When it comes to academic writing, the writing style is just as important as the essay content. We have pooled together a list from our highly qualified editors of advice and common errors to help ensure that your academic writing style is not letting you down. If you have a poor writing style, your essay mark will unlikely reach above 60 points at university level, regardless of the strength of the ideas you present. Follow these tips and start to notice the difference!
The introduction is vital: Your introduction summarises your essay in a succinct way and compels interest. Writing your introduction last, once your essay is complete, is age-old advice: definitely follow it. Put forward your main argument, following up with a few elements of how you have reached your conclusions. What will the reader discover from your piece? What are your key points?
Avoid using “I”: Instead of, “In this essay I will cover…” consider phrases such as, “The purpose of this essay is to explore…” or, “This essay will examine the evidence relating to…” Notice that such a small change has significantly changed the tone of the sentence.
Be critical: The key objective when writing an essay is to demonstrate your ability to think critically. If you don’t analyse, and instead spend your essay simply reciting other people’s arguments, then those top grades are going to elude you. ‘Poke holes’ in the texts you are exploring. Unless you take this critical route, your grades will continue to languish in the 60-something range.
Link your paragraphs: Paragraph linking is essential for top marks. If you make points that appear unrelated, a marker will not see, or follow, the development of a comprehensive argument. Simply introduce the next paragraph with “An alternative perspective on this argument can be drawn from…” or use brief links such as “Similarly…” and “Alternatively…”.
Relate back to the title: Marks are certainly lost if your marker asks: “Is this relevant?” Relating back to the title boosts marks because you are explicitly answering the question. One simple sentence outlining “The evidence presented in this paragraph appears to confirm…” suddenly makes your inclusion of a point indisputably clear.
Conclude: Vague conclusions do not score high marks. What did the evidence tell you? Do you agree or disagree with the title? Are you tentatively leaning in one direction but think there’s more research to be done? “The current conclusions drawn from research are based on inadequate sample sizes, therefore it would be inaccurate to draw any conclusions, despite the evidence appearing to agree with the title.” sounds more conclusive than “More research is needed to answer this question”.
Get your references right: Unless your sources are one hundred per cent cited and in the correct format, your marks are never going to make it past average. Check your university’s citation style guide and follow it to the letter.
Be proof perfect: Grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and typos are a sure-fire way to lose marks. Even if you have presented a critical piece of work, if it is littered with faults then you will quickly lose credibility. If you are in any way unsure, make a wise investment in a professional proof reading and editing service. Your university will support it providing the service follows its policy.
If you still have concerns about your writing style, BayDue is here to help. BayDue is a specialist department focusing on working with people who use English as a second language and people with dyslexia. Our team provide expert proofreading and in depth editing services for an array of academic and professional documents, catering for a broad range of subject areas. We have extensive knowledge of higher education systems, so we can ensure we bring your ideas to life and present them in the most academically suitable way.