The value of knowing the strategic steps to write an essay cannot be overemphasized. It is used as a form of student assessment for many post graduate applications on courses including security and risk management courses whether online or offline. Even while getting an MSc in Security and Risk Management, you will come across assignments that include essay writing. Therefore, learning the steps to write an essay is useful not only to gain admission onto the course of your choice but also to ensure you succeed on the program.
Some students found that when applying for distance learning programs such as a security and risk management degree, they were required to write an essay as part their application and supporting documents. They are asked to write on a subject related to the course they were applying for, or an essay about their purpose for applying for the course. However, some other courses such as the MBA, the admissions team provide you with a list of topics on which you could pour your thoughts on and complete a 1000 words in essay format.
Sometimes job applications and interviews, such as security and risk management jobs, require you to write an essay. Essay topics are usually given to candidates, to assess the ability of the candidate to think critically, to put out reasonable argument and their knowledge on the purview of the job to which they applied.
Before giving you the steps to writing a good essay that gets your message across, you need to know the components of a good essay. A good essay should:
- Attend closely to the title. Many make the mistake of deviating from the subject matter, such that their thoughts are all over the place.
- Have a relevant structure. Your essay should be built from introduction of the subject matter to the last point. Your reader should be able to see how your argument was developed.
- It should be written critically. It should use descriptive writing and you do no want to make your readers lose their train of thought, while reading.
Now, after knowing the essential components of a good essay, how do you set out to write one, whether for your course application, as part of your coursework, or even in a job application?
Here are the steps to writing an essay:
Brainstorm for the ideas related to the subject matter of your essay. This step is important to avoid coming up short of ideas, halfway through your essay, it is usually because of poor brainstorming that essays tend to deviate from the topic at hand and derail the thoughts of the reader. This may also involve gathering research material from external sources. The most important part of this step is then structuring your thoughts / points in a coherent and comprehensive format.
Sort through the ideas and material, and use only those relevant to the subject matter. Outline your points in your own words and discard those that are irrelevant. This is a difficult exercise, most writers feel that all their thoughts are relevant to the topic at hand, but this is the difference between a good essay and a lost price of writing.
Develop an argument that is in direct response to the question the essay is meant to answer. The argument should not be simplistic and should strongly express the response to the question. Also, the argument should be stated in the introduction and should be referred back to in other parts of the essay.
Write your introduction by stating the argument (the purpose of the essay), indicating questions to be answered through the essay thus, engaging the reader.
Write the body of the essay by relaying your points in a structured format. This format is usually identified as part of the brainstorming session as mentioned earlier. Each point should have a new paragraph and should start with words that show its relation to the other point. Words such as however, more-so, furthermore, in addition, upon further thought, etc, should be used.
Write a conclusion by summarizing the main points raised, reiterating the argument, demonstrating how you have answered the questions raised and end with a thought provoking comment that will engineer conversation around your essay.
After going through these six steps, you should proofread your essay for grammatical and typographical errors. The best way to proof check a written piece of work is to send essay to your friends/colleagues for constructive criticism and accept their edits to the essay as valid additions (if relevant).