how to write university essays
- An academic essay should answer a question or task.
- It should have a thesis statement (answer to the question) and an argument.
- It should try to present or discuss something: develop a thesis via a set of closely related points by reasoning and evidence.
- An academic essay should include relevant examples, supporting evidence and information from academic texts or credible sources.
An academic essay aims to persuade readers of an idea based on evidence.
Essays are usually assessed on how deeply you have engaged with the topic, how clearly you have presented your ideas and argument, and how well you have drawn on relevant evidence to support your ideas.
It assumes you have already analysed the essay question, conducted your initial research, and determined your position on the topic (even though it may be a tentative one). If you need help in these areas, see the tutorials on Understanding the assignment, Finding information, and Reading and Notetaking.
- Thinking about the question.
- Gathering information and ideas.
- Organising your ideas.
- Getting something on paper.
- Writing a first draft.
- Reviewing in light of feedback or reflection.
- Producing a final draft.
Essays take time to complete. You will need to set aside time for the following stages of writing:
There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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Advancing your writing
These resources may be useful when planning, writing and reviewing your essay. Scroll down for further resources to help you advance your writing skills to the next level.