Essay Writing Techniques for University Students

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How to write an essay and essay structure advice

Developing your essay writing techniques is a key skill and part of how to do well at university to help you get a better degree classification. You need to carefully consider how to structure an essay, how to start an essay, and importantly, how to conclude an essay. Your university education will help you develop your ability to think and learn in an independent manner, and be responsible for your own work.

We have provided some tips below on improving your essay writing skills and technique.

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Getting started with your essay

  • Read the question, and make sure you understand what the question is asking, before you start to answer it.
  • Consider how to write your essay and, in particular, how to structure your essay. Produce an essay plan and structure with a detailed introduction, detailed middle content, and a conclusion. Think of your headings and sub-headings. What have you been told by your lecturers about the structure of your work?
  • Look at the aims and objectives of the piece of writing to help you determine and draft an essay structure.
  • Write down ideas of what you want to include in each heading/sub-heading.
  • Start writing the text of your essay. Write down what you know already. Put comment boxes in your draft attempt and write notes to yourself. Fill in the gaps later from reading around the subject area in books or journal articles.

Reflective writing styles

What does it mean to write in a reflective style? Many written tasks need a reflective style, yet don’t explicitly ask you to reflect. Reflective essay writing requires reflective reading and an analytical/critical mind.

Reflective essay writing techniques will consider different ideas from different angles or approaches. They will explore alternative ideas, and ask questions within the context of the written work. Reflection is about learning, reviewing changes, and suggesting alternative ways. You may be asked to reflect on your own work and where or how you could improve in the future. This is important to do regularly, so you can improve how you write.

As a part of our academic mentoring service our specialist mentors will help you to build your essay writing skills including how to structure an essay, how to start an essay, and how to conclude an essay. If you would like to find out more please contact us to speak to one of our advisers.