Beginning a journey into the higher academic world of university can be daunting for most and the differences between previous education disciplines shine through. There are many forms of assessment and studying at university, but one of the most common includes writing an academic essay. These essays vary from what students are familiar with due to marking criteria being set higher, and to guarantee you get the best marks you can, here is how to really write an essay and a look into a theory of how lecturers read your essay too.
Firstly, looking how to best write the essay there are helpful techniques which need to be mastered before submission. It is essential for students to understand who will be reading or marking their essay, and their lecturers will be different to those at college or sixth form. All available sources should be used, and if they are it shows thorough research, for example, internet, books, academic articles, and if it required, primary and secondary research. A plan will take an essay a long way, it will aid the process of completing the essay and give a sense of direction.
Teachers give better marks to students who interact with their work and theories present. Showcase your understanding and in-depth knowledge of the subject by responding to each quote and reference you mention throughout the text. The introduction is an important part of the essay as it is an opportunity to engage the reader, establish the topic and direction of the text. Remember to start a new paragraph once you move onto a new subject or topic or otherwise the reader may become confused and work harder to flow along with the piece.
The conclusion of an essay is a chance to gather and summarise findings and/or developments throughout the text. Allow the information to speak for itself – you do not need to go into deep analysis within this section as you would have done that previously. Ensure you, and if available, someone else proof reads your work to correct any spelling or grammar mistakes. Lastly, referencing is important and the consequences of plagiarism are serious within academia, therefore, double check your references and bibliography to avoid penalty marks or failing.
Now that we understand the basic guidelines for the essay, there is opinion that states that by understanding how an essay is read should be taken in consideration when writing. Apparently, majority of people prefer the subject-object-object structure in English, which translates to: ‘The man was bitten by the dog’ being preferred to ‘The dog bit the man’.
An essay written in passive construct throughout will make readers’ speed slow and harder to remember information. There is a theory that states readers remember the last 20% of lists, sentences and paragraphs of writing better than any other section. If this is the case then placing all of your best findings, points and arguments within this section will better the chances of your lecturer remembering them. Also, it is thought that the middle section of a paragraph is the hardest for a reader to recall information, meaning that students should be writing about limitations and restrictions in this area.
This new theory of writing an essay may produce a debate on whether academic writing is different to the English language we use every day. It also suggests that more research is needed into the construction of assessments and how they are read, to better understand how students, and their lecturers interact with the work.
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