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Top 5 Essay and Writing Mistakes

05 Jun 2016

Have you ever struggled to write an essay or need help on how to put together a succinct piece of writing material? Our friends at YourTutor have given us the Top 5 Essay and writing mistakes that we all make and the solution to correct them. writing2

Mistake 1.  Failing to prepare means preparing to fail – The 80/20 rule

Clear planning is the key to a great result. 80% of time spent on an essay should be planning the argument and structure. Actually writing it should only take about 20% of the time.  

Mistake 2. Writing the introduction as the first step

When the final argument is not yet formed, it’s harder to draft the introduction. It helps to write your introduction at the end, when the answer is clear and the main arguments are mapped out.  

Mistake 3. Paragraph structure – remember to “Give me a SEC!”

Individual paragraphs need to be structured, just like the essay itself. The “Give me a SEC!” method reminds students to use ‘Statement, Explain, Critique’. ‘Statement’ gives an answer to the question, ‘Explain’ provides evidence, like quotes or comparisons, and the ‘Critique’ presents the student’s thinking and learning.  

Mistake 4. Quoting without understanding

Copy-pasted quotes don’t show understanding or engagement with their sources. Try paraphrasing a quote or concept in your own words (still referring to the original source). Use both direct and indirect quotes, to bring your essay to life.

Mistake 5. Writing the last word means the essay is finished (four eyes see more than two)

Proofreading is one of the most important steps. Simply read the essay a few times after finishing, and ask someone else to read it too.   YourTutor offers school students 24/7 English and writing feedback as well as help with all other core curriculum subject. If your school is interested in finding out more about how Melbourne Polytechnic and YourTutor can help you, please contact out Student Recruitment Manager on  03 9269 8467.   Image: Green Chameleon