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How To Write A University Essay

How To Write A University Essay

Writing A University Academic Essay

An academic essay is one of the most common assignments you will be asked to write in the university. The essay is a reflection of how well you have understood the basic course material, how much extra work you have put into researching the essay topic and how analytical you have been in selecting and commenting on the material you use. Of course, you need to write your essay well so that your reader can follow and appreciate your ideas.

There are seven steps to writing a good essay:

  • Analyze your prompt
  • Gather your information by research and reading
  • Note where your information comes from
  • Think of your thesis
  • Organize your material
  • Draft your essay
  • Revise your essay

Analyze Your Prompt

The first thing to do is to look at an essay prompt carefully and decide what kind of essay you are being asked to write.

  1. Define Your Purpose

Different essay prompts require you to do different things. Some essays need you to explain a concept, while others expect you to compare and/or contrast; yet others expect you to argue a position.

  1. Analyze The Key Words In The Prompt

Some words are significant and you need to define them as part of your essay. You need a working definition that you will work with so choose one that suits your thesis.

  • Consider Other Important Words In The Prompt

The other important words are ones, which will affect how you delineate or gather your essay points. Analyzing the prompt in detail will have an impact on how you search for material and how you select and analyze it later.

Research And Read Your Information

Gathering information through interview, questionnaire, survey, or laboratory experiments is called primary research. It involves collection of data, which does not exist yet. You should have a good idea of how your essay will develop before you begin so that you can look for the appropriate amount or scope of information.

To gather information by reading, secondary research, you need to either read selectively from a recommended bibliography or read around the topic trying to ascertain which information could be most useful to your essay.

Note Your Source Of Information

It is an academic convention to acknowledge your sources and to distinguish your own thinking with your source information. It is the academic way of showing that you are not plagiarizing, i.e. stealing somebody else’s ideas. This particular convention is one of the key features that distinguish an academic essay from other sorts of essays, for example, opinion pieces in newspapers. Keep notes about where you gathered your information from while researching a reading.

Think Of Your Thesis

It is now time to create your essay. The most important idea in your essay is your central idea, known as a thesis. The thesis controls the entire essay all your main points will be a development of it, and all the minor supporting details will illustrate it. Make sure that the thesis expresses a controlling idea that is neither too broad nor too specific to develop effectively and that it does not simply state the obvious.

Organize Your Material

A good essay is well organized. It has a coherent structure that helps the reader make sense of the content. After gathering all the ideas, decide what to include in what order and how to let the reader know you are moving from one point to another. You will need to identify your main ideas and make sure you can support each one sufficiently with details. Draw an outline that will give you a good visual picture of the final essay. Work out an outline that allows you to develop and support your thesis

Draft Your Essay

Using your outline, write your essay get all your thoughts down on paper. It does not have to be perfect first time. Use formal English and aim for an objective tone. Choose the most precise words and aim for a fluent and coherent style.

Revise Your Essay

Revision consists of two steps: editing and proofreading.

Editing is the process of reading through your essay again and asking how well organized it is and how well your ideas are developed. Do you have an objective tone? Is your choice of words accurate? Is your writing concise? Are the links within and between paragraphs clear?

Proofreading is reading your essay slowly looking for obvious errors such as spelling, punctuation, or grammar and correcting them. It is easier to do this on a hard copy than a soft one. Lastly, check if there are any specific submission details, such as the use of a specific font size, margins, or double spacing.


To recap, an academic essay is the most common assessment of how much you have learned and thought about a topic for your course work. It has certain features in terms of content (researched or well-argued based on fact and logic), organization (controlled by a thesis and by the type of essay prompt you are responding to), and language (formal and objective).

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