Follow these insider tips to write a longer and smarter essay in time for your deadlines!
Are you struggling to meet the minimum word count on your essay with the deadline just half a day away? I know the pain all too well. Stuck in a time crunch, students often end up relying on tricks like repeating keywords or increasing the margin size or spacing between paragraphs. Although these do work temporarily, there are much more efficient ways to improve your essay’s length and quality.
Teachers can spot fluff in your essays effortlessly, so just adding words or repeating phrases won’t do much for you. Try focusing on real ways to enhance your essay instead, and you’ll end up meeting the word count and getting yourself a good grade. Here are a few pointers on how to write a longer and brighter essay:
Recheck the prompt or topic.
You may think you’ve already tackled the assignment, but there’s a good chance that you might have strayed a little from the topic at hand. Try thinking about the essay prompt from different angles and perspectives. Is there any other way I can portray the issue? How does this affect various spheres of life?
Try reverse outlining.
Reverse outlining is precisely that—creating an outline based on what you’ve already written. After you’re done writing your paper, try reading through it once again and making an outline of it. This will help you identify the problem points of the essay and other areas you can work more on.
Go through your introduction and conclusion.
These are two of the most critical parts of your essay. Your introduction should immediately capture the reader’s interest and set an overall tone for the rest of your work. At the same time, your conclusion should communicate your ideas and end the essay on a positive note. Both these sections provide great opportunities to make your essay longer.
Make sure you’ve included everything.
Remember the essay outline you prepared before you started writing? Go over it once more to check if you’ve included all the points on it. This is a great way to ensure you didn’t forget to include any vital points you wanted to express initially.
Haven’t prepared an outline? That’s alright. It’s not too late to think about the issues you want to present to your audience and draw up an outline from which you can expand.
Have someone proofread your essay.
Ask a friend, parent, or sibling to read through your paper and point out any parts that might be confusing or unclear. Now that you have a better idea of how it appears to readers, try rewriting those areas with additional information or examples. You better comprehend what you’re writing about, so it’s essential to present it to your audience clearly and concisely.
Add facts and references.
One surefire way to strengthen your essay is to add relevant evidence to support your statements. Go through the points you made and ask yourself how you can better justify them through facts and references. Think about any possible questions your readers might have and how you can combat them. Also, make sure to present these facts in a simple, easy-to-understand way, so you don’t overwhelm your reader with statistics and numbers.
Bring in relevant quotations.
In the same way that using facts and references helps substantiate your point, you can also lengthen your essay by bringing in a few relevant quotations. These must be related to what you’re writing about, preferably not more than 2-3 lines. For example, if you’re writing an essay about a movie, you could add a robust dialogue or two from it to support your statements.
Improve your descriptions.
If you’re writing a personal or descriptive essay of some sort, you know that your descriptions are vital—they could make or break your writing. When writing a description, you want the imagery to be as vivid as possible to help the reader create a good mental picture. Think about the situation, about what you would see, feel or hear. Choose a few senses to focus on and write with that image in your mind. Your essay will be a lot longer and a lot more interesting.
Check out the list of some of the important essay topics:
Read your work out loud.
This might sound redundant or silly, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most valuable things you could do to improve your writing. When you’re reading your paper out loud, any syntactic or grammatical errors will become more evident to you. Going back to rephrasing your sentences and correcting the issues will undoubtedly add a bit of length to your essay. In the process of reading it out, you might also realize you missed a few details in one of your paragraphs—which increases your word count even more.
Include more transitional phrases.
Teachers often look for good use of transitional words like “therefore” and “on the other hand” when they’re going through papers. Go over your essay again and make sure your sentences flow smoothly. If not, try adding in phrases like the ones mentioned above. These will make your writing a lot easier to follow while increasing the essay length at the same time.
Take a break.
Working hard at your essay is important, but often when you spend too much time working on the same content, you get stumped for ideas. You’ve probably been staring at your screen for hours on end—take a break. Spend time with your friends and family, maybe get something to drink or eat. When you return to the essay, you’ll have a clearer mind and a new, fresh perspective.
Use more examples to illustrate your statements.
If you’ve only used one example or reference to support your points, consider adding a few more. Find a second source from which you can get additional examples or anecdotes to help readers understand better. Not only does it make your essay longer, it also reinforces what you’re trying to convey.
Enhance your word choices.
Another way you can improve your essay is by improving the words and phrases you’ve used. Sit and read through your essay with a pencil in hand to identify weak words that aren’t particularly impactful. Once you’ve got them, use a thesaurus to find better options. If the new words or phrases are longer, it adds to the length of your paper!
Remove contractions and abbreviations.
If you’re writing your essay in a formal tone, it’s best to remove any contractions and abbreviations. There’s nothing wrong with using them, it’s just that they tend to give off a casual tone. You’ll find that expanding them also helps lengthen your essay, so overall—it’s simply best to avoid using abbreviations and contractions.
Format your paragraphs.
One last thing you could do to make your essay better and longer is format your paragraphs. Generally speaking, each paragraph in an essay should have a topic sentence, supporting evidence, relevant arguments, and a conclusion. Read through your paragraphs and check if they adhere to this format. If not, try rewriting or rephrasing them to fill the essay further and meet your word count requirement.
With the help of these tips, writing an extended and engaging essay won’t be such an agonizing task anymore.
Read also: 15 Ways You Can Improve Your Academic Writing Skills