5 tips for writing a good essay

In this article we shall try to understand the various points to be kept in mind for writing a good essay.
Understand the challenge
An essay is a short literary composition, providing a personal view on a single subject. It is a reflection of one's personality. It gives an insight into an individual's ability to express and gives the reader an idea about the person's attitude, aptitude and vision. Content and style are the two defining pillars of an essay. While content is more about subject matter, style is the way the content is presented.
Skills under the scanner
  • Knowledge :This is an important parameter as it measures the awareness levels of  the writer; more so in case of factual topics. It reflects a well rounded and aware personality with a strong environmental sensitivity.
  •  WritingAbility :This parameter evaluates the writer's expression of interest. A well written essay demonstrates good written communication skills.
  • Logical Structure :This parameter displays the writer's logical thinking and ability to prioritize. It is important to cluster and  group different sets of ideas and arrange them in a manner that reflects logical progression and proper sequencing.
Features of a good essay
  • Content :This is the subject matter on the topic; please remain close to the topic given. For example, if the topic is  "FDI in higher education", don't deviate to include issues and challenges with respect to "FDI in retail", as they are very different topics. Focus on higher education in India and the rationale for FDI in higher education is needed.
  • Organization : This deals with how the argument is constructed using examples from the introduction to the end.
  • Presentation :This includes style, use of language, correct sentences & spellings and ease of reading.Using simple words with a clean and neat handwriting is an added advantage.
Writing the essay
In its most basic and traditional form, an essay has three elemental parts-the Introduction, the Body and the Conclusion. Each of these parts has a specific purpose which means the reader will be looking for expected features.
  • Introduction : Attract attention through the use of a quote, anecdote, statistic etc.Give an overview of the essay's focus and flow. It is NOT a summary but merely an introduction to what is to follow. As a thumb-rule, should not exceed 10% of the total length of the essay. Writer's block occurs the most here-so consider writing it AFTER the rest of the essay is clear to you.
  • Body :Each main idea becomes a body paragraph. Start each body paragraph by writing a main point. Next, write supporting points for the main point. ELABORATE on the supporting points. To be effective, body paragraphs must possess three important qualities:
    • Unity: Focus on one main idea.
    • Development: which occurs when the idea iselaborated  in the paragraph.
    • Coherence: where everything in the paragraph relates to and expands on the point you are making.
  • Conclusion :Review the main points (but DO NOT RESTATE them.  Provide a final perspective on the topic-feel free to describe your feelings about the topic.
The fine points
  • It is important to define the purpose and brainstorm before you start writing the essay. Lack of initial planning may lead to a random treatment of the topic, resulting in a poor structure.
  • Remember that this is an assessment of not just your knowledge about the subject, but also  your command over the language, the clarity and consistency of your thoughts and your ability to persuasively communicate your views on the subject.