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5 Tips for essay writing

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

Writing essays can cause a lot of anxiety and stress for students. Whether you have a middle school student, high school student, or college student, essay writing is a common part of any English curriculum.

Writing essays doesn’t have to be stress and anxiety-inducing though! We’ve compiled a list of some of the best essay writing tips out there to make the writing process go as smoothly as possible for your students.

These tips can work for all different types of essays, too! From English essay tips, to scholarship essays, to college application essays, and everything in between: all students, college or not, can benefit from these pointers!

Writing tutors making edits to a paper

Tip #1 Narrow Down Your Topic and Style

For many students, narrowing down the topic is the most challenging part of essay writing. This is because the range of topics is often so broad that we don’t always know exactly what direction we want to take on that particular idea.

If students are given the freedom to choose the topic for their essay, it is best to choose a topic that is specific and interests them. That way, students will be more excited about writing the piece and may even already have some knowledge on that topic.

If students are assigned a topic, the key is to do some research on the topic beforehand and choose a specific area within that topic that seems interesting or straightforward to write about.

In short, a good essay begins with a strong foundation. Students should make sure that their writing clearly follows a style befitting the prompt, such as informative, persuasive, or narrative.

Tip #2 Research and Brainstorm

Doing proper research before starting to write an essay is key because this is where students gather all the data, facts, and information on their topic.

This research can then be organized into key points and examples that ultimately support the overarching claim or theme within the essay. If permitted, students can consider using real life examples in their writing. These examples illustrate students’ abilities to make connections, and often make for a stronger essay!

Brainstorming initial ideas based on personal reflection and research is also key to creating a strong essay. This enables students to get their ideas out on paper and organized so they can write their essay in a structured, methodical way.

Tip #3 Organize Your Essay

After narrowing down the topic and doing some research, it is time to organize the essay. This includes developing a thesis statement and making an outline.

The thesis statement is essentially the main claim of the essay, condensed into a single sentence. If your student needs help developing strong thesis statements, the writing tutors at JB Tutoring are here to help!

Making an outline is a great way to provide a tentative structure to the essay and present clear steps to guide the writing process.

If students have a rubric or clear instructions as to how to organize their essay, make sure your students follow those instructions carefully and answer all prompts or questions given.

Tip #4 Make Sure to Revise Your Work

After doing all the prep to begin the writing process, it’s finally time to start writing. By now, students should have a clearer understanding of their topic and the direction for the paper.

Students should strive to stay concise, but also elaborate on each key point made.

After students finish their first draft, it is so important to re-read and revise, at least 1-2 times. Revision is absolutely essential to strong essay writing!

It can even be helpful to read the paper out loud or have others read it and see if it makes sense to them.

Tip #5 Citing and Sources

Using strong references is also important in creating a compelling paper. However, it is of the utmost importance to avoid plagiarism and students must give their sources the credit they deserve. Sources add credibility and more well-rounded information to the essay.

Students ought to make sure they keep a running list of sources so they can easily make a citation page at the end of the essay. High scoring essays use sources to support their argument.

Again, all these writing essay tips can be applied in various forms of essay writing, including college application essays, scholarship essays, history essays, and more!

If at any point in the writing process your student needs help, make sure to utilize resources like writing tutors. The tutors at JB Tutoring offer in-person and virtual tutoring sessions for writing.

Check out our tutors on our website and contact us to get your student the help they need to be successful in their writing assignments!


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