Exeter, Devon UK • Dec 9, 2023 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Comment First Essay Fears: How to attack your first assignment

First Essay Fears: How to attack your first assignment

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Essays, essays, essays. It seems strange to settle back into work after freshers’ week. Perhaps you’re excited and can’t wait to get going. Perhaps you’re scared of the difficulties your degree might hold. Perhaps you couldn’t care less and your degree is kind of a downside to the uni experience.
Whatever you’re thinking, the essay is actually there to help you, and it’s worth doing your best for it. By reading your essay this early in the year, your academic teachers can show you what you are good at and where to improve to achieve your best in your degree. And you’ve got a whole three terms to absolutely smash first year.
But getting it done is the thing. You have to get it done in order to have it done, in order to improve.

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Image: TeleRead.com

Do not fear. There are some top tips right here…. Whether you’re nervous, excited or not that fussed, work your way through these ten steps, and, hey presto, you’ve smashed essay number one.
1) Start early – get it done. Don’t leave it to the last minute. You won’t like it, your degree won’t like it, your marker won’t like it, and the assessment website won’t like it. Don’t go there. Set the assessment date a day early for yourself. It makes life easier.

2) Dissect the question – write the question on a big piece of paper and get out those new highlighters. Highlight the key words. Ask yourself, what is the question saying, what is it asking me to do, and how is it asking me to do it? If you freak out, remember that they wouldn’t have asked you the essay question if they didn’t think you had an idea of how to answer it.

3) Write down your initial ideas –every single one. It doesn’t matter how crazy the idea is, just write it down.

4) Read around and write down what you read – choose your favourite ideas and read about them online, through academic essays, online books, or even the library books. They work too. Note down what you find interesting, challenging, what you agree or disagree with. You can include this in your essay. Oh, and make sure to write down the references of the texts too. You’ll thank me in number 8.

5) Plan – Plan what your answer is, using both your own ideas and what you’ve read. Then, in detail, plan your essay itself; what will each paragraph say and in how many words? Does it answer the question?

6) Write – just write. Even if you think what you’re writing is atrocious, just write. Get it on paper. Or Word.

7) Edit – go through each paragraph, read it aloud and edit. Make sure that your essay answers the question. Cut out fluff. Imagine that every word costs something and your student budget needs to cover it. Few words written carefully makes for a concise, beautiful essay.

8) References and formatting – make it essay pretty. Put on some music, get a cup of tea and write down those references how the academics want them. Format the margins, fonts, include page numbers, your student number, and other details specified. If you didn’t follow my advice in number 4, you’ll have to trawl through your google history. I’m sorry, but I did warn you.

9) Edit again –Read it aloud, even if it drives your housemates mad. It will help you spot mistakes. You could even send it to a friend to briefly read just to spot any typos.

10) Submit it – once you’re done, submit it. And check you submitted it right. Don’t let that hard work go to waste.

And there you have it. Essay number one done. Simple.

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