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Essay writing is something that comes naturally to a lucky few, but the rest of us mere mortals can be left scratching our heads for hours with only half a page to show for it. To get you in the right frame of mind to produce something you’ll be proud to submit, we’ve put together a quick checklist of everything you need to do before you get started.

Take a look at each of the hints and tips, learn them, and then apply them. You’ll find that they make the whole process a lot smoother than it ever has been before.

Understand what the question means

Understanding the question is the very first step because without it, you simply won’t know what you’re doing. All the time students start writing as they’re in a rush, and only when they get to the end do they realize they haven’t even come close to answering the question.

Avoid falling into this trap by explaining what the question means out loud to someone else. If you can do it in a way that enlightens them, then you are ready.

Read up on the subject, and clarify any tricky definitions

Reading as widely as possible is the best way to build your foundational knowledge of the subject. This is a rather open ended part of the process, so don’t obsess about becoming a world leading authority overnight. Clarify all of the major definitions, and familiarize yourself with the key concepts. That way you won’t feel in over your head when you need to look up an alternative source halfway through your first draft.

Know your word count, and stick to it

The word count is not a recommendation or a loose guideline, it’s a requirement. The whole point is that the examiner wants to see how concise and precise you can be with your language. There’s nothing to be gained by writing a hundred pages, so don’t set out to do it in the first place.

Run through your arguments with simple diagrams

The next thing you need to do is construct your arguments on a side of paper with a few simple diagrams. Flow charts work nicely, and they allow you to see how your essay will take shape as it moves down the page.

Use your argument diagram to create working subheadings

You can then take your final diagram, and use it to create subheadings and subsections. The titles don’t need to be finalized, and they don’t even need to appear in the final draft at all. What they’re allowing you to do is break up a big essay into a dozen or so bitesized articles. That way you’ll find the task far more manageable.

Put your phone away, and close the door

Before you Get Academic Help, put your phone away! There are so many bright and talented students out there than could produce amazing work if they just got off social media for a few hours. The constant distraction and temptation is enough to destroy your focus. Not only will your essay take twice as long to write, it also won’t get anywhere near as good a grade as it would if you sat without playing on your phone.

Budget plenty of time to proofread

Proofreading is a vitally important stage in the writing process, and certainly one that you cannot afford to miss if you want to achieve the top grade your hard work deserves. Allow plenty of time to fine tune your essay, and make sure you give yourself every chance of getting the grade you want.

Plan breaks so you don’t over do it

Sitting and writing for hour after hour is something that no one can do productively. Of course you will be writing longer, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. After a couple of hours of intensive effort your concentration will naturally start to wane. There’s no shame in admitting it, and by taking breaks you’ll find you’re far more productive. Ideal if you want to come top of the class!

Set a target that you can realistically achieve

Word count targets are a great way to keep your focus and really push on. Start by setting a target you know you can achieve, and then make the next one slightly more challenging, and then increase the next one a little more again. It’s all about building your confidence so that you approach your work in a positive frame of mind.

Visualize yourself submitting ahead of schedule The final thing you should do before you get down to work, is start visualizing yourself submitting. If you picture it happening, then you’ll have the drive you need to find a way to make it happen. The writing will then flow effortlessly onto the page.

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