Introduction to the ultimate essay writing guide

After being in the academic writing business since 2003, serving students all around the world, we decided it was a good time to gather our expertise on research and writing essays and put it in an online book for all of you entering university or continuing on with higher learning into postgraduate studies.  With so many years, helping students across all academic specialties, we felt we could put together enough tips and advice to help all students out there who are now entering university and faced with the prospect of writing an undergraduate essay or even moving onto a postgraduate essay.

You will find everything you need to write a successful and top-mark essay in on this website. That includes every stage of writing an essay as well as what defines a great essay and a bad essay so you can avoid costly mistakes along the way. With all this help, you will soon realize that essays do not have to be your enemy; they are your friend! By the time you finish reading and using this book, you will have a well-founded set of essay writing skills not to mention researching, organising, and time management skills.

In order to truly help you as a university student means not just giving you a recipe for essay success; it means showing how you can hone your skills and truly understand the writing process from the inside out. From start to finish and everywhere in-between where you are at a loss for words or net steps, that means moving beyond the essay basics that the book will start with and migrating to a more holistic approach that delves into the how, where, and when aspects of essay writing.

Chapters 1-20:

How the information is organised and presented

First, we realise we are talking to university students — not stuffy, formal business people. So, as this is the case, we use a bit more informal, casual conversational style to how we explain essays and essay writing. We are here as your friends with all the information and knowledge of essays.

It's also organised in a way that you do not have to start at Chapter 1 and read right the way through to get what you need. Instead, there are so many sub-heads throughout the book so that you can quickly flip to a specific area and then go back to other subjects or topics as you may need them. After all, not all essays were assigned with the same topic or format. Therefore, you can quickly skip around and be able to find that information you are seeking.

For those that may want to read the whole way through, we did still put some logic to how we organised the essay tips and tricks. The sections include the following along with a little taste of what can be found within those sections:

  • Learning in the Information Age: These chapters will introduce you to essays in the world of the Information Age in terms of how information has changed, how essays are now viewed in terms of expectations from your university, and how many different types of essays there are now available. While there is so much available about essays and essay writing online now, it does not mean it is all accurate or provides you with the answers you need to get top essay marks.
  • Researching the Information: This next section will help you with the information you need to find in order to write the essay and create the solid and convincing evidence required to answer the essay question or the essay prompt. This section will cover how to approach background reading for the essay, including where to look at the library and online. It also will include how to take notes from sources and create notations to use within your essay as well as discuss the importance of avoiding plagiarism despite it being so easy – and tempting – to just copy and paste into your essay. We will help you avoid plagiarism while showing you just how painless it can be to gather research and present it in an essay.
  • Refining Language and Enhancing Style: One of the greatest concerns in writing an essay is, let's be honest, making sure the right words are used and it sounds like you know what you are talking about. You want to win the argument and have your case be credible in the eyes of the reader and, most importantly, the person marking your essay. These chapters will discuss the components of writing, language, style and tone by breaking down the rules of grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, punctuation and meaning. When you use these tips on language and style, you will find that your essay will sound academic and have the right formality for the university setting and expectations.
  • Getting Structured and Organised in Thought: Up to this point in this book on essays, everything has been about the various components of an essay. These chapters will put all those components and skills together into a structured and cohesive essay. Each chapter in this section is dedicated to a section of the essay, such as introduction, body, and conclusion as well as a chapter on bringing all the pieces together, how to incorporate quotations within an essay, and how to organise your references at the end of the essay.
  • Adding the Polish: To finish your essay, it is important to review and revise to make sure there are no silly mistakes or grave errors. These chapters focus on the details of polishing an essay and making it professor ready. It will also cover where and how to get feedback that will help you to improve your essay.
  • Troubleshooting Essay Mistakes and Missteps: This last section offers a couple chapters that are crammed with tips and lists of common mistakes, missteps, and problems that we have found over the years where students go wrong with their essays. By reading and understanding what types of mistakes and problems to avoid, you will be able to produce the right essay the first time.

Essay writing is not easy and does take time to master. Even professional writers will tell you that they are challenged sometimes with essay questions. However, they apply the same rules and approaches as found in this book on essay writing.

By the time you finish at university and continue applying the tips we offered you here, you will become a better writer. And, that's important because effective communication is a highly valued skill in the workforce and in life. Writing can help you collect your thoughts, clarify your thinking, and convey what you need to say in a way that others understand or that even influences other people to see and do things a certain way. This can improve your performance at work and lead to greater success.  Those who write well are also looked upon as smart and the skill can even transmit a level of confidence and determination whether it is at university or in the workplace.

Being a good writer at essays will translate into other types of writing as well. Not only will you be able to write a report or a dissertation, but you will also be able to move into technical writing, presentations, and even specialised writing like marketing writing or social media writing. Maybe you will even drift into the world of fiction or creative writing.

But, becoming a better writer doesn't just happen overnight. Good writers are made by practice and by skills development. You need confidence in your ability to write. While it may come easier to some just like sports or art, you will still have to put in a good measure of effort and practice in order to see your writing improve.

Guidance also helps in becoming a better writer. We've tried our best to show you a framework to becoming a better essay writer throughout this book and offered many tips and tricks that can be applied to any type of writing.

Where you go in this online essay book now is up to you. Literally, you can jump into any chapter and pick up a lot of useful information on essay writing. Let's get started!

Chapters 1-20: