How to Write Any Essay in Five Hours or Less
July 01, 2019 Michael Thompson Custom Essay Blog
In my time as an undergraduate and Master’s student at university I wrote and marked countless essays, but it was not until I began working as a professional essay writer that I became really good at it. Writing essays is like anything else; the more you do it, the better you get at it, and I cannot tell someone how to become an expert, but I can share some tips that I have learned over the years which can help take the stress out of the process.
When I graduated from a top university with a Masters in Political Science (International Relations) I had to decide whether I was ready to give up on academia and writing – I knew I did not want to be a professor, so I looked into my other options. I quickly discovered that there is a large demand throughout North America and the world for model term papers and essays, as they can be a valuable resource for students looking to excel at their own studies. For that reason I started working as a freelance essay writer. I became exposed to essay requests of all types, and I quickly learned that while every essay is different, there are many tricks and tips that can help any writer get through the essay they are facing – regardless of what it is.
In my years as a professional essay writer I have written over 2,500 essays in all subjects, and have become very skilled at it. Custom Essay approached me and asked if I would be willing to write this short eBook to give students tips and advice to help them conquer their own essay challenges. I jumped at the opportunity because I have found my career to be very rewarding, and if I can help other people find the joy in essay writing, then it is worth it. While you read this and while you overcome the challenges that your own essays will present to you, just remember that essays are not supposed to be easy, but you can do it, and when you finally finish it, you will be glad you stuck with it. Also remember that it is alright to get help with your essays, because learning from the experience of others is how all people grow and learn. That is what we do at Custom Essay; we help students who are struggling with their essays get over the hump, and we are continually thanked by our customers for allowing them to move forward with their assignments, and ultimately succeed in their academic endeavours. By ordering a custom essay or term paper from Custom Essay, you are leveraging the experience and knowledge of the experts, and this can be a valuable resource as you set out to write your own quality essays.
As you read this eBook, keep in mind that I am not intending this to be a book about how to lay out an essay. There are many other resources online that will tell you how to structure an essay – for example, the Hamburger model of an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. What I seek to do here is to give insight about the process of writing an essay; this is something that I can do because I have written over 2,500 of them. I hope you will be able to learn from what follows and that it will help you get to the next step in your academic endeavours. And remember, Custom Essay and its expert team of writers is always here to help you, so use the information included in this eBook, but also do not hesitate to get in touch with us if we can help you in any way.
What Kind of Essay Are You Writing?
People think that all essays are the same and therefore they should all be approached in the same way. While it is true that these tips and tricks can help with all essays, it is important that any writer be aware of the type of essay they are writing before they write it.
The first question you must ask is: what subject is this essay for? There are lots of subjects being taught in any given university, and each subject requires a different approach when it comes to formulating a quality essay. These subjects include, but are not limited to: Political Science, Philosophy, History, Business, Nursing, Anthropology, Sociology, Marketing, etc… Every discipline has a different purpose, and therefore when you write an essay in a specific discipline, it is vital to keep in mind the purpose of that discipline. For example, Political Science is the study of political processes and governments, and therefore a Political Science essay should give a better understanding of those issues. Sociology is the study of society and micro- and macro-social processes within it, therefore a Sociology essay should analyse these issues. In other words, every discipline has a different purpose, and as a writer, it is important to begin the essay writing process with this in mind so that you can plan appropriately.
The next important issue is what type of writing assignment it is: is it an essay/term paper, a case study, a book review, a literature review, etc…? Most of the requests we get at Custom Essay are for essays and terms papers, so I will begin with that. An essay usually comes in the form of a question, likely the teacher has given you a question, and you are expected to answer that question in essay form – while making a strong argument. If you are writing an essay, then you know that the purpose of that is to make an argument relating to the question you have been given – it is a pretty straightforward task. There are other types of assignments which differ from essays though, and it is important to know what the differences are. We commonly get requests for book reviews/reports, and these are somewhat different than essays because the purpose is different – in the case of a book review/report, the purpose is not to answer a question per se, but to analyse a book. In assignments like essays, term papers, and book reports, it is important to take a stand – that means, to have a thesis statement, and to argue in support of it throughout. More on this later…
There are other types of assignments that do not require this same argumentative approach. For example, we get many requests for literature reviews at Custom Essay, and for the writer it is necessary to know the difference between a literature review and an argumentative piece. The purpose of a literature review is different; the point of it is to give the reader an overview of the research and literature that exists in a specific area. The task for the writer then is to assemble and present an overview of the existing literature and research in an effective and concise manner; the task is not to editorialize or argue. For this reason, a literature review does not require a thesis statement. There are other types of assignments too, such as case studies and article summaries. Once again, the purpose is different, and therefore these various assignments cannot be approached in the same way as a standard essay. I could go on and on about the different types of assignments, but the key here is just to be aware of what you are writing to ensure that you are doing it with the correct purpose in mind. By ordering a custom essay from Custom Essay, we can help you understand the differences that exist between various types of assignments, and this will put you on the path toward academic success.
Breaking Down the Essay Question
Many people do not realize how important this is, and that is why they become so lost in the process of trying to write an essay. In my years as an essay writer, I have come to learn the importance of being able to break down an essay question to figure out exactly what is being asked of the writer. When you know exactly what you are being asked to accomplish, you will know how to approach the research process, and how to structure the writing.
Most essay questions are very specific in terms of what they ask, and the trick is to figure out what it is that is being asked. I suggest you make a list. Here is an example of an essay question that I got in one of my undergraduate political science classes:
What are the principles underlying the use of boycotts and why are they seen as appropriate in some circumstances and not in others? Answer this question by addressing the UN imposed economic sanctions against Iraq, and if these sanctions were used as a tool of American diplomacy.
This question might seem difficult, but in fact it is very straightforward. Let us make a list of what is being asked:
1.What are the principles underlying the use of boycotts?
2.Why are they (the boycotts) seen as appropriate in some circumstances and not in others?
3.Use examples from the UN imposed sanctions against Iraq (in the 1990s and early 2000s).
4.Were these sanctions used as a tool of American diplomacy?
By creating a list like this, you have literally created the outline for your essay, and now it can be completed in manageable parts. You can basically use these four points as topic sentences for your body/supporting paragraphs, and your essay will flow very well, with each part leading into the next part.
Here is another example. This is from a philosophy essay that I was assigned in my undergraduate studies:
Consciousness is a process of the body that makes the mind-body problem difficult to settle. There are many accounts that have resorted to reductionist principles to attempt to explain the workings of the conscious, but these according to Nagel are flawed. With reference to Nagel’s theory of consciousness and perception, is it impossible for us to know what it is like to be someone else other than ourselves?
Once again, we need to break apart this question:
1.The first two sentences put the question into context, but they tell us some very important things that we will need to know: the essay is dealing with the philosophical concept of consciousness, many philosophers have weighed in on this issue, but this essay question will focus in particular on the account presented by Nagel.
2.With the context laid out for us (part 1 tells us that we need to research Nagel and his theory), we then just need to determine what it is that Nagel is arguing, and how his argument compares to others who have also weighed in on the issue (why does he think the others are flawed?).
It can be seen again that by breaking the question up into manageable parts, the essay question becomes much easier to handle and to approach because we now know exactly what is being asked of us. This is important because quality essays do not waste words; it is important to always stay on topic and make an argument in the most concise way possible. By understanding exactly what is being asked in the essay question, it is much easier to be concise and focused throughout. Every essay question is different, but I have yet to come across one that cannot be broken down in this way. Remember to just make a list of what you are being asked to do, and then use that list to figure out how to approach the research, and how to structure the essay.
The Introduction: Setting the Framework for your Essay
The introduction to your essay is one of the most critical parts because it lays out the path that it will follow, and this is important because it guides the reader - it tells them what the essay is about, what the research question it will address, how it will address that research question, and ultimately, what will be argued (the thesis statement). A common mistake is to say too much in the introduction; the key is to be concise and to the point – do not waste words in the introduction, use them wisely and effectively. What I like to do is start the introduction with a lure; get the reader interested in the subject with that first sentence. Then, lead into the research question, and state clearly what the essay will do, and what it will argue. I like to be direct in my essays, I literally say, “This essay will… and from this it will be clear that…” By wording it in this way, I am being very clear and concise, and the reader knows exactly what to expect. Every teacher is different, and some might prefer you not use the words “in this essay…”, if that is the case, then amend the words slightly, but make sure to be just as concise. Here is the introduction from the first essay (“the use of sanctions”) to give an example of how a clear and concise introduction can be laid out:
Boycotts and sanctions have long been used as important instruments of international politics [here I am luring the reader]. In some cases, individual countries impose them against another country while in other cases, an effort is made to build a multilateral consensus. Numerous examples of these boycotts and sanctions can be given: the broad-based boycott of apartheid in South Africa, the US embargo against Cuba, the UN imposed economic embargo against Iraq, and the call by Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel [here I am giving a little bit of information about the subject – what boycotts and sanctions are in the context of international relations]. What are the principles underlying the use of boycotts and why are they seen as appropriate in some circumstances and not in others [here I am outlining the research question]? This essay will address these questions by looking at the UN imposed economic sanctions against Iraq, and how it was that these sanctions were a tool of American diplomacy [here I am explaining what will happen in this essay]. From this it will be clear that, even though imposing economic sanctions on a country might be done because of good intentions, they do not work the way they are supposed to, because in most cases, as was the case in Iraq, the sanctions do not harm the people they are supposed to help, instead they just hurt the poor and vulnerable [this is the thesis statement – it states what will be argued throughout the essay].
Just like the other parts of the essay need to be broken down, so too does the introduction. By breaking down the introduction into parts, it is much easier to make it concise and clear for the reader. The goal is to have the reader know exactly what lays ahead for them in the rest of the essay, and by following this model, this can be achieved. Introductions like this can be developed with all essay questions, so just remember to break down the question, as that will give insight into how to structure the introduction.
It is common to make the thesis statement the last sentence of the introduction, although this is not a firm rule. When crafting the thesis statement, it is very important to be clear and concise: state exactly what will be argued and do it in a way that leaves no doubt about your intentions. When I write an essay, I like to write a preliminary thesis statement to help guide me through the research and writing process, but it is best to revisit the thesis statement once you have completed the essay, since it is at that time that you know how the essay turned out, and you might need to alter the thesis statement slightly to make it “tighter”, that is, to make it clear and concise.
The Research Process
I am going to discuss research before I discuss putting together the rest of the essay because I like to think of the introduction as a starting point for research. Once you have broken down the essay question (what is being asked of you), and you have formulated a draft of the introduction, you will need to do research to complete the body and supporting arguments. While most people will need to do some preliminary research to develop a draft of the introduction, the real research comes once you know where you are going.
In my time working as a professional essay writer, and in my conversations with other skilled writers at Custom Essay, I have come to develop many strategies for researching effectively. In fact, that is one of the most common reasons that students choose to order model essays and term papers from Custom Essay, because it gives them a starting point for research. We are lucky because in today’s internet era, we have the tools we need to literally research anything. The internet is a tool that must be used carefully and properly, but if we do that, it is an invaluable resource for essay writers.
Many teachers tell their students that the internet is not a reliable source for academic research, but that is simply not true, it is just important that the internet be used properly. There are countless websites on the internet which are not reliable, but many that are, and the key is to understand the difference. Simply stated, research is only academically legitimate (meaning appropriate for use in an academic essay) if it comes from an academic publisher, often in the form of a peer-reviewed book or journal.
Teachers do not want you to simply go into Google and type in a question, and then use the first site you find. Generally, if you go to Google and get directed to a page, it should only be regarded as being legitimate if it is published by a recognized academic institution. But there are many other ways to use Google to get a head start on research. Because I write custom essays every day, I always come across subjects that I know nothing, or very little about. That means the first step I have to take is to learn about the topic, and I turn to Google for this. For example, I would go to Google and type in “boycotts and sanctions in political science”. Google will give me countless pages that will give an overview of the topic, and from there I will have an understanding of how to proceed. One website that is invaluable is Wikipedia; this is a site that should never be listed on an essay’s bibliography or reference list because it is not a legitimate source (it could have errors), but it is a great place to start to get introduced to a subject. By reading Wikipedia or some other site from Google, the writer can then plan where to find legitimate sources. For that reason, I suggest you start your research on sites like Google and Wikipedia, but that is only the start…
You will need to go deeper to find legitimate academic sources to use, and this is not as hard as many people think it is. Once you have a basic understanding of the topic, you can then do one of three things: 1) Go to you online journal database and do a search there; 2) Go to Google Books and do a search there; 3) Go to your local or school library and do a search there. Because you will have already done a preliminary search of the topic online, you will have a good sense of what key words to use.
I like to go into my online journal database and just do a general search to see what articles come up. Make sure you click “peer-reviewed only” and then you can be sure that whatever articles come up are going to be academically appropriate. Peer-reviewed articles are often very specific but they can be very useful if you find the right ones. They also look really good on a bibliography or reference list because it shows the teacher that you have done adequate research. The second resource that I love to use is Google Books. This is such a great resource because you can search inside books, using only keywords. For example, you can go into Google books, type in the keywords “boycotts and sanctions in politics” and it will give you access to academic books, and the specific pages that the information is mentioned on. I cannot understate the value of this; make sure to try this as you will be surprised how well it works. The teacher will think that you did extensive library research going through book after book, but really you just put a few terms into Google and got the results you were looking for. The best part is that you will have all the page numbers for where the information was found, this makes you look like a skilled researcher. The final option is the library. In today’s internet age, we need to use the library less and less because we can find more and more online, but the reality is that sometimes, we need to go to the library and flip through real books. Do not worry though, because if you actually do this, you will have a huge competitive advantage over the other students who try and find all the research online – because sometimes, the best information is buried in the books. When you go into the library, have an idea of the topic, and where the information might be “hiding”, as this will guide you as you search the database. Get a few call numbers, and then go to the section that appears the most from your search. The best way to find relevant books is to just poke around the section, flip through the table of contents from the many books, and pick the ones that seem to be the most helpful. Remember, the computer database will not always show the books you need, so be sure to browse the shelf because finding the right books can make all the difference.
When it comes to researching, there are a few more tricks that I have learned. Some of the hardest essays can be those that require careful analysis of a primary source, and some of those sources are very hard to read. For example, a philosophy essay might require the writer to analyse a popular piece of work by an old philosopher, such as John Locke’s “An Essay on Human Understanding”. For the average student, this can be a difficult task because these century-old primary texts are complicated and hard to navigate. Therefore, when an essay says to use only “primary texts” it does not mean that you actually have to do that, it just means that you need to pretend that is what you did. There are many ways of doing this. Perhaps you can go the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (a great resource). That website will explain, in simple terms, exactly what Locke’s argument was in that piece of work, and when you understand what Locke said in his work, you can pretend that you actually read the whole piece. Of course you will list only the primary source on the bibliography, but you will know that you got all the information you needed from a website on the internet. Just be sure to put the information in your own words and you will be fine.
This is a strategy I like to call “faking it” because you are pretending you did more work than you actually did, but because you took advantage of the work done by experts, it will actually make you look better. This is a strategy that will help any essay writer write a quality piece on a topic they do not know well. As long as you do it carefully and properly (learn from the work and analysis others have done, but make it appear as though you came to those conclusions yourself). This is something that I often have to do with book or movie reviews. While I to like read or watch the book or movie in question, sometimes time does not allow for it–sometimes a student will need a book review of a 500 page book done in 12 hours, clearly I do not have time to read the book, but that does not mean I cannot do a quality review of it. Most books have already been reviewed by others, and therefore, you can read the reviews that others have done to get a sense of how that book can be analysed. I recommend trying to find as many reviews of a particular book or film as possible, read the best ones you can find, take notes about what is said in them, and there you go, you are ready to write a top-quality book or movie review. Just be sure not to copy the words of someone else directly – just take their ideas and put them in your own words, you will sound like an expert.
A final issue that I will touch on is number of sources. Sometimes an essay will require that 10+ sources be used, but unfortunately you have completed the essay using only 8. Do not worry though, because using the strategies that I have already mentioned, you can easily find a few more sources to top off your bibliography. My favourite strategy is to go to Google Books – find a section or your essay that could use a new reference, take some key words out of that paragraph, put them into Google Books, and voila, you have your ninth and tenth reference from a legitimate academic book, complete with page number and all the necessary bibliographic information.
The Body of the Essay
While this might seem like the most important part of the essay (and it is), if you follow the tips that I have already given you, this part will seem fairly straightforward because you are just putting into action what you have already learned. Once you have followed the previous steps, it is important to make a tentative outline of the essay. Do this by breaking down the different aspects of the essay that you need to touch on, and create a series of supporting paragraphs.
Generally stated, each supporting paragraph should give one main idea that works to support the thesis. The key here is to not try and put too much information in a single paragraph. You want to be sure to fully develop and fully support every new idea or point that you introduce. The simplest way to do this is to start every paragraph with a topic sentence, then use the middle of the paragraph to support that topic sentence, and then conclude the paragraph with a concluding sentence. Just like an essay, every paragraph within an essay should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
It is important to use transitions appropriately in the body of the essay which means effectively linking paragraphs through transitional phrases and words. These are little words that indicate to the reader how the different ideas used relate to each other – you want to show the reader that the different paragraphs connect to each other. In other words, you want to continually guide the reader, you need to assume that they do not know anything about the subject, and therefore they are relying on you to guide them from paragraph to paragraph.
That is all I will say about the body of the essay because if you follow the other tips that I have given you, this part will almost write itself. If you have good research to work with, the body will almost take care of itself.
Don’t Forget the Conclusion
You have made it this far, all you need to do now is finish it off. The conclusion is not meant to say anything that you have not already said, the point of it is just to sum up the contents of the essay, and restate the thesis – you want to reaffirm the argument that was made in the paper. Tell the reader one more time what you set out to prove, and then restate the thesis, but do it in slightly different words. It is useful to have a “closing strategy”. This can entail using a relevant quote, an important fact, or comments about the future direction of the topic. The purpose here is to leave the reader feeling good about what they just read – make it so they feel as though they have not wasted their time.
This is a tedious, yet necessary part of the process. There are many different referencing styles, the most popular being APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard. Check our website, CustomEssay.com for links to instructions on how to do these properly. While the styles vary, the contents of them are the same. You will generally need to know where the information you used came from, including page numbers. As you are writing your essay, or doing your preliminary notes, just be sure to note where you got the information from, and then the reference list/bibliography, as well as in-text citations/footnotes will be easy. Simply take that information, and use the links on our website to learn the “formula” for doing it right. Be careful to focus on the details, but otherwise do not stress about this part. As long as you remember where you got the information (mark it down as you go along), you will be fine.
See, essay writing is not that hard, and with each and every one you do, it will become easier. The point of this eBook has not been to make you a skilled essay writer immediately, it has been to give some insight on the process; insight that I have developed over a decade of writing essays. By using the tips given here, you will be in a good position to overcome the challenges that you will confront in your academic career. At CustomEssay.com there are many sample essays which have been posted for your convenience. Feel free to go through them to learn how these strategies have been employed. Also keep in mind that essay writing is not supposed to be easy, but stick with it, and you will get better and better at it. When you get your Master’s Degree, give Custom Essay a call, there may be an essay writing job with your name on it.