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Best Writing Strategies For Students: Mastering Your Essay Writing Skills
When it comes to writing an essay, getting started can be one of the most difficult things to do. Even after the topic has been selected, marshaling evidence and proofreading can be disastrous for new college students. If you need help writing your essay, try mastering the following skills.
Introduce the Essay Topic
The first thing that you have to do is figure out a way to introduce your topic. Your thesis is the core of the essay. From the first paragraph of the essay, your reader should be able to understand exactly what the essay is going to cover. You can try including an interesting fact about the topic or introduce historical information.
Develop a Focus
Some students—you know who you are—develop a thesis as an afterthought. They use research about a general topic and later return to the essay to make the evidence match up to the new thesis. Your thesis should always be made before you start writing. When you make an outline for each paragraph, you need to consider how the paragraph supports the thesis. If it does not support the thesis, it should not be included. Each paragraph's role in the essay is to support the thesis and improve the overall quality of the argument.
Figure Out the Order
Before you start writing, you should make sure that the order of paragraphs and sections is logical. For shorter papers, this will take only a few seconds. On a longer essay or term paper, you can write out each section on a few note cards. Lay these cards on the ground or tack them to the wall so that you can clearly see the entire outline of the paper. For many long essays, sections will have to be rearranged. It is far better for you to rearrange the order of the argument before you begin the actual process of writing.
Providing a Background
For highly specific topics, you will need to give the reader enough background to understand the topic. If you are writing about a generally known subject, this step is not necessary. However, many topics are not well-known and background information will need to be provided. If you are writing about the harm caused by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, you will need to let your reader know what the law actually is before you start to critique it. Without these background details, your reader will become confused as they read through your argument.