Think again. While the introduction to an academic essay gives a hefty “first impression” to your reader—and is thus very important—your conclusion gives the “last.” What would you like your reader to take away from your essay? A few wilted sentences that merely take up space in a fifth paragraph? Of course not! Your conclusion should be the place where you remind your reader of your argument up until this point (that’s right: your thesis), summarize the main aspects of this argument, and address that tricky question: what’s the point? Continue reading
Did you know? The introduction to your academic essay might just be the most important paragraph. Not only does it house the road-map of your essay (the thesis statement) along with its motivator (the motive); but it also constitutes the starting point for your reader, who is, in the end, your most valued customer! You definitely do not want to bore your reader from the first sentence, even if you feel like you may be talking about the most boring subject on the face of the planet (trust me, I’ve been there!). Whatever your subject, you should be able to introduce it with pizzazz, in such a way that your reader has to keep reading.
Here are some tricks.
It’s time to stock up on words! Now that you’ve become more familiar with the mechanics of academic writing (check out my recent blog posts on Sources, Citations, and Structure), we’re going to focus on the most basic aspect of the essay: the words themselves.
How exactly can you make your academic essay sound ‘intellectual?’ Believe it or not, by trading out a few of those boring verbs and adjectives, avoiding some common mistakes, and boosting your overall vocabulary, you can be sure to end up with a polished, professional, and truly academic –sounding essay!
As promised, today we are going to break down the basics of citations in preparation for that research paper you have hopefully (cough, cough) been diligently working on since last we spoke. Last time we discussed the different types of sources you might encounter in your research project. These include primary sources and secondary sources. If you need a refresher, look over Sorting your Sources before proceeding.
Today we’ll unpack methods on how exactly to “cite” those sources that you use in the body of your paper. Today, meet MLA and Chicago.
I remember that one of the biggest challenges I faced when tackling the SAT essay was having a wide variety of examples at my fingertips. Although the SAT essay is intended to measure your writing and argumentative skills, and not your knowledge of any particular subject, it is necessary to use good examples in your SAT essay to create a persuasive argument. Many of the essay prompts given on the SAT tend to be open-ended questions with multiple perspectives one can take. Almost all of these essay prompts deal with basic moral, social and psychological issues such as the meaning of freedom or courage.
[Continue reading to find out how to develop useful SAT essay examples…]
Have a research paper looming on the horizon? No problem! In continuation of my series on academic writing, I’m here to make the prospect of that research paper a little less daunting. Once you understand the “research mechanics” of a research paper, this will be easier than you think.
Let’s talk sources.
Often, the biggest challenge of the SAT essay isn’t poor writing, but coming up with relevant and good examples within the short 25 minutes that you are given for the essay section. Someone told me that during her SAT test, she panicked after reading the prompt because no good example came to her mind and so she made up an example using her “cat”. After the test, she realized that her example had been really far-fetched and its link to the prompt hadn’t been the most relevant. She realized that one key thing she should have prepared for was good SAT essay examples.
[Continue reading to find out what to avoid when writing your essay…]
Last week we discussed some key elements of the academic essay in Writing Academically: A Lexicon. For the next few posts in my series on academic writing, I will be narrowing in on these elements. Today we’re talking structure.
Structure formulates your essay’s line of reasoning or argument. You can focus on successfully structuring individual paragraphs (even sentences!) in addition to structuring your essay as a whole. You have most likely heard of the five-paragraph essay format—great! You’re already on the way to understanding structure. But read on. Believe it or not, there is more to essay structure than five well-engineered and oiled paragraphs.
Last week’s blog post, “What’s the Point?”, hopefully convinced you in some small way of the significance of academic writing. Now it’s time to focus on the most important elements of the academic essay. I’ve already covered a few of these in previous posts, particularly the thesis statement and motive. But of course, there are so many more! What terms are crucial to the genre of academic writing? What do you need to know to write a convincing, elegant academic essay?
Let’s look at A Writing Lexicon, a list of the essential essay elements, to find out.
In many of my blog posts I have made reference to the “academic essay” or to “academic writing.” I’ve discussed the differences between such writing and “creative writing,” listed tips to improve an academic essay, and introduced some of the basic components of such an essay, particularly the thesis statement and motive. Yet I have deliberately neglected answering perhaps the most important (controversial) question regarding the academic essay: What is the point of academic writing?
The five-paragraph essay is practically universal in middle, junior, and high schools. Your English teachers, and most likely your history, science, and philosophy teachers as well, will have encouraged you to form arguments about the subject matter they teach and put these into writing form. College applications demand essays, as do more formal applications for fellowships, jobs, and internships. Papers are the trope of every college course, particularly within the humanities student’s academic career. So what is the point?
[Continue reading about academic writing]