Students often struggle to write their essays and are exhausted and relieved when they finally finish. Their next step is to send it to the examiner but in doing so they have overlooked one very important step: proofreading. The proofreader can give an objective viewpoint and is an important link buffering the student from the examiner.
Sometimes, I wonder if the students actually read their University Guidelines for submitting essays. Often essays lack page numbers and the referencing style is different to the one stipulated. The word count is vital and students will lose marks for exceeding the word limit. Pay attention to what is included in the word count; often footnotes are included but wording within diagrams or tables and the bibliography/references are not. The guidelines must be followed and your adherence will be an indication to the examiner of your attention to detail.
Often all the points required to answer the question are included, but the grammar, spelling, structure and emphasis are sub standard. This will lead to critical marks being lost. It is important to let a professional proofreader cast an eye over the essay. Apart from correcting the obvious spelling and grammatical errors, they can suggest a change in structure and the way in which an argument is developed. They can also point out if sources are relied on too heavily without any original thoughts from the writer.
I cannot stress the importance of structure and grammar in an essay.
I am still amazed at the regularity with which students neglect the basic foundations of an introduction and conclusion. Without the basis structure readers are often left mesmerised struggling to make sense and relevance of the points made
Often students start developing their main arguments, ignoring the need for a few sentences which should set the scene and explain briefly how the essay will be developed. The reader should be able to absorb and analyse what the student has written whilst being clear on how the essay will be developed.
In their desire to write all the salient points the argument is often overlooked or lost. Students forget that the conclusion is the last part of the essay to be read. It is fresh in the mind of the examiner and a confusing or meaningless conclusion will undermine what may otherwise be a well written piece of work.
A well written essay can also be marred by a lack of attention to detail. Repetition is a major failing whereas emphasis is not. Repetition involves repeating the same point albeit using slightly different wording in an almost gratuitous fashion. The use of emphasis involves using the same point but in a different way so that the argument within the essay is enhanced.
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