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Essay and dissertation writing skills

Planning your essay

Writing your introduction

Structuring your essay

  • Writing essays in science subjects
  • Brief video guides to support essay planning and writing
  • Writing extended essays and dissertations
  • Planning your dissertation writing time

Structuring your dissertation

  • Top tips for writing longer pieces of work

Advice on planning and writing essays and dissertations

University essays differ from school essays in that they are less concerned with what you know and more concerned with how you construct an argument to answer the question. This means that the starting point for writing a strong essay is to first unpick the question and to then use this to plan your essay before you start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).

A really good starting point for you are these short, downloadable Tips for Successful Essay Writing and Answering the Question resources. Both resources will help you to plan your essay, as well as giving you guidance on how to distinguish between different sorts of essay questions. 

You may find it helpful to watch this seven-minute video on six tips for essay writing which outlines how to interpret essay questions, as well as giving advice on planning and structuring your writing:

Different disciplines will have different expectations for essay structure and you should always refer to your Faculty or Department student handbook or course Canvas site for more specific guidance.

However, broadly speaking, all essays share the following features:

Essays need an introduction to establish and focus the parameters of the discussion that will follow. You may find it helpful to divide the introduction into areas to demonstrate your breadth and engagement with the essay question. You might define specific terms in the introduction to show your engagement with the essay question; for example, ‘This is a large topic which has been variously discussed by many scientists and commentators. The principle tension is between the views of X and Y who define the main issues as…’ Breadth might be demonstrated by showing the range of viewpoints from which the essay question could be considered; for example, ‘A variety of factors including economic, social and political, influence A and B. This essay will focus on the social and economic aspects, with particular emphasis on…..’

Watch this two-minute video to learn more about how to plan and structure an introduction:

The main body of the essay should elaborate on the issues raised in the introduction and develop an argument(s) that answers the question. It should consist of a number of self-contained paragraphs each of which makes a specific point and provides some form of evidence to support the argument being made. Remember that a clear argument requires that each paragraph explicitly relates back to the essay question or the developing argument.

  • Conclusion: An essay should end with a conclusion that reiterates the argument in light of the evidence you have provided; you shouldn’t use the conclusion to introduce new information.
  • References: You need to include references to the materials you’ve used to write your essay. These might be in the form of footnotes, in-text citations, or a bibliography at the end. Different systems exist for citing references and different disciplines will use various approaches to citation. Ask your tutor which method(s) you should be using for your essay and also consult your Department or Faculty webpages for specific guidance in your discipline. 

Essay writing in science subjects

If you are writing an essay for a science subject you may need to consider additional areas, such as how to present data or diagrams. This five-minute video gives you some advice on how to approach your reading list, planning which information to include in your answer and how to write for your scientific audience – the video is available here:

A PDF providing further guidance on writing science essays for tutorials is available to download.

Short videos to support your essay writing skills

There are many other resources at Oxford that can help support your essay writing skills and if you are short on time, the Oxford Study Skills Centre has produced a number of short (2-minute) videos covering different aspects of essay writing, including:

  • Approaching different types of essay questions  
  • Structuring your essay  
  • Writing an introduction  
  • Making use of evidence in your essay writing  
  • Writing your conclusion

Extended essays and dissertations

Longer pieces of writing like extended essays and dissertations may seem like quite a challenge from your regular essay writing. The important point is to start with a plan and to focus on what the question is asking. A PDF providing further guidance on planning Humanities and Social Science dissertations is available to download.

Planning your time effectively

Try not to leave the writing until close to your deadline, instead start as soon as you have some ideas to put down onto paper. Your early drafts may never end up in the final work, but the work of committing your ideas to paper helps to formulate not only your ideas, but the method of structuring your writing to read well and conclude firmly.

Although many students and tutors will say that the introduction is often written last, it is a good idea to begin to think about what will go into it early on. For example, the first draft of your introduction should set out your argument, the information you have, and your methods, and it should give a structure to the chapters and sections you will write. Your introduction will probably change as time goes on but it will stand as a guide to your entire extended essay or dissertation and it will help you to keep focused.

The structure of  extended essays or dissertations will vary depending on the question and discipline, but may include some or all of the following:

  • The background information to - and context for - your research. This often takes the form of a literature review.
  • Explanation of the focus of your work.
  • Explanation of the value of this work to scholarship on the topic.
  • List of the aims and objectives of the work and also the issues which will not be covered because they are outside its scope.

The main body of your extended essay or dissertation will probably include your methodology, the results of research, and your argument(s) based on your findings.

The conclusion is to summarise the value your research has added to the topic, and any further lines of research you would undertake given more time or resources. 

Tips on writing longer pieces of work

Approaching each chapter of a dissertation as a shorter essay can make the task of writing a dissertation seem less overwhelming. Each chapter will have an introduction, a main body where the argument is developed and substantiated with evidence, and a conclusion to tie things together. Unlike in a regular essay, chapter conclusions may also introduce the chapter that will follow, indicating how the chapters are connected to one another and how the argument will develop through your dissertation.

For further guidance, watch this two-minute video on writing longer pieces of work . 

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Effective Study Skills, Essay Example

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Students must know themselves and adapt effective study skills to be effective learners. The attitude and approach towards learning determines the success of a student. Most of the successful students have learned how to prioritize stuff while working smarter, and not harder. Study skills helps one understand more about how learning tailor to an individual’s thinking styles (Lengefeld 69). Effective studying skills revolve around the knowledge of one’s learning style, time management, and self-organization among many other factors that this paper discusses.

Learning styles are the different approaches to retaining knowledge. It would be best to find one’s learning style whether visual, kinesthetic, or auditory. To process information learners must rely on their senses and it is essential to learn the style that applies to every individual. If, for example, a person learns by listening, he /she should not adopt a visual learning style. It would be more effective for him /her to use techniques that focus on auditory styles. Such students should attend lectures, take notes and consult peers to ascertain that they have the correct details. They should involve them selves in discussion groups, dialogues and debates to achieve their goal of obtaining knowledge.  A kinesthetic learner retains information best through experience (Lengefeld 15). In the kinesthetic tactile, students learn by being involved in physical activities like movements and demonstrations.  A kinesthetic learner could gain nothing or rather remarkably little  knowledge in learning activities that involve  purely involve  listening and viewing, as they would lose interest unusually fast. Such learners should involve themselves in drama, games, and learn to memorize their studies using body language and gestures. A visual learner is one who learns through observation. They are proficient in recalling what they saw especially in diagrams, charts, graphs, and videos. They use written notes to learn and draw instructions. Such students advised to use handouts for studying, and make sure they watch subject related films gain knowledge. They should try as much as possible to make diagrams from notes to gain a better understanding. The other learning styles include tactile learning where learners learn best by touching and manipulating objects. Such students perform well in practical studies. There are the active learners who gain knowledge through discussion groups, and the reflective learners who learn by thinking.

The other trick behind learning is time management. Time is as precious as the money spent on education (Martens MJC et al. 189). For best results in managing time, one ought to develop a schedule.  A schedule assigns time for every activity of the day. It allocates class time, lab time, social work time, study time, recreation time, and some free time for any emergencies, that may arise. Study time planned strategically to be at a time when one is rested, relaxed, and alert. Weekly schedule works well with minimum time wastage.

Self-organization marks a particularly crucial strategy to developing effective study skills. Self-organization is all about being able to manage all the workload entailed in every subject. The questions behind self-organization in learning include:

1)        When should one study lecture courses?

2)        How and when, should one-study recitation courses?

3)        How should one plan a schedule?

4)        How should one use time?

5)        Where and when should one study?

6)        When should one start revising for exams?

With these above questions in mind, one can organize him/herself perfectly. A study schedule will allocate the daily activities and the lecture notes read after or before lectures. If before lectures, one should read all assignments and make notes of what not understood. It is wise to review lecture notes after lectures when the information is still fresh. Recitation courses as learning of foreign languages studied before the lecture. A schedule planned in a manner that can accommodate revision (Martens MJC et al. 190). One ought to start revision right from the begging of the semester and studies should take place in the library, or in a cool, comfortable environment.

In conclusion, effective study skills differ from one person to another depending on the learning style and the IQ level. The grasping ability differs in different people. While some people may take a short while to learn and grasp something, others will take ages. Therefore, to make a successful student, one should understand his/herself to adapt effective learning skills (Lengefeld 56).

Martens MJC, Duvivier RJ, van Dalen J, Verwijnen GM, Scherpbier AJJ, van der Vleuten CPM,. “Student views on the effective teaching of physical examination skills: a qualitative study”. Medical Education. 2009: 184-91.

Lengefeld, Uelaine A., Study Skills Strategies: Get the Most from Every Minute of Learning . Axzo Press. 2009.

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Cardiff University offer a wide range of online tutorials and other study-skills support aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate taught students. These include tips on how to study more effectively, time management, what is meant by critical thinking, as well as specific guidance on writing to a university standard.

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Home Essay Examples Education Study Skills

Study Skills For Higher Education

  • Category Education
  • Subcategory Learning
  • Topic Study Skills

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This essay going to explain how students adopt learning styles and how study plan can have a good impact in reaching academic goals and professional success. Learning styles can be defined as a way in which a person uses to facilitate the process of learning.

Approaches to learning

Active leaner: Active leaning strategies get students mind involved in learning process and increase the potential to absorb, understand and retain the information. They prefer to make observations, to express themselves, to develop ideas of classroom subject. (Al-Rawani and Al-Balushi,2015). According to Powell et al(2012)by sharing ideas and suggest solutions during the learning process, students can improve their communication skills, critical thinking and make an effective learning environment, through can achieve academic goals and performance.

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Reflective learner: It is a way that gather around all knowledge acquired by researching which has a significant role to understand situation and also being based on personal experiences. Students who use this strategy prefer to associate the situation of what is learned with the situation in which he learned. (Colomer et al,2013)Reflection gives the learner new expectations, agreements into the concept of information.(Hedberg,2009)

Theoretical learner: The theoretical method can be defined as an active process in which learners build new ideas or concepts based on their own knowledge, from the past and new ones acquired in the classroom. It helps to improve team work and collaborations skills. Students ways to participate in the learning process are motivations, potential and attitude which can influence the success during the years of studies. Theorist learner wants to understand the concepts and theories and need to be convinced by source which is providing the information through arguments, also they like to probe ideas and concepts. (Cimermanova,2018)

Pragmatic learner: Associate the acquired information and include the context in his one investigation, trying to put their learning into practice(Taguchi,2014). For pragmatists the problems do not come clear, they prefer to have their one interpretations and solutions. They initiate actions, analyse the situations in many different ways and change the end through continuous inquiry, reflection, deliberation and experimentation. A pragmatic learner prefer to present and manage a situation by saying load what they want to say, with the level of formality politeness and directness required in the situation (Ferrare et all,2015) .

Learning strategies

Visual: Visual learner retains better the information when they see it in different forms presented as: image, videos, graphics, diagrams, slide shows, highlighted context, games and movies. This method helps students to manage and understand the situations by associating ideas and notions with images and to achieve academic success. It has an essential contribution to develop visual thinking(Raiyn,2016).

Auditory: They learn best by listening lectures and discussions in the classroom saying the information load, moving lips and use their auditory senses in learning. They prefer to share their ideas with others, to explain and discus topics with their colleges and teachers (Leasa et al,2017).

Study plan which includes short and long term goals that can help students to attain both academic and professional success:

To reach academic goals, students have to be focused on their motivation, thinking, strategies, engagement, behaviour and interests which help to interpose the connection between the person, context and long last achievement. Self-perception of competence is the main point for students to succeed and to achieve academic goals. Students who adopt a positive self-determination are able to work harder, persist, taking challenges to choose more difficult courses and can reach achievement performance at high levels (Komarraju et al, 2009).

According to Muller and Turner (2010), for attaining an effective professional success, each student has to follow the right tools, techniques and strategies which give the opportunities for self-evaluation, to be creative and to adopt a strategic perspective. With increasing the requirements, competencies in critical thinking, resources, visions and being engaged to develop yourself will guarantee the career success.

Short-term goals in academic success:

First month: class attendance, taking notes, highlighting the key points, planning short-term goals to be achieved.

Second month: being focused on lecturers, adopting strategies for an effective learning, doing assignment researches, write assignment.

Third month: submit an assignment, grades, academic attainment, skills development.

Fourth month: focused on individual progress development, being involved in group activities, behavioural engagement.

Long term-goals in academic success:

First year: setting up academic goals to be achieved, building relationship with teachers, self-regulated learning, evaluating the learning during process.

Second year: self-confidence, self-efficacy, allocating time for personal studies researches, self-management.

Third year: memory skills improvement, continuous motivation and persistence, participation in extra academic activities, making important contribution for a better future.

Fourth year: get a manager position at workplace while studying, applying the academic skills reached during the years of studies outside the classroom, even at work, reaching graduation requirements, graduate.

Short term-goals in professional success:

First month: setting career plan, applying the knowledges acquired in the years of studies, taking challenges, being competitive.

Second month: taking responsibilities, being confident in making decisions, professional approach and attitude, being effective.

Third month: being flexible and adaptable, integrity, decision making based on logical and factual information, job satisfaction.

Fourth month: job performance and involvement, finding quick solutions for unexpected problems, gaining trust and respect from others, attaining positive feedback.

Long-term goals in professional success:

First year: design a goal plan for the next 5 years, fix targets, career commitement, being supportive.

Second year: strategic initiative, subjective career success improvement, self-esteem, develop a point of view and give evidences

Third year: attention to details, long term persistence, applying positive psychology, sharing information.

Fourth year: being a good coordinator, obtaining higher position, increase earnings, becoming an expert in your field.

This essay has attempted to describe the importance and benefits of learning strategies which every student can adopt to increase academic and professional performances. Learning strategies help students to be organized in personal growth, rise their intellectual potential……(to be continued )

  • Al-Rawani, N. and Al-Balushi, S. (2015). The Effect of Reflective Science Journal Writing on Students Self-Regulated Learning Strategies. International Journal of Environmental&Science Education, 10 (3): 367-368.
  • An, D. and Carr, M. (2017). Learning Styles Theory Fails to Explain Learning and Achievement: Recommendation for Alternative Approaches. Personality and Individual Differences, 116: 410-412.
  • Asrining Tyas, P. and Safitri, M. (2017). Kinaesthetic Learning Style Preference: A Survey of Indonesian EFL Learners by Gender. Journal of English Educators Society, 2 (1): 53-56.
  • Cimermanova, I. (2018). The Effect of Learning Styles on Academic Achievement in Different Forms of Teaching. International Journal of Instruction, 11(3): 219-222.
  • Colomer, J., Pallisera, M., Fullana, J., Burriel, M. and Fernandez, R. (2013). Reflective Learning in Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis. Procedia-Social and Behavioural Sciences, 93: 364-365.
  • Ferraro, F., Etzion, D. and Gehman, J. (2015). Tackling Grand Challenges Pragmatically: Robust Action Revisited. Organization Studies, 36 (3):369-370.
  • Hedberg, P. (2009). Learning Through Reflective Classroom Practice: Applications to Educate the Reflective Manager. Journal of Management Education, 33 (1) : 15-28.
  • Komarraju, M., Karau, S. and Schmeck, R. (2009).Role of the Big Five Personality Traits in Predicting College Students’ Academic Motivation and Achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, 19 : 47-49.
  • Leasa, M., Corebima, A. and Suwono, H. (2017). Emotional Intelligence Among Auditory, Reading and Kinaesthetic Learning Styles of Elementary School Students in Ambon-Indonesia. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 10(1):83-85.
  • Muller, R. And Turner, R. (2010). Leadership Competency Profiles of Successful Project Managers. International Journal of Project Management, 28 : 437-448.
  • Powell, N., Cleveland, R., Thompson, S. and Forde, T. (2012). Using Multi-Instructional Teaching and Technology –Supported Active Learning Strategies to Enhance Student Engagement. Journal of Technology Integration in the Classroom, 4 (2): 42-47.
  • Raiyn, J. (2016). The Role of Visual Learning in Improving Students’ High-Order Thinking Skills. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(24): 115-116.
  • Taguchi, N. (2014). Contextually Speaking: A Survey of Pragmatic Learning Abroad, In Class and Online System XXX:13.

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How to Improve Your Study Skills

Last Updated: December 5, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Sean Alexander, MS . Sean Alexander is an Academic Tutor specializing in teaching mathematics and physics. Sean is the Owner of Alexander Tutoring, an academic tutoring business that provides personalized studying sessions focused on mathematics and physics. With over 15 years of experience, Sean has worked as a physics and math instructor and tutor for Stanford University, San Francisco State University, and Stanbridge Academy. He holds a BS in Physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MS in Theoretical Physics from San Francisco State University. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 897,885 times.

Studying is a skill you can improve, just like any other. Set yourself up for success by taking notes, keeping a study schedule, and practicing growth mindset thinking. When you start studying, limit your distractions, avoid multitasking, and take breaks to keep focused. Experiment with different strategies of preparing for tests, like using mnemonics, and joining a study group, until you find a few that work great for you.

Things You Should Know

  • Create a study daily schedule to get organized. Prioritize the most important tasks and focus on one subject at a time instead of multi-tasking.
  • Pay attention in class and take good notes so you can review them later. If you have any questions, bring them up to your teacher.
  • Take a 10-minute break at least once an hour to avoid overloading yourself. Taking regular breaks will help you retain more information in the long-term.

Improving Your Focus

Step 1 Take steps to avoid distractions.

  • If you like studying with music, make sure it is chill music, without words, that won't have you singing along and getting distracted.
  • You can ask one of your family members to help you keep all the distractions away from you, such as mobile phones and laptops.

Step 2 Study one subject at a time instead of multitasking.

  • Studies have shown that multitasking isn't only ineffective; it's also stressful. You can get much more enjoyment out of a task if you focus on it and do a good job, and then move on to the next thing.

Step 3 Stay organized with a study schedule.

  • It's also very satisfying to be able to check off each item as you complete it. You feel accomplished!

Step 4 Take notes and ask yourself questions as you read.

  • Some textbooks will also mark the most important information in bold, or have review sections going over key points. [6] X Research source

Step 5 Take an active break at least every hour.

  • Your brain and body need a little activity and fun so that you're able to focus again.

Step 6 Practice a growth mindset.

  • Studies have shown that students who practice a growth mindset learn better than students with fixed mindsets, who tell themselves that every setback is a bad thing, instead of an opportunity to grow.
  • Don't worry if you have a more negative mindset now. You can develop a growth mindset with lots of positive self-talk.

Step 7 Make sure you get enough sleep every night.

  • Aim to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night, or more if that's what you need.

Memorizing Information Strategically

Step 1 Figure out your learning style so you can study more strategically.

  • For example, a tactile learner would best learn how a clock works by taking one apart and putting it back together.
  • A visual learner would look at a diagram of how the clock worked.
  • A reading/writing learner would read an essay about the clock's function and take notes.
  • An auditory learner would listen to a lecture about it.
  • If you're not sure what you're learning style is, you can take an online quiz about it here:

Step 2 Use acronyms and flashcards to help you remember things.

  • Try building a visual memory of things you need to remember if you're a visual learner. For example, if you have to recite a long poem for your English class, try to picture each line or verse as a specific image.

Step 3 Take detailed notes in class in the weeks leading up to the exam.

  • Taking notes in class also forces you to pay attention.
  • Don't feel the need to write down every word your teacher says.

Step 4 Practice test-taking strategies.

  • If you're going to have to write an essay on your test, don't just memorize information that you might have to include. Actually practice writing an essay in a short amount of time, so that when the day comes, you won't feel nervous, because you've done it before.

Step 5 Start studying for exams at least a week in advance.

  • Cramming the night before a test isn't just stressful and exhausting, it's also not very effective.

Step 6 Join or form a study group.

  • If your study group is having trouble focusing, try setting a timer for 45 minutes. Say: “Let's study until the timer rings, and then we'll have a snack break,” or something like that. Having a short, set amount of time to focus is more manageable.

Step 7 Try teaching the concept to somebody else.

  • Depending on the concept, you can also try teaching it to a younger sibling or somebody else who has less knowledge than you. Trying to explain a tricky concept in simple language can clarify your understanding. Also, explain your study concept to someone. This will help you understand the concept better because you're talking out loud. If you can't talk to someone, talk to your pet, your TV, your pillow, your imaginary friend, etc. The point of this isn't to teach someone the concept, it is to read it out loud, but it might feel weird talking to yourself, which is why talking to someone or something can help.

Step 8 Ask for help if you're having a hard time studying.

  • Try your best on a problem before you ask for help from your teacher. Then phrase your question like this, “I tried this, but I couldn't figure it out. Could you help?” or “I understand this part, but I'm confused about that part. What does it mean?” This will make it clear that you're not asking your teacher to do your work for you, you are just looking for clarification.

Supercharge Your Studying with this Expert Series

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Expert Q&A

Sean Alexander, MS

  • Don't lie down when you study. You may find yourself dozing off and not getting any work done. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 1
  • Switch off your cellphone before preparing for studying. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
  • Remember to close your door so that you don't get distracted by noise anywhere else in the area. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0

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To improve your study skills, always start by studying the hardest subject first since you'll be more alert and focused when you first start studying. Also, remember to take a break from studying every once in a while to go for a walk or listen to some music, which will prevent you from feeling stressed and overwhelmed. It's also helpful to quiz yourself as you're studying so you know which things you don't understand and should spend more time on. To learn how to create an ideal study space, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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12 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Academic Essay Writing Skills


Written by  Scribendi

Anyone can learn to produce an academic essay if they begin with a few basic essay-writing rules. 

An academic essay must be based upon a solid but debatable thesis, supported by relevant and credible evidence, and closed with a succinct and thorough conclusion.

By adhering to the best way to write an essay, you can create valuable, persuasive papers even when you're under a time crunch!

What Makes a Good Essay?

As previously noted, the foundation of any good academic essay is its thesis statement. 

Do not confuse your thesis with your opening sentence. There are many good ways to start an essay , but few essays immediately present their main ideas.

After you draft your thesis, you can begin to develop your essay around it. This development will include the main supporting points of your essay, which will scaffold its main body. 

Essays also typically include a relevant and compelling introduction and conclusion.

Learn How to Write a Great Thesis Statement .

Good Ways to Start an Essay

Understanding How to Write a Good Essay

When writing an academic essay, you must take a number of qualities and characteristics into careful consideration. Focus, development, unity, coherence, and correctness all play critical roles when it comes to distinguishing an exceptional essay from one that is less than perfect.

The following essay-writing tips can help writers organize, format, and support their essays in ways that fit their intended purpose and optimize their overall persuasiveness. Here are 12 essay tips for developing and writing your next academic paper.

1. Know What You Are Going to Write About Before You Start Writing

While untrained writers might just sit down and start typing, educated and experienced writers know that there are many steps to writing an essay.

In short, you should know what you want to say before you type a single word. The easiest way to narrow down a thesis and create a proper argument is to make a basic outline before you begin composing your essay.

Your outline should consist of rough notes that sketch out your introduction (including your thesis), the body of your essay (which should include separate paragraphs that present your main supporting points with plenty of evidence and examples), and your conclusion (which ties everything together and connects the argument back to your thesis).

2. Acquire a Solid Understanding of Basic Grammar, Punctuation, and Style

Before getting into more refined essay-writing techniques, you must have a solid grasp of grammar, punctuation, and style. Without these writing fundamentals, it will be difficult to communicate your ideas effectively and ensure that they are taken seriously.

Grammar basics include subject and verb agreement, correct article and pronoun use, and well-formed sentence structures. Make sure you know the proper uses for the most common forms of punctuation. Be mindful of your comma usage and know when a period is needed.

Finally, voice is tremendously important in academic essay writing. Employ language that is as concise as possible. Avoid transition words that don't add anything to the sentence and unnecessary wordiness that detracts from your argument.

Furthermore, use the active voice instead of the passive whenever possible (e.g., "this study found" instead of "it was found by this study"). This will make your essay's tone clear and direct.

3. Use the Right Vocabulary and Know What the Words You Are Using Actually Mean

How you use language is important, especially in academic essay writing. When writing an academic essay, remember that you are persuading others that you are an expert who argues intelligently about your topic.

Using big words just to sound smart often results in the opposite effect—it is easy to detect when someone is overcompensating in their writing.

If you aren't sure of the exact meaning of a word, you risk using it incorrectly. There's no shame in checking, and it might save you from an embarrassing word misuse later!

Using obscure language can also detract from the clarity of your argument—you should consider this before pulling out a thesaurus to change a perfectly appropriate word to something completely different.

4. Understand the Argument and Critically Analyze the Evidence

While writing a good essay, your main argument should always be at the front of your mind. While it's tempting to go off on a tangent about an interesting side note, doing so makes your writing less concise.

Always question the evidence you include in your essay; ask yourself, "Does this directly support my thesis?" If the answer is "no," then that evidence should probably be excluded. 

When you are evaluating evidence, be critical and thorough. You want to use the strongest research to back up your thesis. It is not enough to simply present evidence in support of an argument. A good writer must also explain why the evidence is relevant and supportive.

Everything you include should clearly connect to your topic and argument.   

Research Databases

5. Know How to Write a Conclusion That Supports Your Research

One of the most overlooked steps to writing an essay is the conclusion. Your conclusion ties all your research together and proves your thesis. It should not be a restatement of your introduction or a copy-and-paste of your thesis.

A strong conclusion briefly outlines the key evidence discussed in the body of an essay and directly ties it to the thesis to show how the evidence proves or disproves the main argument of your research.

Countless great essays have been written only to be derailed by vague, weakly worded conclusions. Don't let your next essay become one of those.     

6. Build a Solid Thesis to Support Your Arguments

A thesis is the main pillar of an essay. By selecting a specific thesis, you'll be able to develop arguments to support your central opinion. Consider writing about a unique experience or your own particular view of a topic .

Your thesis should be clear and logical, but it should also be debatable. Otherwise, it might be difficult to support it with compelling arguments.

7. Develop an Interesting Opening Paragraph to Hook In Readers from the Get-Go

No matter how you begin your essay, you must strive to capture the reader's interest immediately. If your opening paragraph doesn't catch the eye and engage the brain, any attempt at persuasion may end before the essay even starts. 

The beginning of your essay is crucial for setting the stage for your thesis.

8. Always Remember to Edit and Proofread Your Essay

Any decent writer will tell you that writing is really rewriting. A good academic essay will inevitably go through multiple drafts as it slowly takes shape. When you arrive at a final draft, you must make sure that it is as close to perfect as possible.

This means subjecting your essay to close and comprehensive editing and proofreading processes. In other words, you must read your paper as many times as necessary to eliminate all grammar/punctuation mistakes and typos.

It is helpful to have a third party review your work. Consider consulting a peer or professional editing service. Keep in mind that professional editors are able to help you identify underdeveloped arguments and unnecessarily wordy language, and provide other feedback.

Get Critical Feedback on Your Writing

Hire an expert academic editor , or get a free sample, 9. when developing your essay's main body, build strong and relevant arguments.

Every sentence in the main body of your paper should explain and support your thesis. When deciding how much evidence to include in an academic essay, a good guideline is to include at least three main supporting arguments.

Those main supporting arguments, in turn, require support in the form of relevant facts, figures, examples, analogies, and observations. 

You will need to engage in appropriate research to accomplish this. To organize your research efforts, you may want to develop a list of good research questions . 

10. Choose the Format of Your Essay before Writing It

The final shape that your essay takes depends a great deal on what kind of format you use. Popular college essay format types include the Modern Language Association of America ( MLA ), American Psychological Association ( APA ), and Chicago Manual of Style ( Chicago style).

These formats govern everything from capitalization rules to source citation. Often, professors dictate a specific format for your essay. If they do not, you should choose the format that best suits your field.

11. Create Clear Transitions between Your Ideas

Although unnecessary transition words are the enemy of clarity and concision, they can be invaluable tools when it comes to separating and connecting the different sections of your essay. 

Not only do they help you express your ideas but they also bring a cohesive structure to your sentences and a pleasant flow to your writing. Just be sure that you are using the right transition words for the right purpose and to the proper effect.

12. Always Include an Organized Reference Page at the End of Your Essay

As a key component of MLA, APA, and Chicago Style formatting, the reference or Works Cited page is an essential part of any academic essay.

Regardless of the format used, the reference page must be well organized and easy to read so that your audience can see exactly where your outside information came from. 

To produce a properly formatted reference page, you may have to familiarize yourself with specialized phrases and abbreviations, such as " et al ." 


How to Write a Good Hook for an Essay

The key to a good hook is to introduce an unexplored or absorbing line of inquiry in your introduction that addresses the main point of your thesis. 

By carefully choosing your language and slowly revealing details, you can build reader anticipation for what follows. 

Much like an actual worm-baited fishing hook, a successful hook will lure and capture readers, allowing the writer to "reel them in."

How to Get Better at Writing Essays

You can get better at writing essays the same way that you improve at anything else: practice, practice, practice! However, there are a few ways that you can improve your writing quickly so you can turn in a quality academic essay on time.

In addition to following the 12 essay tips and guidelines above, you can familiarize yourself with a few common practices and structures for essay development. 

Great writing techniques for essays include brainstorming and tree diagrams, especially when coming up with a topic for your thesis statement. Becoming familiar with different structures for organizing your essay (order of importance, chronological, etc.) is also extremely helpful.

How to Write a Good Introduction for an Essay

To learn how to write a good essay, you must also learn how to write a good introduction. 

Most effective essay introductions begin with relatively broad and general subject matter and then gradually narrow in focus and scope until they arrive at something extremely specific: the thesis. This is why writers tend to place their thesis statements at the very end of their introductory paragraph(s).

Because they are generally broad and often relate only tangentially to an essay's main point, there is virtually no limit on what the beginning of a good introduction can look like. However, writers still tend to rely on somewhat cliché opening sentences, such as quotations and rhetorical questions.

How to Write a Good Conclusion for an Essay

Briefly put, a good conclusion does two things. It wraps up any loose ends and drives home the main point of your essay. 

To learn how to write a good conclusion, you will want to ensure that no unanswered questions remain in the reader's mind. A good conclusion will restate the thesis and reinforce the essay's main supporting points.

Take Your Essay from Good to Great

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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples

An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.

There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.

The essay writing process consists of three main stages:

  • Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
  • Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
  • Revision:  Check your essay on the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.

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Table of contents

Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.

The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .

For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.

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essay for study skills

Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
  • Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
  • Do your research: Read  primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
  • Come up with a thesis:  The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
  • Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.

The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.

1. Hook your reader

The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.

Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

2. Provide background on your topic

Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.

3. Present the thesis statement

Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:

As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.

4. Map the structure

In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.

The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

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The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.

Length of the body text

The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.

Paragraph structure

To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.

That idea is introduced in a  topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.

After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.

Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.

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The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :

  • Returns to your thesis
  • Ties together your main points
  • Shows why your argument matters

A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.

What not to include in a conclusion

To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:

  • Including new arguments or evidence
  • Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
  • Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”

Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

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Checklist: Essay

My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).

My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.

My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.

I use paragraphs to structure the essay.

I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.

Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.

I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.

My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.

I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.

I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.

I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.

My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .

My essay has an interesting and informative title.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).

Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence.

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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.

In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.

Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

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This page continues from our page: Planning an Essay , the essential first step to successful essay writing.

This page assumes that you have already planned your essay, you have taken time to understand the essay question, gathered information that you intend to use, and have produced a skeleton plan of you essay – taking into account your word limit.

This page is concerned with the actual writing of your essay, it provides some guidelines for good practice as well as some common mistakes you'll want to avoid.

Structuring Your Essay

An essay should be written in a flowing manner with each sentence following on logically from the previous one and with appropriate signposts to guide the reader.

An essay usually takes the following structured format:

  • The introduction
  • The main body: a development of the issues
  • A conclusion
  • A list of references of the sources of information you have used

The Introduction

The function of the introduction is simply to introduce the subject, to explain how you understand the question, and describe briefly how you intend to deal with it.

You could begin by defining essential terms, providing a brief historical or personal context if appropriate, and/or by explaining why you think the subject is significant or interesting.

Some people are far too ambitious in writing their introductions. Writing a lengthy introduction limits the number of words available for the main body of the assignment.

Keep the introduction short, preferably to one or two paragraphs and keep it, succinct, to the point.

Some students find it best to write a provisional introduction, when starting to write an essay, and then to rewrite this when they have finished the first draft of their essay. To write a provisional introduction, ask yourself what the reader needs to know in order to follow your subsequent discussion.

Other students write the introduction after they have written the main body of the essay – do whatever feels right for you and the piece of work you are writing.

The Main Body: A Development of the Issues

Essays are generally a blend of researched evidence (e.g. from additional reading) and comment.

Some students' essays amount to catalogues of factual material or summaries of other people's thoughts, attitudes, philosophies or viewpoints.

At the opposite extreme, other students express only personal opinions with little or no researched evidence or examples taken from other writers to support their views.  What is needed is a balance.

The balance between other researchers’ and writers’ analysis of the subject and your own comment will vary with the subject and the nature of the question.   Generally, it is important to back up the points you wish to make from your experience with the findings of other published researchers and writers.

You will have likely been given a reading list or some core text books to read. Use these as your research base but try to expand on what is said and read around the subject as fully as you can. Always keep a note of your sources as you go along.

You will be encouraged and expected to cite other authors or to quote or paraphrase from books that you have read. The most important requirement is that the material you cite or use should illustrate, or provide evidence of, the point you are making. How much evidence you use depends on the type of essay you are writing.

If you want a weight of evidence on some factual point, bring in two or three examples but no more.

Quotations should not be used as a substitute for your own words. A quote should always have an explanation in your own words to show its significance to your argument.

When you are citing another author's text you should always indicate exactly where the evidence comes from with a reference, i.e. give the author's name, date of publication and the page number in your work.  A full reference should also be provided in the reference list at the end.

See our page: Academic Referencing for more information.

A Conclusion

At the end of an essay you should include a short conclusion, the purpose of which is to sum up or draw a conclusion from your argument or comparison of viewpoints.

In other words, indicate what has been learned or accomplished. The conclusion is also a good place to mention questions that are left open or further issues which you recognise, but which do not come within the scope of your essay.

Neither the conclusion, nor the introduction, should totally summarise your whole argument: if you try this, you are in danger of writing another assignment that simply repeats the whole case over again.

You must include a reference list or bibliography at the end of your work.

One common downfall is to not reference adequately and be accused of plagiarism. If you have directly quoted any other author's text you should always indicate exactly where the evidence comes from in a reference. If you have read other documents in order to contrast your argument then these should also be referenced.

See our page: Academic Referencing for a more comprehensive look at the importance of referencing and how to reference properly.

Signposting or Guiding your Reader

When writing an essay it is good practice to consider your reader.

To guide the reader through your work you will need to inform them where you are starting from (in the introduction), where you are going (as the essay progresses), and where you have been (in the conclusion).

It is helpful to keep the reader informed as to the development of the argument. You can do this by using simple statements or questions that serve to introduce, summarise or link the different aspects of your subject.

Here are a few examples:

There are two reasons for this:  first,... second,...

Moreover, it should not be forgotten that...

With regard to the question of...

Another important factor to be considered is...

How can these facts be interpreted? The first point...

There are several views on this question. The first is...

Finally, it is important to consider...

Constructing Paragraphs

One important way of guiding the reader through your essay is by using paragraphs.

Paragraphs show when you have come to the end of one main point and the beginning of the next.  A paragraph is a group of sentences related to aspects of the same point.  Within each individual paragraph an idea is introduced and developed through the subsequent sentences within that paragraph.

Everyone finds it easier to read a text that is broken into short paragraphs.

Without paragraphs, and the spaces between them, the page will appear like an indigestible mass of words.

You should construct your essay as a sequence of distinct points set out in a rational order.

Each sentence and paragraph should follow logically from the one before and it is important that you do not force your reader to make the connections. Always make these connections clear signposting where the argument or discussion is going next.

Although the points you are making may seem obvious to you, can they be more clearly and simply stated?

It is also worth bearing in mind that the marker of your work may have a lot of other, similar pieces of work to mark and assess. Try to make yours easy to read and follow – make it stand out, for the right reasons!

Essay Style

There are two general misconceptions about essay style:

  • One is that a good essay should be written in a formal, impersonal way with a good scattering of long words and long, complicated sentences.
  • The other misconception is to write as we talk. Such a style is fine for personal letters or notes, but not in an essay. You can be personal, but a certain degree of formality and objectivity is expected in an academic essay.

The important requirement of style is clarity and precision of expression.

Where appropriate use simple and logical language and write in full or complete sentences.  You should avoid jargon, especially jargon that is not directly connected to your subject area. You can be personal by offering your own viewpoint on an issue, or by using that view to interpret other authors' work and conclusions.

Drafts and Rewriting

Most essays can be improved by a thorough edit.

You can cross out one word and substitute another, change the shape or emphasis of a sentence, remove inconsistencies of thought or terminology, remove repetitions and ensure there is adequate referencing.

In short, you are your first reader, edit and criticise your own work to make it better. Sometimes it is useful to read your essay out loud.

Another useful exercise is to ask someone else to read the essay through. A person proofreading the essay for the first time will have a different perspective from your own and will therefore be better placed to point out any incoherence, lack of structure, grammatical errors, etc.

Ideally find somebody to proofread who has a good grasp of spelling and grammar and at least a casual interest in your subject area.

One or two edits should be sufficient. It is best not to become involved in an unproductive multiplicity of drafts. The remedy is to analyse the question again and write another, simple, plan based on how to organise the material you are not happy with in the draft of your essay. Rewrite the essay according to that revised plan and resist the tendency to panic in the middle, tear it up and start all over again. It is important to get to the end and then revise again. Otherwise you will have a perfect opening couple of paragraphs and potentially the rest of the essay in disarray.

You will learn and improve much more through criticising and correcting your work than by simply starting again.

Don't Panic!

A few students can get so anxious about an assignment that they find themselves unable to write anything at all.

There are several reasons why this can happen. The primary reason is usually that such students set themselves too high a standard and then panic because they cannot attain it. This may also be due to factors such as the fear of the expectations of others or placing too high an expectation on themselves.

Whatever the reason, if you cannot write an assignment, you have to find a way out of your panic.  If you find yourself in this position, do not allow the situation to drift; try to act swiftly.  Discussing your worries with your tutor and/or peers, or simply writing them down, will help you clarify why you might feel stuck.

Another trick is to dash off what you consider to be a 'bad' essay, hand it in and see what happens, or decide to write the assignment in two hours without notes or references and see how that goes. You can always come back to enter the references later.

Students often say that their hurried and most casual essay got a higher mark than one which they struggled with for weeks; in fact this happened because they got down to essentials and made their points quickly.  The experiment might be worth a try.

If, despite study and good intentions, you cannot seem to get your essay written, or even started, you should let your tutor know as soon as possible.

Your tutor will have encountered such problems many times, and it is part of his/her job to help you sort them out.

Continue to: Assignment Finishing Touches Academic Referencing

See also: The Do’s and Don’ts of Essay Writing Effective Reading Note-Taking for Reading

Learning Styles and Study Skills Essay

Learning is a challenging task to do because it requires all of the individual’s concentration, dedication, and persistence to succeed. The course proposes learning techniques which help to study, memorize information, and apply it. There are several teaching and learning strategies, which are universal; however, there are also useful techniques for an individual approach. The course helped me to understand the methodology of learning, what is necessary, how to use new knowledge and preserve it. Hence, it is a critical module that sets the basic understanding of how teaching and learning work together, instead of focusing on studying only.

Before the course, I had a stereotype that education utilizes reading as a primary method. In fact, all a student has to do is read, reread, and memorize information. However, this habit was proven to be ineffective, according to the course’s methodology. The active learning consists of writing and modeling a situation which uses the studied material. Hence, I changed my attitude to memorizing and manipulating with the learned information. The priority for me is to repeat the content by writing about it and trying to teach someone else, as these are practical techniques to increase comprehension and fill the gaps I might have. Nonetheless, overall I have become more of an active learner, more involved in learning, instead of only reading and seeing examples.

The understanding of how learning works and how it influences the overall academic success helps to prioritize the core aspects of education. For instance, instead of concentrating on an ineffective approach, it is more natural and more beneficial to take some practical tasks and test a real level of knowledge one has. By having a list of priorities, it is possible to manage time better as useless techniques should not take as much time as the effective ones. Typically, the student learns and reads everything without any system or time management, which decreases academic success. I believe prioritizing methods and subjects will improve my grades significantly as I would not spend limited resources on something irrelevant.

The module clearly states that writing is a vital component of any successful learning experience. It is a primary tool to memorize and use the knowledge in the future. However, nowadays, writing is underestimated, but it is one of the most effective techniques to learn anything. I would try to use writing as much as possible during lectures and labs as it positively influences memorizing and comprehending new information. As the course suggests, it is a universal method for everyone, despite one’s preferences. However, it is necessary to consider carefully what kind of information is important and what is useless for the course and oneself. A lack of a plan could create an unhealthy environment for education while prioritizing the tasks prevents it.

Overall, the course provides valuable and applicable information which helps to understand the methodology behind teaching and learning. It is a difficult job to study and be open to new information. However, it improves one’s understanding of the academic courses and experience from learning. Therefore, the course is useful and could be applied to different disciplines in the future. Without these concepts, new information would be much more ineffective and forgettable. New information needs time and effort to stay inside one’s head and be used as a helpful tool in the future. My personal, academic success and the level of understanding would only benefit from the strategies I have learned.

  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2022, January 20). Learning Styles and Study Skills.

"Learning Styles and Study Skills." IvyPanda , 20 Jan. 2022,

IvyPanda . (2022) 'Learning Styles and Study Skills'. 20 January.

IvyPanda . 2022. "Learning Styles and Study Skills." January 20, 2022.

1. IvyPanda . "Learning Styles and Study Skills." January 20, 2022.


IvyPanda . "Learning Styles and Study Skills." January 20, 2022.

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Home — Essay Samples — Education — Study Skills — Identifying Basic Study Skills for a Higher Education Student


Identifying Basic Study Skills for a Higher Education Student

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Words: 493 |

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Words: 493 | Page: 1 | 3 min read

Table of contents

Time management, study skills, conversational skills, presentation skills.

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Science News

Social media harms teens’ mental health, mounting evidence shows. what now.

Understanding what is going on in teens’ minds is necessary for targeted policy suggestions

A teen scrolls through social media alone on her phone.

Most teens use social media, often for hours on end. Some social scientists are confident that such use is harming their mental health. Now they want to pinpoint what explains the link.

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By Sujata Gupta

February 20, 2024 at 7:30 am

In January, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook’s parent company Meta, appeared at a congressional hearing to answer questions about how social media potentially harms children. Zuckerberg opened by saying: “The existing body of scientific work has not shown a causal link between using social media and young people having worse mental health.”

But many social scientists would disagree with that statement. In recent years, studies have started to show a causal link between teen social media use and reduced well-being or mood disorders, chiefly depression and anxiety.

Ironically, one of the most cited studies into this link focused on Facebook.

Researchers delved into whether the platform’s introduction across college campuses in the mid 2000s increased symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. The answer was a clear yes , says MIT economist Alexey Makarin, a coauthor of the study, which appeared in the November 2022 American Economic Review . “There is still a lot to be explored,” Makarin says, but “[to say] there is no causal evidence that social media causes mental health issues, to that I definitely object.”

The concern, and the studies, come from statistics showing that social media use in teens ages 13 to 17 is now almost ubiquitous. Two-thirds of teens report using TikTok, and some 60 percent of teens report using Instagram or Snapchat, a 2022 survey found. (Only 30 percent said they used Facebook.) Another survey showed that girls, on average, allot roughly 3.4 hours per day to TikTok, Instagram and Facebook, compared with roughly 2.1 hours among boys. At the same time, more teens are showing signs of depression than ever, especially girls ( SN: 6/30/23 ).

As more studies show a strong link between these phenomena, some researchers are starting to shift their attention to possible mechanisms. Why does social media use seem to trigger mental health problems? Why are those effects unevenly distributed among different groups, such as girls or young adults? And can the positives of social media be teased out from the negatives to provide more targeted guidance to teens, their caregivers and policymakers?

“You can’t design good public policy if you don’t know why things are happening,” says Scott Cunningham, an economist at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Increasing rigor

Concerns over the effects of social media use in children have been circulating for years, resulting in a massive body of scientific literature. But those mostly correlational studies could not show if teen social media use was harming mental health or if teens with mental health problems were using more social media.

Moreover, the findings from such studies were often inconclusive, or the effects on mental health so small as to be inconsequential. In one study that received considerable media attention, psychologists Amy Orben and Andrew Przybylski combined data from three surveys to see if they could find a link between technology use, including social media, and reduced well-being. The duo gauged the well-being of over 355,000 teenagers by focusing on questions around depression, suicidal thinking and self-esteem.

Digital technology use was associated with a slight decrease in adolescent well-being , Orben, now of the University of Cambridge, and Przybylski, of the University of Oxford, reported in 2019 in Nature Human Behaviour . But the duo downplayed that finding, noting that researchers have observed similar drops in adolescent well-being associated with drinking milk, going to the movies or eating potatoes.

Holes have begun to appear in that narrative thanks to newer, more rigorous studies.

In one longitudinal study, researchers — including Orben and Przybylski — used survey data on social media use and well-being from over 17,400 teens and young adults to look at how individuals’ responses to a question gauging life satisfaction changed between 2011 and 2018. And they dug into how the responses varied by gender, age and time spent on social media.

Social media use was associated with a drop in well-being among teens during certain developmental periods, chiefly puberty and young adulthood, the team reported in 2022 in Nature Communications . That translated to lower well-being scores around ages 11 to 13 for girls and ages 14 to 15 for boys. Both groups also reported a drop in well-being around age 19. Moreover, among the older teens, the team found evidence for the Goldilocks Hypothesis: the idea that both too much and too little time spent on social media can harm mental health.

“There’s hardly any effect if you look over everybody. But if you look at specific age groups, at particularly what [Orben] calls ‘windows of sensitivity’ … you see these clear effects,” says L.J. Shrum, a consumer psychologist at HEC Paris who was not involved with this research. His review of studies related to teen social media use and mental health is forthcoming in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.

Cause and effect

That longitudinal study hints at causation, researchers say. But one of the clearest ways to pin down cause and effect is through natural or quasi-experiments. For these in-the-wild experiments, researchers must identify situations where the rollout of a societal “treatment” is staggered across space and time. They can then compare outcomes among members of the group who received the treatment to those still in the queue — the control group.

That was the approach Makarin and his team used in their study of Facebook. The researchers homed in on the staggered rollout of Facebook across 775 college campuses from 2004 to 2006. They combined that rollout data with student responses to the National College Health Assessment, a widely used survey of college students’ mental and physical health.

The team then sought to understand if those survey questions captured diagnosable mental health problems. Specifically, they had roughly 500 undergraduate students respond to questions both in the National College Health Assessment and in validated screening tools for depression and anxiety. They found that mental health scores on the assessment predicted scores on the screenings. That suggested that a drop in well-being on the college survey was a good proxy for a corresponding increase in diagnosable mental health disorders. 

Compared with campuses that had not yet gained access to Facebook, college campuses with Facebook experienced a 2 percentage point increase in the number of students who met the diagnostic criteria for anxiety or depression, the team found.

When it comes to showing a causal link between social media use in teens and worse mental health, “that study really is the crown jewel right now,” says Cunningham, who was not involved in that research.

A need for nuance

The social media landscape today is vastly different than the landscape of 20 years ago. Facebook is now optimized for maximum addiction, Shrum says, and other newer platforms, such as Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, have since copied and built on those features. Paired with the ubiquity of social media in general, the negative effects on mental health may well be larger now.

Moreover, social media research tends to focus on young adults — an easier cohort to study than minors. That needs to change, Cunningham says. “Most of us are worried about our high school kids and younger.” 

And so, researchers must pivot accordingly. Crucially, simple comparisons of social media users and nonusers no longer make sense. As Orben and Przybylski’s 2022 work suggested, a teen not on social media might well feel worse than one who briefly logs on. 

Researchers must also dig into why, and under what circumstances, social media use can harm mental health, Cunningham says. Explanations for this link abound. For instance, social media is thought to crowd out other activities or increase people’s likelihood of comparing themselves unfavorably with others. But big data studies, with their reliance on existing surveys and statistical analyses, cannot address those deeper questions. “These kinds of papers, there’s nothing you can really ask … to find these plausible mechanisms,” Cunningham says.

One ongoing effort to understand social media use from this more nuanced vantage point is the SMART Schools project out of the University of Birmingham in England. Pedagogical expert Victoria Goodyear and her team are comparing mental and physical health outcomes among children who attend schools that have restricted cell phone use to those attending schools without such a policy. The researchers described the protocol of that study of 30 schools and over 1,000 students in the July BMJ Open.

Goodyear and colleagues are also combining that natural experiment with qualitative research. They met with 36 five-person focus groups each consisting of all students, all parents or all educators at six of those schools. The team hopes to learn how students use their phones during the day, how usage practices make students feel, and what the various parties think of restrictions on cell phone use during the school day.

Talking to teens and those in their orbit is the best way to get at the mechanisms by which social media influences well-being — for better or worse, Goodyear says. Moving beyond big data to this more personal approach, however, takes considerable time and effort. “Social media has increased in pace and momentum very, very quickly,” she says. “And research takes a long time to catch up with that process.”

Until that catch-up occurs, though, researchers cannot dole out much advice. “What guidance could we provide to young people, parents and schools to help maintain the positives of social media use?” Goodyear asks. “There’s not concrete evidence yet.”

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Multiple images of a yellow brimstone butterfly are shown via motion capture. The insect is flying in circles, with its back pointing toward an illuminated tube light inside a flight arena at Imperial College London.

Insects flocking to artificial lights may not know which way is up

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Geneticist Krystal Tsosie advocates for Indigenous data sovereignty

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  1. 7 Steps to Studying for an Essay Test

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  2. How to Write a Summary, Analysis, and Response Essay Paper With

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  3. School essay: Learning english essay writing

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  4. Study skills: How to write effective essay exams in college and

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  5. Essay Writing Skills

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  1. Essay and dissertation writing skills

    Study Skills Soundbites - Introductions Watch on Structuring your essay The main body of the essay should elaborate on the issues raised in the introduction and develop an argument (s) that answers the question.

  2. Effective Study Skills, Essay Example

    Pages: 3 Words: 756 Essay Hire a Writer for Custom Essay Use 10% Off Discount: "custom10" in 1 Click 👇 HIRE A WRITER! You are free to use it as an inspiration or a source for your own work. Students must know themselves and adapt effective study skills to be effective learners.

  3. Study Skills

    Effective Reading When studying, it is likely that you will need to read a lot of information - and you will wish to use this time effectively as possible by developing your reading skills. Discover ways that you can engage with your reading, form links, understand opinions and put ideas and research into perspective.

  4. study skills essay

    6 Pages Good Essays Preview Study Skills Assessment I received a score of 33 out of 50 on my study skills assessment. I have a lot of room for improvement and I am not fully using my study strategies to the most potential.

  5. Writing critically and structuring your essay

    5 minutes Writing critically and structuring your essay - Academic Study Skills Updated Tuesday, 6 April 2021 Techniques you can use to help your essays flow coherently and to make your arguments clearer and more persuasive. Open this tutorial in a new tab . More like this

  6. Study Skills For Higher Education: Essay Example, 1256 words

    First year: setting up academic goals to be achieved, building relationship with teachers, self-regulated learning, evaluating the learning during process. Second year: self-confidence, self-efficacy, allocating time for personal studies researches, self-management.

  7. How to Improve Your Study Skills: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

    1 Improving Your Focus 2 Memorizing Information Strategically Other Sections Expert Q&A Tips and Warnings Related Articles References Article Summary Co-authored by Sean Alexander, MS Last Updated: December 5, 2023 Fact Checked Studying is a skill you can improve, just like any other.

  8. Developed Study Skills Importance

    To-do-lists are effective for increasing the level of students' productivity and help them to avoid procrastination. It is important for students to improve their study skills in order to achieve the high results in their academic performance. The developed skills in time management and listening to the speaker are useful not only for ...

  9. Why do Study Skills Matter?

    What are study skills? Study skills are a range of approaches to learning that improve your ability to study, and to retain and recall information. Spending time on improving your study skills, no matter how good your grades are, has to be time well spent. Some people are naturally good at time management but may struggle with critical thinking.

  10. 12 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Academic Essay Writing Skills

    Avoid transition words that don't add anything to the sentence and unnecessary wordiness that detracts from your argument. Furthermore, use the active voice instead of the passive whenever possible (e.g., "this study found" instead of "it was found by this study"). This will make your essay's tone clear and direct. 3.

  11. The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay

    Essay writing process. The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay.. For example, if you've been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you'll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay, on the ...

  12. Essay Writing

    Keep the introduction short, preferably to one or two paragraphs and keep it, succinct, to the point. Some students find it best to write a provisional introduction, when starting to write an essay, and then to rewrite this when they have finished the first draft of their essay. To write a provisional introduction, ask yourself what the reader ...

  13. Effective Study Skills Free Essay Example

    " Effective Study Skills " Get custom paper NEW! smart matching with writer Without these skills the student would not be aware of their ability to learn in the best way and to maximise this. She states: 1) It is essential to be rested (sleep affects performance) and to sit comfortably.

  14. Learning Styles and Study Skills

    Learning Styles and Study Skills Essay Exclusively available on IvyPanda Learning is a challenging task to do because it requires all of the individual's concentration, dedication, and persistence to succeed. The course proposes learning techniques which help to study, memorize information, and apply it.

  15. Study Skills And Strategies

    Study skills and strategies refer to the techniques and methods used to enhance learning, memory, and comprehension. These skills help individuals to manage and organize their time, prioritize tasks, set goals, and stay focused while studying. Effective study skills and strategies include note-taking, active reading, research techniques, time ...

  16. Student Success: The Role of Goal Setting and Study Skills

    In this essay, we will explore two pillars of academic achievement: goal setting and study skills. These foundational elements play a pivotal role in helping students realize their full potential and attain academic excellence. We will analyze the significance of setting clear goals and how they can serve as guiding beacons for students.

  17. Essay About Study Skills

    Essay About Study Skills 1291 Words6 Pages STUDY SKILLS Study skills or study strategies are approaches applied to learning. They are generally critical to success in school/university, considered essential for acquiring good grades, and useful for learning throughout one's life.

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  19. Essays on Study Skills

    1 page / 483 words How to improve learning skills in students (essay) Procrastination is a common issue among students that prevents them from submitting assignments or engaging in other constructive activities, although instead, they could turn in the study or do other useful things. This behavior often stems from... Study Skills

  20. Free Essay: study skills essay

    6 Pages Analyze This Draft study skills essay View Writing Issues File Edit Tools Settings Filter Results M00517710 ECH 1200 Study Skills Summative Essay The aim of this essay is to give the reader an overview of the types of academic study skills that I develop for the course of Foundation degree in early childhood studies.

  21. Identifying Basic Study Skills for a Higher Education Student

    Being a student in higher education will place you in a whole new situation in terms of a load of academic skills and attributes required to develop throughout the academic time; these are foundation upon which work is base most of the time from the day you start. After all, managing the changes in lifestyle that come with high education, one shouldn't be worried about the skills and ...

  22. Free Essay: Study Skills

    Tools Settings Filter Results Study Skills What is the definition of study skills? Well, study skills are strategies and methods of purposeful learning, usually centered around reading and writing; but effective study skills are essential for students to acquire good grades in school (Keeley).

  23. Study skills Essay Examples

    Dtlls Study Skills Assignment. Study. Study skills. Words: 1421 (6 pages) I will briefly describe and evaluate some different reflective models and in relation to these explain the type of reflective model I use and how this alps me to understand how I can improve my learning experience and my study skills in order to study more proactively.

  24. Summary Of "Smart Thinking: Skills For Critical Understanding And

    Summary, Pages 3 (529 words) Views. 201. This summary is based on Allen's chapter 'Smart Thinking' in his book 'Smart Thinking: Skills for Critical Understanding and Writing' (1997). The main focus of this chapter is 'Smart thinking" Allen attempts to provide the reader with an explanation on how to hone the skill of thinking and ...

  25. TOEFL TestReady

    No other English language test provider has a prep offering like this — designed for you, with you. TOEFL ® TestReady ™ combines the best TOEFL iBT prep offerings with exclusive features and deeper insights to enhance your English communication skills. All feedback, recommendations, personalized insights and tips are developed by the same teams that write and produce the TOEFL iBT test.

  26. Essay 1 (docx)

    Jorgji 3 easier to organize the notes and build the work. All the steps collaborate to provide the best result in writing. In conclusion, commitment, regular practice, and planning constitute a tactical method for elevating writing skills. To sum up this essay, commitment involves having a strong ability to improve, seeking professional help if needed, and being focused on the task at hand.

  27. Social media harms teens' mental health, mounting evidence shows. What now?

    In one longitudinal study, researchers — including Orben and Przybylski — used survey data on social media use and well-being from over 17,400 teens and young adults to look at how individuals ...