In order to write a good academic essay and thesis, you must use appropriate language and concise words (and make sure there is plenty of proofreading and editing!). It can be hard to ensure your essay follows proper conventions so we have compiled a list of things to do and things to avoid to make your essay sound more academic. Here are our 9 tips for writing effective academic essays:
Remember before reading this, that you should be planning your essay, and important things to remember include: thesis and introduction, well-structured body of text, research, and more. These 9 important bits of advice will help you be the author of a great academic paper.
1. Avoid Contractions
One question I always get, is should I use contractions? A contraction is a combination of words that have been shortened by either fusing the two words together or the omission of syllables from the two words. For example, the words aren’t, don’t and can’t are all contractions. Contractions are the enemy of a formal academic essay. Use them in your everyday conversation, but it is important to leave them out of your essay.
2. Avoid Clichés
Clichés are overused phrases or expressions such as “back to square one”, or “too good to be true”. You can find hundreds of clichés and you should avoid them at all costs, as you do not need them. Clichés are not always obvious, so you have to be thorough in your proofreading to ensure that no clichés have made their way into your academic essay. In essence, avoid using flowery language and make sure you go through the process of knowing that your reader knows what you mean by writing plainly and clearly in your essay.
Advice: Write for the reader!
3. Avoid Colloquialisms and Informal Vocab
Your essay should steer clear of any colloquialisms or informal words, which will make it flow better for the reader. When writing essays be sure to avoid words that you use in everyday conversation such as, totally, basically, super and heaps. Another important writing process is that you should never use slang or abbreviations in your academic essay. This is especially important when setting the tone in your thesis.
4. Use Academic Vocabulary
Ensure that you are using academic vocabulary in your essay in order to strengthen your argument. Avoid words such as think, use and lots as these sound less academic. Read our article on “15 Words and Phrases That Will Take Your Essay to the Next Level” for an extensive list of words and phrases to use to make your paper sound more academic. Make sure to use descriptive words to help your reader understand key points in your statements, introductions, body and conclusion.
When writing an academic essay there is an important need to use academic words throughout the paper. By writing answers to the paper questions, with a well-thought out structure and use of academic vocab, then you’ll be well on your way to pleasing the reader of your paper.
5. Make Your Thesis or Argument is Obvious
When writing an academic essay, one of the most important things is to ensure that your argument is clear, obvious and is clearly stated in plain language. Use strong wording in your thesis or argument to persuade your reader. You can help this by using a careful structure in your essay plan, as well as writing clear coherent paragraphs and sections.
Your thesis statement should be in your introduction paragraph, and should be reviewed in the proofreading process to ensure you have answered the question.
6. Ensure You Are Using the Right Point of View
The point of view in your paper depends on both the type of essay you are writing, and the requirements of the task. Always ensure that you are writing from the correct point of view when writing your essay. Academic essays will either be written in third person or first person. You should never write an essay in second person.
7. Use Topic Sentences and Transitions
Each paragraph of your paper should begin with a topic sentence. A topic sentence introduces the main concept or idea of a paragraph. Similar to topic sentences, transition sentences make your paper flow from one idea to another within a paragraph. Having these smooth transitions make your academic essay clearer and easier to read.
For instance, when editing your thesis you should make sure there is a topic sentence.
8. Ensure Your Document is Properly Formatted
The way that your document should be formatted depends on the kind of essay you are writing. Be sure to check with your teacher about the formatting requirements for your essay. As a standard formatting guide, you should always use a 12-point serif typeface and have a line spacing of 2.0.
Moreover, make sure you are proofread and go through the process of continually editing your essay. By making sure that your papers have coherent introductions (or thesis), a well structured body, and conclusion, as well as always answering the essay question, you’ll be well on your way to writing an academic essay.
9. Make Sure You Are Using the Proper Referencing Guide
There are a number of academic referencing styles available for an essay. The academic referencing style you should use will depend on the type of essay you are writing, or the preference of the person marking it. Be sure that you are using the correct referencing style as this will contribute to your essay looking and sounding more academic.
Finally, please remember…
Proofreading and editing are one of the most important parts to ensure that you have answered the question and satisfy the readers attention. By proofreading and editing multiple times, and even employing proofreading services (thanks Mum and Dad!), will lead to your essay sounding and reading in a more academic tone.
Each section should undergo meticulous proofreading, to ensure the correct words, advice, research, dates, and citations are used.
Motivated to learn how to write the best academic essays? Interested in learning creative writing?
We hope you enjoyed reading the above tips for improving your essay writing skills. Do you have a passion for writing? Learn the important secrets to becoming a great writer by attending our award-winning creative writing summer school programme.