Updated: May 5, 2019
We all love seeing that glorious A+ at the top of our work. However, sometimes our essays fall short of an A grade. How can we guarantee top marks in writing? Follow these simple steps:
1) Brainstorm Every Bit and Crumb of your Topic
This should be the most time-consuming step and is often where writers fail. Until you have gathered all the facts, supports, quotes and examples regarding your topic, you cannot proceed any further. Brainstorm from several angles:
A. Writing Diarrhea: write everything you know about the topic, even if it is just a word. Let your pen flow and keep writing until you have nothing left.
B. The Ws: brainstorm the who, what, where, when, why and how of your topic. Research if you don’t know the information.
C. The Pros and Cons: think of your topic in terms of pros and cons.
D. Research from the net, books, articles, and expert opinion. Find relevant quotes, anecdotes and statistics. Cite all your sources.
2) Organize your Brainstorm to Develop a Thesis
Group all similar points together. From your grouped information a thesis should emerge. Use the Quills Question Method to develop your thesis. Circle three points in your brainstorm that strongly support your thesis.
3) Write your outline or WENGO (Wonderful Essays Need Good Organization)
Don’t skip this step, it will show in your essay and cost you more time. Select three points that strongly support your thesis and have at least 3 points of evidence. If you do not have 3 supporting details, you must go back to step one. Organize your main points and supporting details as the most interesting, the second strongest argument and the strongest argument.
By starting with the most interesting point the writer gets the reader's attention, and then ends with the strongest point, the point that the reader most remembers.
4) Write the body
Each main argument forms one paragraph. Each paragraph contains a topic sentence, three supporting details and a summarizing sentence. Use transitions words to create flow in your essay.
5) Write the introduction
Every essay should open with a hook that captures the reader. The hook should be the most exciting sentence in your essay. Readers will immediately judge your composition by your hook. The hook is followed by background information (depending on the essay), the thesis and a preview of the upcoming points to be discussed.
6) Write your conclusion
It should be obvious that the essay is ending at the start of your conclusion. It should begin with a summarizing clause such as “all in all” or “in the final analysis.” Re-state your thesis in different words than your introduction, this serves two purposes: it reinforces the thesis, and it brings the reader full circle to the beginning without being repetitive. Then summarize your points briefly. Finally, end with a call for action. This is critical. No new information should be provided in the conclusion, but this last statement should encourage the reader to “act” on the information they have received. It should leave the reader feeling inspired and ready to make a change!
7) Revise with fresh eyes
Finish step 6 at least 1 day before the essay is due. Leave your essay alone for at least 1 day and come back to it with fresh, critical eyes. When revising always print out your essay, it is easier to edit. Also, read it out loud, to catch missed words or awkward phrases. Every time you read it there should be something that you can improve. Use our essay checklist and go through the entire essay specifically focusing on one aspect of the checklist, then go through it again focusing on another aspect.
8) Tempt them with a creative title
Consider how tiresome it is for teachers to plow through piles of essays. A catchy title makes your essay stand out from the crowd and grabs your teacher's attention. You want your teacher to say, "interesting, I want to read this paper first!"
9) Check the instructions
Always format your essay according to the instructions given. These are freebie marks and should never be thrown away. Improper formatting sends the message that you did not follow instructions, and this impression remains with the teacher as they read your essay. Give your essay its best chance at an “A+” by paying attention to instructions on formatting.