I’m Rebecca, and today I’m going to share with you a whole new way to think about your essay writing.
Now, a lot of students get very confused when it comes to essays.
They don’t understand why they got a low score, they don’t sometimes understand why they got a high score.
Well, I’m going to break it down for you so you understand exactly how an examiner thinks when he’s giving you marks.
All right? Because I’ve been an examiner thousands of times.
So, this is what it breaks down to.
What is good essay writing? Well, a good essay depends on two main areas: What you write and how you write.
What you write depends on your topic, whether you write about your topic because if you write a beautiful essay on the wrong topic, you’re still going to get a zero.
It depends on what you write, depends on your topic, depends on your logic of your ideas, how you present it, the organization of your ideas, and things like that.
That’s what you write.
But today we’re not going to talk about what you write.
We’re going to talk about the second element, which is how you write.
Okay? It’ll there are other lessons of mine which talk about what to write.
Today we’re focused on how to write.
And what I want you to understand is in connection with how you write, every single little thing you do matters, from the smallest thing to the biggest thing, and that’s how I want you to learn to think about your writing, that everything from the micro level (the smallest level) to the macrolevel (the largest level) matters.
What do I mean by that? Let’s look.
So, what I mean is every mark you place on your essay matters, every word you choose matters, every sentence you write matters, every paragraph you construct matters, and the entire essay that you build is important.
Okay? What did I just go over? That every mark you place, every word you choose, every sentence you write, every paragraph you construct, and the entire essay – all of that comes together and combines to give you a good score or not.
So, let’s see how you can improve in every single aspect.
Okay? Let’s start with the smallest aspect, but smallest doesn’t mean necessarily least important.
Okay? So when we talk about every mark you make, it means the punctuation.
Now, people think that they know punctuation, but do you really know punctuation? Yes, you probably know how to use a question mark, you may know how to use an exclamation mark, although we don’t use them too much in essay writing.
Do you know how to use a semi-colon? Do you know how to use quotation marks? If not, that’s something you need to go and study so that you can include the whole range of punctuation marks in your essay so you can show the examiner that you know how to write well in English, which is what you’re trying to do.
So if you’re not 100% sure, for example, how to use a semi-colon, then go and find out.
Okay? Next: The words you choose, obviously, are very important.
That means you need to use rich vocabulary.
That means using more than just saying “good” and “bad”.
In fact, I have another lesson on that.
Go check that out on how to use anything but “good” and “bad”.
Right? And go to our website.
I have a whole resource about 142 words you can use instead of “good” or “bad” to give you a higher score.
All right? It also means.
Vocabulary in essay writing also means using transition words, like to express your opinion, to compare and contrast,things like that.
Right? To conclude.
And if you want a list of those, you can go to another website which I’ll give you a little bit later.
You can check these things out.
These things are available.
Take advantage of them.
Okay? Next: What’s important when it comes to the word? Spelling.
Yeah, you have to learn spelling.
I know that English spelling is very difficult.
I have a resource about that, too, on our engVid website about 50 common spelling errors.
Make sure. Go through the list, make sure you’re not making those errors.
There are some things we can control, for example, check the spelling of the transition words.
Right? Make sure that you’re not making a mistake in something you’re guaranteed to use.
You can’t know all the words you’re going to use, but you can know some of the words you’re going to use for sure.
Make sure you know how to spell them.
Make sure you know the rules of capitalization.
Which words do you capitalize? Right? Make sure you go over those rules, it’s really important.
Next: When it comes to the sentence, obviously.
What do we mean by the sentence? Why are you getting good or bad marks based on the sentence? Depends on your grammar.
Grammar includes, of course, all of the things you’ve been trying so hard to learn, it includes your tenses, the word order, the prepositions, the articles, and modals, everything.
Okay? We do have things tohelp you there, also.
We have resources all about the tenses, for example, about word order, things like that.
Check out those resources, use them.
Make sure you’re not making those mistakes.
And if you are, correct yourself.
You can do it.
Okay? Next: Sentence structure.
If you’re going to write an interesting essay, you have to use varied sentence structure.
So, what does that mean? That means you won’t always write every sentence in the same way.
Sometimes you’re going to use simple sentences, sometimes you’re going to use compound sentences, and sometimes complex sentences.
What is that? If you don’t know what a simple sentence is in English, and a compound sentence, and a complex sentence, then I think you better go and check that out.
But to tell you very briefly: A simple sentence is like: “My name is Mary.” Compound sentence is: “My name is Mary, and his name is John.” And a complex sentence is: “While my name is Mary, his name is John.” Okay? So, you have to use a variation of sentences.
Okay? Variety of sentences to make your essay interesting.
They also checking for that.
You’re also going to, at the sentence level, make sure that your capitalization is right at the beginning of the sentence, and anywhere it’s necessary, and also correct punctuation.
All of that comes into play at the sentence level.
Next: We come to the paragraph itself.
Do you know how to construct a proper paragraph, or are you just sort of writing? Well, there are rules and guidelines-right? How to do that.
You have to make sure, if it’s an introductory paragraph: Do you have a thesis statement? If you write a beautiful essay and you forget to have a thesis statement, you’re going to lose marks.
That’s really bad.
Each paragraph also needs to have a topic sentence.
Do you know what a topic sentence is? You should know.
You need to check that if you’re going to appear for an exam, like the IELTS or the TOEFL or the TOEIC.
Right? Topic sentence is basically a general descriptive sentence before.
Usually at the very beginning of each paragraph to give you a general idea of what you’re going to talk about in that paragraph.
And usually for, let’s say the TOEFL essays you’re asked to give an example, so you are to make sure if they ask you to give examples, give an example, give a result, give a summary sentence.
Right? That will construct your paragraph, and that will construct a good paragraph, but you’ll give the examiner all the things that he or she is looking for to give you better marks.
Next: At the level of the essay.
Right? Now we’re looking at the macro level.
Right? Overall, have you divided your essay? Have you structured your essay in the way it should be? Do you have an introduction? Do you have a body? Do you have a conclusion? Right? So usually we have one introductory paragraph, two or three body paragraphs.
If it’s a TOEFL essay, which has to be a little bit longer, 300 to 350 words, then you’ll probably have three body paragraphs, and then a conclusion.
If it’s an IELTS essay, you have one introduction, one conclusion, maybe two body paragraphs because you don’t have to make it as long.
But you must have those paragraphs.
If you don’t have them, you’ll lose marks.
Right? You must know what an introductory paragraph is, how it should be written.
What are the essential elements of it? One essential element is a thesis statement, again, in the introduction you’ve got to have one.
And the body paragraphs, you must have your topic sentences there.
In the conclusion you must have a concluding sentence that clearly shows thatit’s a concluding sentence.
So you need to learn to use a transition expression, like: “In conclusion”, “In summary”, “All in all”, something like that.
Right? And last, you must make sure that the total length of your essay is what they asked you to do.
So if they told you to write 300 to 350 words, make sure that you have 300 or 350 words.
How do you know that? By practicing, by practicing until you have a sense of what 300 to 350 words are like.
Okay? In some exams you can.
There is a word count, in some exams there aren’t; there’s no word count.
Right? There’s nothing like that.
On the IELTS you just have to write on a piece of paper, so unless you’ve practiced and you have an idea what 250 words are like, you won’t know.
So make sure because you can lose marks for leaving out any of these things, and you can also increase your marks by doing all these things.
So what I’m trying to do, here, is to get you to think from the smallest point to the biggest point how you can improve.
And I can guarantee you that if you address it at all of these levels: the mark, the word, the sentence, the paragraph, and the essay- you are guaranteed a much higher score.