As the government begins its crackdown on essay mill websites, it’s easy to see just how much pressure students are under to get top grades for their coursework these days. But writing a high-scoring paper doesn’t need to be complicated. We spoke to experts to get some simple techniques that will raise your writing game.
Tim Squirrell is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and is teaching for the first time this year. When he was asked to deliver sessions on the art of essay-writing, he decided to publish a comprehensive (and brilliant) blog on the topic, offering wisdom gleaned from turning out two or three essays a week for his own undergraduate degree.
“There is a knack to it,” he says. “It took me until my second or third year at Cambridge to work it out. No one tells you how to put together an argument and push yourself from a 60 to a 70, but once you to get grips with how you’re meant to construct them, it’s simple.”
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The goal of writing any essay is to show that you can think critically about the material at hand (whatever it may be). This means going beyond regurgitating what you’ve read; if you’re just repeating other people’s arguments, you’re never going to trouble the upper end of the marking scale.
“You need to be using your higher cognitive abilities,” says Bryan Greetham, author of the bestselling How to Write Better Essays. “You’re not just showing understanding and recall, but analysing and synthesising ideas from different sources, then critically evaluating them. That’s where the marks lie.”
But what does critical evaluation actually look like? According to Squirrell, it’s simple: you need to “poke holes” in the texts you’re exploring and work out the ways in which “the authors aren’t perfect”.
“That can be an intimidating idea,” he says. “You’re reading something that someone has probably spent their career studying, so how can you, as an undergraduate, critique it?
“The answer is that you’re not going to discover some gaping flaw in Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume 3, but you are going to be able to say: ‘There are issues with these certain accounts, here is how you might resolve those’. That’s the difference between a 60-something essay and a 70-something essay.”
Critique your own arguments
Once you’ve cast a critical eye over the texts, you should turn it back on your own arguments. This may feel like going against the grain of what you’ve learned about writing academic essays, but it’s the key to drawing out developed points.
“We’re taught at an early age to present both sides of the argument,” Squirrell continues. “Then you get to university and you’re told to present one side of the argument and sustain it throughout the piece. But that’s not quite it: you need to figure out what the strongest objections to your own argument would be. Write them and try to respond to them, so you become aware of flaws in your reasoning. Every argument has its limits and if you can try and explore those, the markers will often reward that.”
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Fine, use Wikipedia then
The use of Wikipedia for research is a controversial topic among academics, with many advising their students to stay away from the site altogether.
“I genuinely disagree,” says Squirrell. “Those on the other side say that you can’t know who has written it, what they had in mind, what their biases are. But if you’re just trying to get a handle on a subject, or you want to find a scattering of secondary sources, it can be quite useful. I would only recommend it as either a primer or a last resort, but it does have its place.”
Focus your reading
Reading lists can be a hindrance as well as a help. They should be your first port of call for guidance, but they aren’t to-do lists. A book may be listed, but that doesn’t mean you need to absorb the whole thing.
Squirrell advises reading the introduction and conclusion and a relevant chapter but no more. “Otherwise you won’t actually get anything out of it because you’re trying to plough your way through a 300-page monograph,” he says.
You also need to store the information you’re gathering in a helpful, systematic way. Bryan Greetham recommends a digital update of his old-school “project box” approach.
“I have a box to catch all of those small things – a figure, a quotation, something interesting someone says – I’ll write them down and put them in the box so I don’t lose them. Then when I come to write, I have all of my material.”
There are a plenty of online offerings to help with this, such as the project management app Scrivener and referencing tool Zotero, and, for the procrastinators, there are productivity programmes like Self Control, which allow users to block certain websites from their computers for a set period.
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Look beyond the reading list
“This is comparatively easy to do,” says Squirrell. “Look at the citations used in the text, put them in Google Scholar, read the abstracts and decide whether they’re worth reading. Then you can look on Google Scholar at other papers that have cited the work you’re writing about – some of those will be useful. But quality matters more than quantity.”
And finally, the introduction
The old trick of dealing with your introduction last is common knowledge, but it seems few have really mastered the art of writing an effective opener.
“Introductions are the easiest things in the world to get right and nobody does it properly,” Squirrel says. “It should be ‘Here is the argument I am going to make, I am going to substantiate this with three or four strands of argumentation, drawing upon these theorists, who say these things, and I will conclude with some thoughts on this area and how it might clarify our understanding of this phenomenon.’ You should be able to encapsulate it in 100 words or so. That’s literally it.”
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Teacher is a person in our life who provides many important things together with the good education. A teacher means a lot to his/her students. He/she plays extraordinary roles in our lives from the beginning years of development till we get mature. They mould us and our future accordingly in order to make us a responsible citizen of the country. We have provided below some paragraphs, short essays and long essays on my favourite teacher to help students in completing their essay writing task. All the my favourite teacher essay are written very simply. So, you can select any essay on my favourite teacher according to your need and requirement:
Essay on My Favourite Teacher
My Favourite Teacher Essay 1 (100 words)
My favorite teacher is Rajani mam. She is my class teacher too and takes attendance daily in the morning. She is a strict teacher however very funny and caring in nature. She is very disciplined and punctual. She does her all the works and projects related to the class at right time without getting late. I like her very much as she tries very easy ways to teach us good things. We enjoy her class. She teaches us English subject. She makes us laugh by telling lots of jokes in between when she teaches. She also guides us very well during any school or inter-school competition of dance, sports, academic, etc. She teaches us to share things in class among our colleagues such as lunch or other needed things.
My Favourite Teacher Essay 2 (150 words)
My favourite teacher is my class teacher. Her name is Nisha Gupta. She takes our attendance and teaches us Hindi, Maths and Art subject. She is well educated and taken higher studies from the Banaras Hindu University. She follows very easy and effective teaching strategies to teach us all the subjects. I never miss her class and attend daily. I like the way she teaches us as we do not need to study that subject at home again. We become very clear about the topic she teaches us in the classroom. After clearing the concept of topic, she gives us some exercises in the class and also home work for the home. Next day, she asks questions related to the yesterday topic and then start another topic.
In spite of the subjects, she teaches us good ethics and etiquette also to make us strong by character. May be; she will not be our teacher in next class however; her teachings will always be with us and show us way to difficult situations. She is very caring and loving in nature. She has been the gold medalist in the university she got her higher education. She would always be my best teacher.
My Favourite Teacher Essay 3 (200 words)
Ms. Geeta Goswami is my favourite teacher in the school. I study in class 4th standard and she teaches me EVS (Environmental Studies). She is a good teacher. She cares us a lot and teaches using easy ways. She never takes study very serious and teaches us with entertaining activities. She always comes at right time in the class and never misses her class. We enjoy her class very much as she makes us happy too. She loves me very much as I am her very disciplined and ideal student. I follow her all the orders and do my class work and home work in neat and clean manner daily.
I never become late or absent in her class. She motivates us to always follow right path in the life even we have to face much difficult situations. She tells us that we never become hopeless in difficult situations and search some easy ways to get out of them. She also tells us that never think negative and always think positive as it always happens what we think and do. She describes very well about all the topics of EVS. She wants us to talk in English in her class. She goes to her home with us in the school bus where we enjoy a lot by singing songs and reciting poems in the bus.
My Favourite Teacher Essay 4 (250 words)
My favorite teacher was Mr. Sunil Dutt who taught me English and Maths for 2 years when I was in class 3rd and 4th standard. He was from Varanasi however living in the vicinity of the school. He took his higher studies from the Banaras Hindu University. He was very polite and kind in nature. He knew well about how to handle small children in the class. I still remember him for his unique style of teaching. What he taught to me, I still remember very well as he has made my Maths concepts very clear. Currently I am studying in class 5th standard however still miss him very much. I meet him occasionally whenever I need to solve some tough questions of my Maths subject. He looks very smart with good physique, sparkle eyes and blond hair. I like his good personality and polite nature.
He always smiled when entered to the classroom and first asked to us about our well-being. He also assisted us in the sports whenever our sports teacher was absent. He has smiling face however very strict in the study. He always punished to the students who were with incomplete home works. He is famous for making lots of fun during the class time however students get good marks in his subjects. He is a teacher with good skills of teaching, friendly nature, good sense of humor, patient and easygoing. I am one of the obedient students of him. Sometimes he gave us chocolates on doing well in the class tests and exams. He never gave us lots of assignments at home. He is very enthusiastic and always motivated us for doing our best in the study.
My Favourite Teacher Essay 5 (300 words)
Mrs. Rashmi is my favourite teacher of 6th standard in the school. She teaches us Hindi and Computer subjects in the class. She has very unique personality. She is quite fatty but calm in nature. I always give her a greeting card on the teacher’s day every year. I also wish a good luck on her birthday. She is used to of reciting some jokes in between while taking class in order to make fun and draw our attention towards study. I am not so good in the Hindi subject however do very well in the Computer. She helps me a lot to improve my Hindi language. After taking the class, she always gives some questions to learn and ask for next day.
She takes us to the Computer lab to make us more clear and sure about the Computer. She wants to keep quiet in her class when she teaches. She never leaves her weak students unclear about what she has taught. She makes everyone very clear about any topic and motivates us to ask questions in her class. She never start next topic until we all understand the last one very well. She is very caring and loving in nature as she takes care of all students in the class. No one quarrel or fight in her class. She makes seating rotation of the students on weekly basis so that no one remains weak and unhappy. My all friends like her class and attend daily.
She supports some weak students by giving them over time outside the class. She also helps us to solve the problems other than the study. She promotes us to take part in the sports or other competitions organized in the school. She looks good with her smiling face and supporting nature. She helps us to get prepared for the event celebrations in the school such as Independence Day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti, Teacher’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. Sometimes, when topics over, she shares with us about her struggle period of the life in order to encourage us towards study. She is very friendly and easygoing teacher. We never fear with her however respect her a lot.
My Favourite Teacher Essay 6 (400 words)
My favorite teacher is my science teacher. Her name is Mrs. Sanjana kausik. She lives near to the school campus. She is the best teacher of school and liked by my all friends as she teaches very well. No one feels boring in her class as she makes some fun also. I like her strategies of teaching in the class. She asks us to go through the topic from home what she will teach in the class next day. She teaches that topic in the class and asks many questions to get clear. She also asks questions about the same topic on next day. In this way, we get very clear about a particular topic. She takes test after teaching two or three topics. She loves the teaching profession and teaches us with enthusiasm and passion.
She is very friendly to us and never makes us fear from her. We ask her any question related to the subject in the class or her cabin without any fear. She watches the activity of each and every student while teaching in the class and punishes the naughty ones. She tells us to concentrate on the study and always follow things what your teacher says in the class if you really want success in the life. She never makes partiality between weak and brilliant students in the class. She supports a lot to her weak students and requests to brilliant students also to help their weak colleagues. She tells us to be passionate about our study and aim of the life.
She is very encouraging teacher, encourages us not only in study however also in the extracurricular activities. She cheers personally to the student doing well in the school whether in academic or sports activities. She gives free tuition to her weak students at her home for one hour. Each student does very well in the science subject both in the class tests and exams. She is also the Vice-Principal of the school. So, she performs her all the responsibilities very well. She takes care of the cleanliness and greenery in the school campus.
She never looks serious as she has a smiling face. She keeps us happy in the school like her own kids. She takes care of all the arrangements in the school during any event celebration or competitions organized in the school. She talks to all the students very politely and knows well to handle any difficult situation of the school.