How to Compose a Solid Academic Essay: 8 Easy Steps

Some students seem to possess an innate talent for writing. For others, creating an academic essay is a difficult, time-consuming affair. Both types of students can benefit from using easy steps for building their paper. With a little help, the entire process of creating an academic paper can be simplified.

  • Research Thoroughly
  • The entire point of an academic paper is to demonstrate what the student has learned. If the document is not well-researched, the student is unlikely to get a good grade on it. Students should spend extra time looking up good primary and secondary sources. Any source that is used for research should always be listed in the bibliography.

  • Borrow From the Writer's Bibliography
  • If there is an expert in a particular field, the bibliography in their book is probably a good one. Instead of wasting time looking through hundreds of sub-par sources, students can save time by using someone else's bibliography. Although the student should not copy every source listed, they can use the bibliography as a guide for their research.

  • Brainstorm Multiple Ideas
  • Some students are lucky enough to think of a perfect idea on their first try. For most students, this is an improbable occurrence. Rather than accept the first thesis idea, students should take some time to brainstorm different topics that they can use. Once the student has a useful, interesting list of topics, they can pick their favorite one and write a paper about it.

  • Write Down Topic Sentences
  • Each paragraph will have a mini-thesis that is known as a topic sentence. These sentences are designed to support the main thesis and build the argument. By writing down the topic sentence in the outline, students can easily see the path that their research will take. They can also use rearrange or delete these topic sentences if they are unnecessary.

  • Set an Egg Timer
  • The hardest part about writing is the beginning. Once the student starts writing, the words will naturally start to flow. To get started, students should set an egg timer for 20 minutes. As soon as this time period begins, the student should write the first thing that comes to their mind about the topic. They should keep writing until the 20 minutes are up. Some of the resulting sentences will be usable for the paper. Although some of the sentences will be deleted, this technique will help the student get in the mood for writing.

  • Use Editing Software
  • Very few people actually enjoy editing an essay. Rather than waste time on editing the first draft, students should send it through an editing software program. This will allow the student to sort out the major spelling errors and mistakes. Afterward, the student can sit down for the time-consuming task of proofreading.

  • Proofread First
  • Proofreading is an entirely different thing than editing. While editing deals with the spelling errors and minutia of writing, proofreading is intended to address structural programs and logic issues. During this stage of writing, students should change around the parts of their argument, cut out unnecessary sections and add sentences for clarity. Only when the proofreading is complete should a writer turn to editing and fine-tuning their writing.

  • Ask For Help
  • At the very end of the writing process, students should find a friend, parent or teacher who can help them. An extra set of eyes is a helpful way to make sure that the paper is actually complete. With the help of a friend, the student will be able to spot errors that they would have otherwise missed. This step is also a vital way for the student to get feedback before they turn the entire document in to their teacher.