Improving your essay Marks
You can add 30% or more to your essay marks just by planning, presenting and proofing correctly
The writing of your essay is more important than the content. An examiner doesn't have to agree with your arguments to give you a good grade, but if they don't understand your arguments there can only be one outcome.
While this may seem unfair, even unacademic, you should embrace this fact and recognise that good essay-writing skills, even more than good subject knowledge, are the key to getting the results you want.
A student can have all the right ideas, supported by great research, but still fail to achieve the marks they want and deserve. Students in this situation often feel unsure about how to start an essay; sometimes they spend too long on one part of an essay and have no time or words left for the rest; they can end up feeling unsure of how to conclude their essay; or they can even lose track of what they are trying to argue at all.
By switching to the right method of writing essays, students can add 30% to their grades without changing their arguments at all.
Writing a good essay - planning, presenting and proofing
In The Missing Manual, the process of composing an essay is broken down into ten separate stages. Each stage plays an important role in earning marks, and no stage can be overlooked without your final grade being affected. Here, we will break the stages down into three overarching phases and see what impact these can have on your essay marks. The details of how to plan, present and proof most effectively are explained in The Missing Manual.
Interpreting the question, preparation, research, essay plan and structure
If you don't have a detailed and fixed essay plan, the reader will not be able to follow your argument. Before you begin to type up your essay, you should know precisely what you are going to argue in every section, even every paragraph, of your overall assignment. Nothing should be left until later.
Writing your essay introduction, the main body and your conclusion
This is more than simply typing up, it is a process of working and re-working your arguments until you are completely happy with every aspect of them. There should be no filler, no waffle, and no leaps in logic. Does every paragraph contribute to answering the question? With each and every paragraph, ask yourself two questions:
"So what?" - i.e. what is the relevance of this paragraph to my answer, and is this relevance clear to the reader?
"Who says?" - i.e. how is this paragraph supported by my wider research? Have you backed everything up?
Proofreading and editing
Once you have finished typing up your essay, there are still vital marks left to gain - so don't stop yet. Think of every typing error as 2% off your final mark. Five mistakes and you've lost a whole degree classification. But perhaps even more important than proofreading is editing: even at this late stage, you must be willing to redraft whole sections of your essay, if necessary, or perhaps move them around to help your argument.