How to write an informative essay effectively and fast

  1. Understand the essay question. If it’s long, break it down, and ensure you know exactly what it’s asking you to answer. If you’re unsure, check with your tutor and fellow students.

  2. Don’t waste time - Use techniques that have served you well thus far. You’ve probably been writing essays all throughout your education. Keep doing what you’ve been doing. You could waste time writing rough drafts and plans, or creating colour-coordinated time-tables, but it’s probably best to just get stuck right in writing as soon as you can.

  3. Look at the essay mark-criteria if you have access to it (often published in course-booklets/virtual learning environments). Students tend to ignore it, because it looks a bit formal and boring; but this tells you exactly what you need to do in order to get the highest possible mark. Once you know this, you simply need to do it. Easy, right?

  4. Do your research, so your essay is ‘informative’ and packed full of relevant references. Use a good quantity of books/electronic journals, and ensure these are from solid trustworthy backgrounds. Journals are good to use in your research, because anyone submitting work to a journal has to undergo an extensive academic peer-review; whereas website content isn’t always as trustworthy. Journals are also fast to scan and read for pertinent quotes, by using the ‘Ctrl & F’ find option for key-words, you can simply then click ‘next’ to jump to the next time this keyword is mentioned in the article, without needing to read it cover to cover. You can also filter search results by date to ensure you’re using the most current up-to-date research.

  5. Write, reference & create your bibliography as you go along. If you over-research without writing, it can seem overwhelming trying to pull it all together. So, write up your findings as you go along. DEFINITELY reference as you write; put useful short quotes in quote marks (indent longer ones), and use the referencing system you need to follow (to avoid plagiarism). Immediately note down: the source, author, title, page, publisher etc. This will save you trying to locate references at the end.

  6. Leave time to revise your essay, proof-read, and edit. Re-word clumsy phrasing; spell-check; check accuracy of referencing; and make sure it’s correctly formatted. Work that is well presented shows care has been taken over it and the marker views more favourably.

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