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22 April 2024

Follow these tips to improve your essays!

You’ve probably written or will have to write some essays during your time at uni. While you may already have an idea of what an essay is and how to write one, it’s important to keep improving your approach to research, writing and essay structure. 

Here, we’ve recapped in brief some essay basics, as well as things that your assessor will be looking for. 

Essay basics

An essay is a piece of writing where you present your position, sometimes referred to as your contention or thesis statement. Your position is like an opinion, but it is backed up by evidence, in response to a topic.

There are many different types of essays, but they have several common features you should follow and include to help you plan and complete them:

Time management

Be generous to yourself by making sure you have enough time to prepare for your essay. Remember that there is more to writing an essay than just writing the essay; you will also need to complete the required reading and any necessary additional research (both from your classes and wider sources), brainstorm keywords and concepts, decide on your point of view and draft an outline of the contents of your paragraphs.

When it comes to essays, many people may find themselves procrastinating or ‘leaving it to the last minute’. While these can be difficult to avoid, Deakin has some advice and resources to help.

What your assessor is looking for

Ultimately, your success (and results) in your essay will be judged by how well you can meet the task instructions and assessment rubric given to you. So read these carefully and make sure you have a firm understanding of what you are being asked to do before you start your essay. If you have any uncertainties at all, then check with your teaching staff member.

Most commonly, these are the elements that your assessor will be looking for you to have demonstrated when they mark your essay:

By following these guidelines, you will set yourself up to achieve the best that you can.

Could you use some help?

This is just a taste of the Academic Skills Guide to Essay Writing. It contains information and resources on how to write an essay, including a guide to paragraph structure and a handy explanation of the steps of the writing process. Have a read if you’re looking for detailed guidance about an aspect of essay writing, or about essays more generally.

We also have Academic Skills Guides about researching, referencing, oral presentations and preparing for end-of-unit assessments.

And, if you’ve got more questions, chat to a Writing Mentormake an appointment with a Language and Learning Adviser or check out Deakin’s online tutoring service Studiosity. The Study Support team love chatting about essays and they are ready to help you out.

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