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Academic writing - Skills Guide: Essay

Essay

What is it?

An essay is a formal piece of writing written with a particular structure and layout with a particular task set. Some essays may be formative (as the mark doesn't go towards your final grade) and some may be summative (graded). Formative essays play an important role in helping you develop your understanding and writing skills to meet the requirements of the module, so take advantage of essay these opportunities if possible. 

Why do I need to learn it?

An essay displays your knowledge within a subject area and are often used to assess your progress and provide a grade. An essay will not only display your subject knowledge and writing skills, but will also demonstrate your critical thinking, research and reading skills, all of which add to your employability. 

How do I do it?

An essay usually follows the format of:

10% Introduction

80% Main Body

10% Conclusion

You can begin your essay in many ways: some people like to start by writing the introduction and some with the main body.  You could start to write before doing any research, or you may throw yourself into research before attempting to write anything; you may need to plan out structure, or write and then organise.  You find the method suits you. There are example essay extracts available on Do It Write. 

 

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