or a more visual format if you prefer.

Then, as soon as possible after the lecture, review your notes and identify key terms. Jot these down in the narrow left-hand column. You can use this column as a study aid by covering the notes on the right-hand side, reviewing the key terms, and trying to recall as much as you can about them so that you can mentally restate the main points of the lecture. Uncover the notes on the right to check your understanding. Finally, use the space at the bottom of the page to summarize each page of notes in a few sentences.

Using the Cornell system, Crystal’s notes would look like the following:

Using the Cornell system, Crystal's notes would look like the following:

Often, at school or in the workplace, a speaker will provide you with pregenerated notes summarizing electronic presentation slides. You may be tempted not to take notes at all because much of the content is already summarized for you. However, it is a good idea to jot down at least a few notes. Doing so keeps you focused during the presentation, allows you to record details you might otherwise forget, and gives you the opportunity to jot down questions or reflections to personalize the content.

Over the next few weeks, establish a note-taking system that works for you.

Key Takeaways

Writing for Success by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

10 Important Essay Writing Skills You Need to Know

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Practice makes perfect.” And you know that this applies to almost anything you do in life: sports, music, debate, public speaking, dungeon master, whatever. Essay writing skills are just the same. You must practice to get better.

But practice only takes you so far. You’ll also need the right tools.

Batman wouldn’t be nearly as prepared to fight Joker without all of his fancy gadgets, and you won’t become a great essayist without rocking some serious writing skills in your utility belt.

In this post, I’ll walk you through 10 important writing skills you’ll need to know to write an awesome paper.

1. Essay Writing Skills: The Fundamentals

This is the most important part of the writing process. LeBron James can dunk like crazy, but without having some of the basics down, he would never have become such a great player. So let’s start small.

Read, read, read

Reading is one of the best ways to start working out those writing muscles. It becomes a skill when you’ve read a lot of different things that give you new perspectives or challenge your thoughts.

The more you read, the more you know, and knowing more will help you craft better essays.

You should also read plenty of sample essays in the category of your essay assignment. Seeing how a successful essay is put together can be super useful.

Know your interests

And dive into them. A lot of college English handbooks offer essay prompts to help students see what types of topics can work well for the assignment.

But don’t just take the easy way out: you’’ll have a much easier time if you focus on topics that interest you—things you care about.

2. Organizing Your Thoughts

Essay Writing Skills

Starting an essay without getting your ideas in order is like putting together a puzzle without the picture…and half the pieces are missing. It’s just not going to work, so brush up on these techniques before getting started.

In a nutshell, brainstorming is when you think about different ideas and make notes to just get the creative juices flowing. A simple way to do this is to answer these questions:

There are plenty of useful brainstorming methods out there. If possible, try to conduct a group brainstorming session before writing an essay, so you can openly discuss your topic(s) with others and get feedback and ideas.

While brainstorming helps you generate ideas, outlining gives them a structure. Outlining your essay ahead of time will save you from writing yourself into a corner, not knowing what to talk about next.

When you structure the points of your essay from beginning to end, you set tangible goals for yourself, which is much easier than just winging it.

3. Research

Essay Writing Skills

You might be a digital native, but how good are you at combing academic databases for resources? Have you ever performed a Boolean search before?

If this is uncharted territory, then it’s time to get acquainted with proper research techniques that will support your ideas, particularly if you’re writing an argumentative paper .

Using databases

If you’re a college student, then it’s very likely that you have access to a number of great academic databases through your school library’s online portal.

This is important.

Popular sources, such as news and magazine articles and blogs, are usually not going to cut it when it comes to supporting an argument.  Your professor probably wants to see something more official, such as a peer-reviewed source published by a credible academic institution.

This is where databases come in. To use these, make sure you can access them through your school or university library website. Get help from your professor or librarian if need be.

Boolean search

Some students have a hard time finding things in databases because they’re not searching with specific parameters.

If you were writing a paper on graphic novels and all you type in is “graphic novels,” you would get so many results that it would be impossible to find what you were looking for. Instead, try using built-in Boolean parameters , such as AND, OR, and NOT.

4. Tone and Voice

When writing your essay, always think about the tone . Whether you’re trying to explain something, make an argument, etc., focus on the language you’re using. Are you trying to be forceful or accommodating? Pragmatic or creative?

Whatever the case, knowing how to reach out to those in your audience and win them over is a great skill to have.

Also focus on academic writing. When you write an essay, you’re creating something that’s a far cry from how most of our daily communications occur.

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An essay is not a Tweet nor a text, and your word choices matter .

Here’s a useful guide on writing in academic voice.

Essay Writing Skills

5. Starting an Essay

When you write an essay introduction , you have a few tasks to manage. You’re introducing the topic and summarizing the essay and its goals. You’re also usually writing a thesis, and you should always have a hook.

You write a summary to tell the reader what you’ll tell them . In a nutshell, your intro paragraph introduces the topic or issue you’re writing about and tells the reader how and why you’re writing about it.

While you can’t cover everything in a single intro paragraph (because you have to actually write the paper too), your summary should discuss the main points or major supporting ideas in your essay from beginning to end.

A thesis is your main argument wrapped up into one or two sentences, usually near the end of your intro paragraph. It should be specific in telling the reader exactly what your stance is and what main pieces of evidence or logic reinforce it.

There are different ways of writing a thesis for the various types of essays out there, so make sure yours fits!

Having a good hook prevents readers from seeing nothing but “boring blah, blah, blah” when they start reading your essay. A hook isn’t a cheesy clickbait headline. Its job is to intrigue readers so that they’ll want more.

Read How to Write Good Hook Sentences to get started with hooks.

6. Making an Argument

You can argue about almost any topic out there, but some are easier than others.

That said, your professor has probably read a million “Legalize Weed” papers, so being a little more creative or finding a more specific part of a big issue to argue will likely win you big points in the long run.

Essay Writing Skills

To start, do some initial research on a topic that interests you, and then look for an argument or “conversation” that’s happening within that topic.

Now, think of writing that argument essay  like it’s a family conversation at Thanksgiving dinner. Every person at that table has an opinion about your topic, and you do too.

Writing your argument happens when you join the conversation and give your own ideas and opinions about the topic. You draw on others’ comments that support your ideas and debate those whose opinions are different from yours.

When you argue a topic, make sure you’re being smart and focused. Being overly simplistic won’t get you very far.

For example, let’s say you want to write an argument against GMOs. You wouldn’t just say that “GMOs are bad.”

Instead, you would want to refine your argument to say what—specifically—about GMOs are bad and why this is a problem. A smart and focused argument would look more like this:

GMOs pose a major threat to non-GMO crops due to their modified resistances. These modified crops can weaken and destroy neighboring non-GMO crops, thus financially burdening many farmers and decreasing biodiversity within the food chain.

7. Supporting an Argument

Just like Grandma’s roast, a good argument needs all the right ingredients to keep people coming back for more.

Ethos, logos, and pathos

Ethos is your credibility in your argument. If the reader doesn’t see you as an expert on your topic, then you need to show that your ideas are reinforced by credible voices—experts in the field of your topic.

Logos is your logical support. Make sure that any arguments you make to support your thesis don’t contain any logical fallacies. It’s a lot harder for readers to poke holes in your argument if the logic is rock-solid.

Pathos is your emotional support. Know your intended audience , and appeal to their interests and emotions. A good example of pathos is in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter From Birmingham Jail .

In the letter, King appeals to his audience by citing their common connection and goals as clergymen. Pathos brings humanity to the words you write, so make sure you have it in your paper.

Your argument needs a healthy balance of both logos and pathos . Have only facts, and your paper will seem boring and robotic. Have only an emotional appeal, and you won’t appear credible to the reader.

A good argument is never one-sided.

While you’ll be backing up your ideas with reputable sources from scholarly articles and the like, you also want to acknowledge the validity of another viewpoint.

Discuss another side of the argument, and show some examples from research that make sound points that go against your ideas. Just be sure to offer a strong rebuttal to continue supporting your side of the argument.

8. Concluding an Essay

Essay Writing Skills

This is where you tell them what you told them . Think about how you use summary in your introduction. You’ll do something similar when you end your essay in the conclusion .

The approach can be a bit different depending on the essay type, but for many of your essays, you’ll follow this formula for the conclusion:

For essays that aren’t argumentative or persuasive, focus on leaving readers with a strong final impression—whatever message you want them to take away from your words.

9. Self-Edit

Never EVER blow through a single draft of an essay and turn it in to your professor. One of the best essay writing skills you can develop is the ability to review and edit your essay for mistakes in grammar, typos, and logic.

Here are some ways to go about the editing process.

Error check

You’ve already spent a lot of time with the words you’ve written, so it can seem like a daunting task to have to read them all over again.

So if you need to take a break, even a day or two, before you’re able to sit down and review your work, that’s okay. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to do so.

Read through each sentence carefully to catch any spelling errors that Word may have missed. Check for punctuation issues, especially commas and end punctuation. Do you have any incomplete thoughts, awkward phrases, or run-on sentences? Correct them as you go.

Sometimes it helps to read your paper aloud—it’s way easier to catch awkward sentences this way. If you find yourself stumbling midway through a sentence, then you probably need to rewrite it to make it clearer and more coherent.

Peer review

Have a good friend—one who likes to help—review your paper too. After all, two heads are better than one, and your friend may catch things that you missed.

Also ask your friend to be an objective voice and offer advice. If any parts of your essay seem weak or confusing, your friend can probably point this out to you so that you can fix these items before turning in your paper.

Develop a good relationship with your professors. You’ll have an easier time asking them questions about your work, and they’ll be more willing and able to help you if they have a better understanding of your needs up front.

Your campus probably also has a writing center or some sort of tutoring program that can help get you on the right track.

Check to see if there are any free services for students. Usually, these tutors won’t edit your paper for you, but they can help point out mistakes and guide you toward success.

Kibin can do all of the above, of course! If you need your paper edited or if you need some advice on how to make it stronger overall, Kibin editors have got your back .

10. Learn to Accept (and Improve From) Failure

Essay Writing Skills

Some of the most heart-sinking moments in a college student’s life come from seeing that giant “D” or “F” scribbled in red pen at the top of an essay that took a lot of time and hard work to finish.

And while it’s important to try your best, don’t let a failed essay get you down. Instead, carefully review your professor’s comments and marks. They’re meant to help you improve.

No student is perfect—we all start somewhere.

And while improving your writing may seem like an uphill climb, every small step toward improvement is a step in the right direction. If anything is unclear, keep your cool, and ask to meet with your professor during office hours to go over your work.

You’ll be really glad you did.

Few students are “bad at English.” Instead, you may have some trouble with commas or tone or research, but these are all fixable things. Keep practicing your essay writing skills, and you will get better.

Get help from friends or professionals when you’re stuck, and enjoy small accomplishments along the way. Failure is, after all, just the first step toward your success.

Want some more inspiration for overcoming failure? Check out this blog post .

The Takeaway

Writing at the college level can be a tricky process even for the smartest, most confident of us. But now you know all about these 10 really important essay writing skills, so you’ll be in much better shape the next time you sit down at the keyboard.

Be sure to check out other blogs and resources linked in this post—they’ll help you prepare for the various types of writing you’ll be doing throughout your college career.

And don’t forget that Kibin is here to help make those essays shine .

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays .

study skills essay writing examples

About the Author

Ryan G. has an MFA in Fiction Writing from a literature-based program. He teaches English composition courses, tutors a diverse student body in a writing center, and designs online learning modules for comp and business writing. He is also a Kibin editor .

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GCSE Coursework

Effective Study Skills, Essay Example

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Effective Study Skills, Essay Example

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Students must know themselves and adapt effective study skills to be effective learners. The attitude and approach towards learning determines the success of a student. Most of the successful students have learned how to prioritize stuff while working smarter, and not harder. Study skills helps one understand more about how learning tailor to an individual’s thinking styles (Lengefeld 69). Effective studying skills revolve around the knowledge of one’s learning style, time management, and self-organization among many other factors that this paper discusses.

Learning styles are the different approaches to retaining knowledge. It would be best to find one’s learning style whether visual, kinesthetic, or auditory. To process information learners must rely on their senses and it is essential to learn the style that applies to every individual. If, for example, a person learns by listening, he /she should not adopt a visual learning style. It would be more effective for him /her to use techniques that focus on auditory styles. Such students should attend lectures, take notes and consult peers to ascertain that they have the correct details. They should involve them selves in discussion groups, dialogues and debates to achieve their goal of obtaining knowledge.  A kinesthetic learner retains information best through experience (Lengefeld 15). In the kinesthetic tactile, students learn by being involved in physical activities like movements and demonstrations.  A kinesthetic learner could gain nothing or rather remarkably little  knowledge in learning activities that involve  purely involve  listening and viewing, as they would lose interest unusually fast. Such learners should involve themselves in drama, games, and learn to memorize their studies using body language and gestures. A visual learner is one who learns through observation. They are proficient in recalling what they saw especially in diagrams, charts, graphs, and videos. They use written notes to learn and draw instructions. Such students advised to use handouts for studying, and make sure they watch subject related films gain knowledge. They should try as much as possible to make diagrams from notes to gain a better understanding. The other learning styles include tactile learning where learners learn best by touching and manipulating objects. Such students perform well in practical studies. There are the active learners who gain knowledge through discussion groups, and the reflective learners who learn by thinking.

The other trick behind learning is time management. Time is as precious as the money spent on education (Martens MJC et al. 189). For best results in managing time, one ought to develop a schedule.  A schedule assigns time for every activity of the day. It allocates class time, lab time, social work time, study time, recreation time, and some free time for any emergencies, that may arise. Study time planned strategically to be at a time when one is rested, relaxed, and alert. Weekly schedule works well with minimum time wastage.

Self-organization marks a particularly crucial strategy to developing effective study skills. Self-organization is all about being able to manage all the workload entailed in every subject. The questions behind self-organization in learning include:

1)        When should one study lecture courses?

2)        How and when, should one-study recitation courses?

3)        How should one plan a schedule?

4)        How should one use time?

5)        Where and when should one study?

6)        When should one start revising for exams?

With these above questions in mind, one can organize him/herself perfectly. A study schedule will allocate the daily activities and the lecture notes read after or before lectures. If before lectures, one should read all assignments and make notes of what not understood. It is wise to review lecture notes after lectures when the information is still fresh. Recitation courses as learning of foreign languages studied before the lecture. A schedule planned in a manner that can accommodate revision (Martens MJC et al. 190). One ought to start revision right from the begging of the semester and studies should take place in the library, or in a cool, comfortable environment.

In conclusion, effective study skills differ from one person to another depending on the learning style and the IQ level. The grasping ability differs in different people. While some people may take a short while to learn and grasp something, others will take ages. Therefore, to make a successful student, one should understand his/herself to adapt effective learning skills (Lengefeld 56).

Martens MJC, Duvivier RJ, van Dalen J, Verwijnen GM, Scherpbier AJJ, van der Vleuten CPM,. “Student views on the effective teaching of physical examination skills: a qualitative study”. Medical Education. 2009: 184-91.

Lengefeld, Uelaine A., Study Skills Strategies: Get the Most from Every Minute of Learning . Axzo Press. 2009.

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Study is the devotion of time and attention to acquiring knowledge on an academic subject and the skills are the ability and capacity acquired through deliberate systematic and sustained effort. For some students the motivation and ability to study comes easily. However for those students for whom it does not it is necessary to develop effective study skills.

The aims is to provide the sole foundation of a sound education. These are necessary for the student to realise their full potential and acquire good grades.

Without these skills the student would not be aware of their ability to learn in the best way and to maximise this. She states:

1) It is essential to be rested (sleep affects performance) and to sit comfortably. A change of scenery stimulates the brain and helps creative thinking. 2) To be hydrated, drinking water helps the electrical connections of the brain. 3) To be unstressed. When stressed the brain only concentrates on ‘escape’ not on tasks in hand.

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Proficient in: Learning

“ Ok, let me say I’m extremely satisfy with the result while it was a last minute thing. I really enjoy the effort put in. ”

4) To enjoy. 5) To learn to see something several times, little and often works better than trying to understand something in one sitting.

Cottrell points out that effective study skills are needed to facilitate time management and to meet deadlines. She states spare time must be used effectively to give relaxation time, to rest and enjoy oneself as well as independent study time. According to Cottrell it is essential to learn from one’s own mistakes and feedback which give a way to improve performance and above all else, not to give up.

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Time management is essential, not giving excessive time to favoured topics rather than those necessary.

It is essential to stay on target, stay motivated and not to let things get on top of you, to stay in control and maintain the correct direction of the studies. General tips are to identify the task in hand and work out exactly what is being asked for, setting clear goals and staying focused towards them. To develop the meaning of the task or how things work makes taking in material, reading and retaining the subject matter easier. To find links with the wider world such as the internet and journals helps. Working with others can also help by sharing ideas and getting mutual help. Finally to look for reasonable

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Identifying Basic Study Skills for a Higher Education Student

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Time management, study skills, conversational skills, presentation skills.

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study skills essay writing examples

Study skills Essay Examples

We found 4 free papers on study skills, essay examples, personal learning style.

Study skills

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Everyone has the experience students, starting from kindergarten to high school or university. For most people, it’s not hard to become a student, but becoming a student who has great grades is not easy. You must want to know what causing this difference. The answer is good study habits. In the process of schooling, many…

Dtlls Study Skills Assignment

I will briefly describe and evaluate some different reflective models and in relation to these explain the type of reflective model I use and how this alps me to understand how I can improve my learning experience and my study skills in order to study more proactively. I approach my studies with motivation and enthusiasm…

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Students throughout the country enter college each year without theneeded study skills. It is not unusual for bright students to get throughthe lower grades and even through high school without much studying. Butwhen those same students get to college they often find they are completelylost and their grades are falling at alarming rates. Study skills…

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    9. Self-Edit. Never EVER blow through a single draft of an essay and turn it in to your professor. One of the best essay writing skills you can develop is the ability to review and edit your essay for mistakes in grammar, typos, and logic. Here are some ways to go about the editing process.

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    If, for example, a person learns by listening, he /she should not adopt a visual learning style. It would be more effective for him /her to use techniques that focus on auditory styles. Such students should attend lectures, take notes and consult peers to ascertain that they have the correct details.

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    1) It is essential to be rested (sleep affects performance) and to sit comfortably. A change of scenery stimulates the brain and helps creative thinking. 2) To be hydrated, drinking water helps the electrical connections of the brain. 3) To be unstressed. When stressed the brain only concentrates on ‘escape’ not on tasks in hand.

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