As the government begins its crackdown on essay mill websites, it’s easy to see just how much pressure students are under to get top grades for their coursework these days. But writing a high-scoring paper doesn’t need to be complicated. We spoke to experts to get some simple techniques that will raise your writing game.
Tim Squirrell is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and is teaching for the first time this year. When he was asked to deliver sessions on the art of essay-writing, he decided to publish a comprehensive (and brilliant) blog on the topic, offering wisdom gleaned from turning out two or three essays a week for his own undergraduate degree.
“There is a knack to it,” he says. “It took me until my second or third year at Cambridge to work it out. No one tells you how to put together an argument and push yourself from a 60 to a 70, but once you to get grips with how you’re meant to construct them, it’s simple.”
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The goal of writing any essay is to show that you can think critically about the material at hand (whatever it may be). This means going beyond regurgitating what you’ve read; if you’re just repeating other people’s arguments, you’re never going to trouble the upper end of the marking scale.
“You need to be using your higher cognitive abilities,” says Bryan Greetham, author of the bestselling How to Write Better Essays. “You’re not just showing understanding and recall, but analysing and synthesising ideas from different sources, then critically evaluating them. That’s where the marks lie.”
But what does critical evaluation actually look like? According to Squirrell, it’s simple: you need to “poke holes” in the texts you’re exploring and work out the ways in which “the authors aren’t perfect”.
“That can be an intimidating idea,” he says. “You’re reading something that someone has probably spent their career studying, so how can you, as an undergraduate, critique it?
“The answer is that you’re not going to discover some gaping flaw in Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume 3, but you are going to be able to say: ‘There are issues with these certain accounts, here is how you might resolve those’. That’s the difference between a 60-something essay and a 70-something essay.”
Critique your own arguments
Once you’ve cast a critical eye over the texts, you should turn it back on your own arguments. This may feel like going against the grain of what you’ve learned about writing academic essays, but it’s the key to drawing out developed points.
“We’re taught at an early age to present both sides of the argument,” Squirrell continues. “Then you get to university and you’re told to present one side of the argument and sustain it throughout the piece. But that’s not quite it: you need to figure out what the strongest objections to your own argument would be. Write them and try to respond to them, so you become aware of flaws in your reasoning. Every argument has its limits and if you can try and explore those, the markers will often reward that.”
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Fine, use Wikipedia then
The use of Wikipedia for research is a controversial topic among academics, with many advising their students to stay away from the site altogether.
“I genuinely disagree,” says Squirrell. “Those on the other side say that you can’t know who has written it, what they had in mind, what their biases are. But if you’re just trying to get a handle on a subject, or you want to find a scattering of secondary sources, it can be quite useful. I would only recommend it as either a primer or a last resort, but it does have its place.”
Focus your reading
Reading lists can be a hindrance as well as a help. They should be your first port of call for guidance, but they aren’t to-do lists. A book may be listed, but that doesn’t mean you need to absorb the whole thing.
Squirrell advises reading the introduction and conclusion and a relevant chapter but no more. “Otherwise you won’t actually get anything out of it because you’re trying to plough your way through a 300-page monograph,” he says.
You also need to store the information you’re gathering in a helpful, systematic way. Bryan Greetham recommends a digital update of his old-school “project box” approach.
“I have a box to catch all of those small things – a figure, a quotation, something interesting someone says – I’ll write them down and put them in the box so I don’t lose them. Then when I come to write, I have all of my material.”
There are a plenty of online offerings to help with this, such as the project management app Scrivener and referencing tool Zotero, and, for the procrastinators, there are productivity programmes like Self Control, which allow users to block certain websites from their computers for a set period.
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Look beyond the reading list
“This is comparatively easy to do,” says Squirrell. “Look at the citations used in the text, put them in Google Scholar, read the abstracts and decide whether they’re worth reading. Then you can look on Google Scholar at other papers that have cited the work you’re writing about – some of those will be useful. But quality matters more than quantity.”
And finally, the introduction
The old trick of dealing with your introduction last is common knowledge, but it seems few have really mastered the art of writing an effective opener.
“Introductions are the easiest things in the world to get right and nobody does it properly,” Squirrel says. “It should be ‘Here is the argument I am going to make, I am going to substantiate this with three or four strands of argumentation, drawing upon these theorists, who say these things, and I will conclude with some thoughts on this area and how it might clarify our understanding of this phenomenon.’ You should be able to encapsulate it in 100 words or so. That’s literally it.”
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Where there is a will there is a way is a proverb that reveals the importance of will power and strong determination in life which helps to definitely reach to the set destination by facing all problems.
Essay on where there is a will there is a way
Where there is a will there is a way is a most famous and old English proverb. Students may be assigned by their teachers to write some paragraphs or complete essay on this topic during exam or occasionally in the classroom. We have provided below some paragraphs, short essays and long essays on where there is a will there is a way under various words limit in order to help students. You can select any ‘where there is a will there is a way’ paragraph or essay according to your need and requirement.
Where there is a will there is a way Essay 1 (100 words)
Where there is a will there is a way is an old saying in English which means that if we don’t have strong determination and will towards our goal, we cannot work hard and thus cannot achieve success in life. Our strong will power to achieve success creates a way of surety to get success. Our will makes sure but easy path for us to climb the ladder of success. This proverb teaches us that if we really determine to do something (whether easy or tough), we can do it. Sometimes the task may be too difficult however the strong will power help us to confront all the difficulties and creates a way.
Where there is a will there is a way Essay 2 (150 words)
Generally, all of us have a goal in life which we work to achieve; however, the final goal is achieved only by the people who have strong will power and work hard with complete dedication. Will power is necessary to create a way of surety of getting goal in life. Most of us do not succeed in life as they don’t have strong determination and will towards achieving the goal. The meaning of this English proverb ‘where there is a will there is a way’ is when we have strong will to get something in life; surely we get that in future. Most of the people who are not determined towards their goal generally tend to curse their fate or misfortune.
But the fact of getting failure in life is that we don’t have will and dedication towards the task. We should blame ourselves and our negligence only and not our fortune. Having wish to get something is not enough; we have to work actively in right direction with strong will power.
Where there is a will there is a way Essay 3 (200 words)
Where there is a will, there is a way is an old saying in English which teaches us about the most important topic of getting success in life. Making a nice goal becomes our motto however achieving a goal needs strong will and dedication. People without having will power never achieve the success and they curse their fate. This common saying simply means that if the person is determined enough to get something completed, he/she always find a way to do that.
Determination is necessary to get completion in the task as it helps person to fight with all difficulties and get success. Without determination and will power we generally tend to give up very easily in the starting as we become hopeless from small difficulties. To learn or achieve something in life, will power acts as a catalyst and enhances the speed of action. It needs a hard and continuous practice to deeply learn things. We can pass the exam by reading the lessons just a night before the exam however we cannot top in the class, district or state without hard work for the whole year. So, it is good to have determination even to the smallest tasks in life and never give up easily.
Where there is a will there is a way Essay 4 (250 words)
As we all know that nothing is impossible in this world however it is very difficult to achieve something in life without determination and will power. Strong will gives us power to go ahead and continue the tasks till we achieve the success. The proverb ‘where there is a will there is a way’ teaches us the same that we must be determined towards our goal otherwise we will get failure. People having strong will are the ones who can do wonders in their life. Human will power is very powerful which can defeat any difficulty and give extraordinary results. In the first sight it seems that many tasks are almost impossible to complete and some people lacking the will power get frightened away. Only few people have the necessary strength and will to complete their goal.
In spite of having strong will, other things are also required like discipline, continuity, dedication and patience. We have to work hard, get up early in the morning, and work more than specified number of hours with full commitment. We just need to work continuously without postponing the things and waiting for the result. Don’t give an excuse to your hard work and never complain to your fate.
Some of the people get discouraged by the few continue failures as they lack the power of determination and patience to wait for final results. We should take failures positively as it makes us strong and teaches us that something we are doing wrong in wrong direction. Failures are stepping stones to the success and we must continue hard work as there is no shortcut to success.
Where there is a will there is a way Essay 5 (300 words)
Where there is a will there is a way is a nice old saying which has proved its meaning by hundred percent. If we have a desire to do something, things will come to our way but we need to be dedicated to that. There will be some hindrance in the way but will power gives surety to win the goal. Will is the wish to do anything in life. Dreaming is good but not working properly to fulfill the dream is not good. If you see dreams, work accordingly to complete them. The meaning of this proverb applies to all the work areas of life. If you want that good things of life come to your way, you need to work hard accordingly with complete dedication and patience.
You cannot get good result and success in the first attempt though you can succeed after a number of hard trials. We all are well aware of the simple story of a thirsty crow who worked hard in filling the pitcher through small stones to get the water level up so that he can drink the water and quench his thirst. He was in the search of water for hours however when he got water, it was very low in the pitcher. He tried number of ways to quench his thirst with no success. He thought a trick and started picking and collecting pebbles one by one in the pitcher. Finally, he got success in bringing the water level up and quenching his thirst.
His will power to quench his thirst made him able to defeat all the difficulties and get success. His thirst was very important which made him strong and win. All the trials and success of that crow teaches us that never become hopeless even when you are surrounded by difficulties. Just be patient and continue the hard work, surely you will get success.
Where there is a will there is a way Essay 6 (400 words)
We generally make lots of promises to our self everyday such as to maintain daily routine, daily exercise, finish home work on time, house cleaning, obey parents and teachers, commitment towards study daily, etc. However, sometimes we do not win because of the lack of will power and strong determination. Whenever we see towards our history, we find many great personalities like Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Edmund Hillary, Swami Vivekananda; etc who saw various big dreams and the most important point is that they were able to fulfill their dreams just because they had strong will power towards their goal. They were very clear about their decisions and each step decided for reaching towards the goal.
They never gave up in front of their hard times and continued walking on their way by overcoming all the difficulties. They were able to find out the right path of success. Now-a-days, most of the people of this generation don’t have patience and will. Thus they lack achieving their goal due to their wrong attitudes and greediness. Just think, what will happen if clouds stop raining, sun stop giving sunlight, rivers stop giving water, trees stop giving fruits, etc. We cannot live our life happily if nature stops helping us. We can learn about how to develop commitment towards our work from each and every natural cycle.
This English proverb ‘where there is a will there is a way’ is means that we cannot succeed in life without having the will power and determination towards the goal achievement. Suppose that a student want to get first position in class without hard work and proper preparation, he/she cannot do the same in any condition as he/she lacks the determination and will of hard work. However, he/she can achieve the goal next year after hard work and complete preparation.
Achieving things which are impossible can be easily obtained by the strong will power and hard work. So, we can possible the things which are impossible through our continuous hard work. We all have internal will power, determination, dedication and capacity of hard work. We just need to recognize our internal strength and develop such natural powers within us to reach to the goal by overcoming all the difficulties of the way. We need to focus on our goal to get ultimate victory because where there is a will, there is a way.