Monday, November 25, 2013

My Essay Rules!

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There is plenty of good advice around on essay writing, and our own Grammar Gang blog has some great posts. You can find them by typing ‘essay writing’ in the box in the top left hand corner of the page.

Today, for a bit of fun, I’m going to include some text from a video called My Essay Rules, which features the famous grammar detective Ms Parrot attempting to ‘bake’ an essay. There are twelve stages, like the hands on a clock moving round in five minute blocks.

1. First consider your topic or title, to give you an idea of what your finished product should be like. Look at this well before the due date and give yourself plenty of time to work on the essay.

2. Then brainstorm all the things that might be associated with your topic.

3. After that, look for the right ingredients. This is like doing research.

4. Now you need to plan. You may have to put those things aside that you don’t need. Just because you spent a long time finding something, that doesn’t always mean it’s going to be useful. You need to weigh everything and make sure there’s a good balance. Then put the ingredients in order, ready to use.

5. Now draft your conclusion. How will everything finish? What are you aiming for? What final impression do you want your reader to have? It might seem strange to start by writing a conclusion, but unless you know where you’re going you can easily lose direction.

6. The next thing is to write the body of your essay. This is a bit like mixing your ingredients, getting the balance right. Each paragraph should make one main point.

7. Now draft your introduction. What do you want your reader to know about your topic? How will you lead them in to the rest of your essay? The final sentence is usually the thesis statement, where you explain what your essay will cover.

8. Remember to include references every time you refer to another person’s ideas. References should appear in the text and in a reference list at the end of the essay.

9. Read your draft essay and change things if you need to. Make sure everything is linked to your title.

10.Edit your essay. Is there anything you need to add or take out? Should you change the order of any paragraphs?

11.Proof read your essay. Are there any little mistakes you need to correct?

12.If your essay’s ready, it’s time to submit it. And if you get a good mark, that’s the icing on the cake!

If you’re still stuck at the planning stage, though, try Massey University’s assignment planning calculator for some excellent time management tips, as well as advice on all aspects of essay writing.

Happy writing!