5 golden rules for a winning essay
Writing an essay is a long-lasting process and obviously, it has its` difficulties. As with any other skill, writing can evaluate and become more professional if you train it. The tips below are ideal for developing your essays in the academic context of the university and higher education.
Rule No. 1. Establish the purpose of the essay.
Establishing the purpose of our text is sometimes relatively easy, as the teacher sometimes states it in the assignment instructions. Other times it is a bit more complex, especially when we are simply assigned a topic and we have to choose what the scope of the paper will be. In these scenarios, as a student, you are faced with a wide scope of dissertation, so it is essential to establish a concrete aim for the text.
The simplest way is to state a guiding question, that should be broad enough to allow you a meaningful enquiry, reasonably delimited so that it is not impossible to answer considering the time and nature of the assigned commitment.
Remember that when we attribute a specific intention to the essay we are able to write texts of greater academic value. Sometimes you will be able to propose such a question without revising the topic. This happens when you have a solid knowledge of the subject, otherwise, I recommend that you start with a general reading and then focus on the topics that most interest you or best fit your teacher’s requirements.
Rule No. 2. Find the answer
Once you have set the question you must find an answer. The answer will be the thesis of the essay, i.e. the idea that you will support. Let’s look at an example of the answer on this guiding question:
Is the Colombian health system capable of dealing with the crisis generated by the coronavirus?
The thesis would be
“The Colombian health system would not be able to deal with a large number of coronavirus incidents, if they occur simultaneously, because it does not have the necessary technology and medical supplies”.
Rule No. 3. You will need to read.
If the previous rules are golden rules, reading is an 18-carat golden rule, why? Because writing is about reading carefully and structuring ideas about what you read. This rule is very valuable to learn the strategy on how to write winning essays.
Sometimes you will be able to find the answer to your question without much effort. At other times you will need to contextualise, review the positions taken by the authors before you and compliment them when you notice that they have left out important aspects. To do this, reading will be crucial.
The essay requires reviewing the positions and contributions of other authors, knowing in detail the topic to be addressed and identifying the issues of greatest interest, such a task can only be completed through systematic and organised background reading of the subject matter. Therefore, my recommendation for this - does not try to write without having read beforehand, as you will only get frustrated, lost in a sea of inaccuracies and without finding a port to land in.
Rule No. 4. Design a macrostructure for your winning essay.
Posing a question and choosing a thesis will help you know the direction of your text and give you the basis for writing a winning essay. However, it is important that you set a list of topics to cover. This list of topics will help you firstly with the literature review because it will keep you focused on the aspects relevant to your work, and secondly, in the writing because it will allow you to develop the topic in an orderly way and build partial conclusions that support the thesis of your text. The macrostructure usually deals with the definition and characterisation of the objects and/or subjects included in the thesis of the text.
In the example hypothesis:
“the Colombian health system would not be able to attend to a large number of coronavirus incidents, if they occur simultaneously, because it does not have the necessary technology and medical supplies”.
We begin by defining how the health system is made up, go on to characterise the resources available to it, and finally review its response capacity.
Rule No. 5. The argument is constructed in 3 parts.
Once your task sounds like “write an argumentative text”, you generally think “I know how to write my essay online“, but if you want to learn how to write a winning essay you should pay close attention to this rule.
Actually, the argumentative process is simple, if you follow these three steps:
To work on an argument related to access to health services in Colombia, the statement would be:
“in 2018 94% of Colombians were affiliated to the health system”.
The data would comprise:
“95% of the tutelas filed in 2018 sought guaranteed access to health services”.
And the justification would state:
“considering the large number of tutelas filed by Colombians, to claim health benefits, it is possible that being affiliated to the system does not guarantee access to the required health services.”
As can be seen, the data are theoretical foundations and/or qualitative and quantitative information, i.e. relevant theories, characterisation studies and results of surveys or interviews; on the other hand, the justification is a hypothetical statement that connects the assertion and the data presented.
Additionally, the argumentative scheme allows you to support the justification with resources such as: searching for legal, theoretical and/or sociological sources; specifying or qualifying the claim, in other words, indicating the degree of probability or the scenario in which it takes place; and objecting or refuting the claim, in other words, expressing a hypothesis in which the claim would not be true.