Writing Essays Well: Introductions, Thesis Statements and Topic Sentences

Introductions In order for the first paragraph of an essay to actually be a proper introduction (in other words, for it to fulfill the requirements of a proper introduction), it must do two things. These two things are: 1) Include a thesis statement. 2) Provide a preview or essay plan for the essay. So what do these two things mean? 1) A thesis statement is the sentence (or sometimes sentences) that tells the reader what the position of the author is. When you are given an essay question, the thesis statement is your clear and concise answer to the question. For example, if an essay question was ‘What were the causes of the Holocaust in World War II?’ then your …

Read more »


Shortened Phrases

A shortened phrase is an abbreviation of a group of words form a phrase or name that have been contracted for ease of writing. They are especially useful in essays and theses that repeat the same phrase or name many times. Understanding their correct usage can help avoid errors and confusion, and add to the polished appearance of your document. There are two types of shortened phrases: acronyms and initialisms. An acronym is a shortened phrase that usually contains the first letter of each word from a phrase. An acronym is pronounced as a word, for example: ‘SACE’ and ‘CAPA’. An initialism is similar to an acronym; however, it is not pronounced like a word—each letter is pronounced as though …

Read more »


How to Find Academic Sources for Your Essay

When you first begin working on an essay, what is the first place you usually go for information? Most students are likely to go to the internet to look for sources. But, can we trust that the information we will find on the internet is of an acceptable standard? It is hard to think so. When writing academic essays, you need to use academic sources for your research. However, information on most websites is classified as non-academic. It is easy to see why when we consider how easy it is to publish information on the internet. Anyone who can access the internet can write and publish anything there. It is still possible for a student to use the internet as …

Read more »


How to Write an Introduction

Certainly, every essay must include an opening paragraph, and this is your introduction. It plays an important role in drawing the reader’s attention to what your essay will discuss. Writing the introduction can seem difficult because you might feel that you need to take a long time to sit and think about what initial word or sentence you should use. A concise, coherent and well-organised introduction can give the reader a positive initial impression of your work. In contrast, a vague, disorganised or grammatically incorrect introduction can lower the reader’s interest as well as your grades! The introduction paragraph of an essay provides the reader with overall information on the topic that the essay will discuss. In academic writing, a …

Read more »


How to Write Your First Draft

After researching and arranging your information and topic sentence in an organised way, it is time for you to present your ideas or arguments in an essay. The most difficult process for many students is writing the first draft. How do you put all ideas into your first draft comprehensively and relevantly? Many times, you may find yourself sitting and facing a blank screen for a long time, not knowing where to start, and end up with nothing. It would be helpful if you have answers for the following questions before you start writing your first draft: 1. What is your answer to the essay question? 2. What main points will you discuss in order to support your argument? 3. …

Read more »


How to Write an Essay Plan: An Example

Before you start writing your essay, it is important that you plan it. Below is an example of what an essay plan should look like (including explanations and tips), and how much detail it should contain. You can use this as a guide for your essay plans. Essay Question: Was the Russian Revolution a genuine revolution or was it a coup? Word Limit: 2,000 words Introduction (10% of word limit): 200 words Introductions should never be longer than 500 words, so this 10% guide only applies to essays shorter than 5,000 words. To be considered an Introduction, an Introduction must do two things: Answer the question – It was a genuine revolution. This must be done first. An Introduction must …

Read more »