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Common Essay Mistakes

High School Writing Sydney

Virtually every subject requires at least come essay writing, this even includes mathematics when we are at tertiary level. The ability to write a well structured essay that communicates information and supports and argument makes all the difference in the world to the final grade. it is the difference between an successful student and a student who should have done better, if only that had done things differently.

There are some common mistakes that apply to essays in every subject areas.

The Vague Introduction

We were taught from a young age that an essay introduction has to grab the reader right from the very start. This might be a little melodramatic. But the introduction needs to show the reader where you are coming from and what you will be discussing. Give the overarching argument of your essay in a sentence, state the topic and why it is more complex than it first appears – that is the purpose of the introduction.

Avoid the introduction that say your topic is the central issue that has plagued society since the dawn of civilization. Avoid generic statement. Tell the reader what you are about to discuss.

Lazy Proofreading

Some examiners claim they don’t mark for spelling, and that grammar is only important for English majors. But the truth is your spelling and grammatical slip-ups are probably costing you 5 marks, so your B+ becomes a B-, if your not too unlucky.

If your essay is difficult to read, your examiner will become frustrated and tune out. and this will not help you get a good grade.

In this day of spell=check there is little excuse for poor spelling. Get rid of all the minor slip-ups, and boost your grades at least a little bit

If possible, put the essay aside for a day and re-read it with a fresh mind. You will find lot of little errors than need correcting.

Pretentious Prose

It is a common mistake with the inexperienced to try and imitate academic language. Some people thinks that the language sounds impressive. Perhaps this comes from a time when we were younger and ‘advanced writing’ seemed dense and hard to understand. We tried to write in a dense and hard-to-understand style, thinking that this was the same thing. But of course this is an illusion

Concepts may be difficult, but the idea is to communicate complex ideas in a clear manner. If you can impress the examiner with an original insight, or by explaining a notoriously difficult philosopher’s position in a few clear sentences, then you will do far better than a page of wordy lines that say very little.

Use of big words.

This ties to the pretentious prose. When we were in infant school the teacher encouraged us to use ‘big words’, if only to expand the vocabulary. But if we use these incorrectly, or just try to bulk up the essay to reach the work count, then it works against us.

Lookup legal and scientific terms, or what ever applies to the subject you are writing on. and them use then correctly where necessary. remember, it is the concept behind these words that applies; just putting big words in haphazardly means nothing.

Make an Argument

This is fairly common, and the reason why so many essays just barely manage to scrape through with a pass. It is not enough to summarize what your source information already told you, and everybody else. You need to make an insight.

Find fault with the common interpretation of the information. Contrast two different interpretations. Point out anything that might be missing from the conventional interpretation. Tell us why social attitude changed during the Cold War, and how this was reflected in popular TV shows and comic book. Don’t simply give the dates when significant events occurred.

Present an argument that makes sense by the last paragraph.

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Coaching helps individuals reach their potential. This benefits the education we receive now, the performance in exam, and the career we can reach through better education. Make the most of the abilities you have, coaching will help you get your ideas across to others.

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