How to write essays


These notes are from the Study Skills section of the OU website.
I wrote these notes down in my notebook in order to help me write my essays for the TMA's. However, I have also decided to write them here too incase I missplace the notebook or decide to write an essay in the local libary and don't have the notebook at hand. This way I can always have these notes.
Writting Essays
*Intro ~> Body ~> Conclusion*
  • 5-10% of the word count
  • outline the main arguements
  • identify main arguements
  • indicate the stages of arguements
  • highlight any major issues
  • 80-90% of the word count
  • main arguement
  • narrative flow
  • highlights a sequence of different points
  • follow a coherent and continous 'story'
  • 5-10% of the word count
  • summeraise issues raised in the body
  • tie up loose ends
  • emphasise key elements of arguement
  • make reference to the title question again
Other points from the videos on the study skills:
Always write an essay plan
^ Key words or key themes that will trigger off other issues and notes
* Mindmaps are a good way to organise notes
Write the question on a card and put it infront of you so that you have it with you 24/7
Evidence you need:
  • gather together all your notes that you need and review them. - I'm hopeing to make my notes need so it will be easier to do this.
  • note down key words of the assignment
  • check your notes against the assignment question
  • higlight your notes that will be useful for the TMA
  • quotes you wish to use  ~> remember to make note of where these are from in the reference list
  • tables
  • paraphrasing
  • have the question beside you always
Planning the essay by draft:
  • Address the real question
  • Show understanding
  • Create a mindmap - write all ideas down
  • check back from previous assignments to see if there is something you should be doing
  • build an outline for your essay
  • create the first setences that lead onto your main points
  • remember to write in paragraphs
  • look where you need to add evidence and see which sort of evidence would best be appropriate e.g. quotes
Other things that will help:
* Read broadsheet newspapers and look at the bits where there is comments and editorials and see how it is draffted like an arugement
* think of it as an arguement
* divide up your word count
Checking the draft:
Things to think of when reading it through:
  1. Have I actually answered the question?
  2. Are my arguements precise and backed up by evidence?
  3. Does it flow and is it understable?
  4. Have I shown that I understand the module material?
  5. Is it all referenced properly?
Perhaps also get someone else to check it for you and see what they think!
Second Draft
Aim: to improve on the first draft
  • Include any things that you may have missed out
  • Look at the sequence of paragraphs - do they flow logicaly from one to the next?
  • Check sentence structure, puncuation and grammer
  • Make sure that your style of writting and vocabulary is approriate for the context
Personally, I think that writting the drafts would be easier on a computer. Why? - because it will be easier to re-edit the work into the second draft, to add in bits you've missed and so on.
With all these notes and information I hope to be able to write good essays! :)

You Might Also Like