Essays, essays, essays.
I mention that dreaded word on this blog quite often – the past few years essays have plagued me more than they ever used to. You may or may not be aware that I received my BA in English & Linguistics years ago before I started my degree in midwifery; back then I actively enjoyed writing essays! These days I find essay writing a lot more arduous, and thought I would share some hints and tips that I used both in my English & Linguistics degree and have been using for my midwifery degree…
1. Start! Don’t wait until the last minute to write your essays – midwifery essays require a lot of research and a lot of references, and these things take time!
2. Ctrl+f is your friend. If you’re reading a journal article, guideline or hospital policy and want to find something swiftly, hit ctrl+f at the same time and type in your keyword/s. This will stop you from scrolling through pages and pages and pages…
3. Discover what fonts, line spacing and referencing your university allows and from your first essay, use that as a template. This will stop those last minute frets and get you off to a fine start from the get-go.
4. On the subject of references, if you’re struggling to find enough then make sure you check out the reference lists of any articles, websites or books you’re already using.
5. Make yourself a list of topics and ideas that your essay needs to contain and cross them out when you’ve written about them. Your university should be able to provide you with a marking guide or list of learning outcomes to help with this.
6. Set yourself goals and reward yourself for meeting them regularly. Some of my favourites: after I’ve written 200 more words I can have a cookie; if I hit 500 words by lunchtime I’m having lunch whilst watching television; if I finish my essay today I’m going to spend the rest of the evening playing Cook Serve Delicious.
7. If you find yourself repeating key words, keep an online thesaurus open and find a few different words to help you get your point across.
8. Work on your reference list as you go -this will save you a lot of time in the long run! Of course, you can also use apps like citethisforme to help with the long and arduous task that is the reference list…
9. Another reference list tip: check previous essays for any references that may come in useful for your current essay. This can also help jog your memory about bits of information that aren’t quite in the forefront of your brain.
10. Ask family and friends to proof read your essay when you’re finished your first draft. Having somebody sanity check your arguments, tell you off for writing “and and” and give you a pat on the back for the hard work you’ve done is completely invaluable. My mum is my go-to proof reader for every written work I’ve ever done!
Finally, be kind to yourself! You’re not an essay writing machine and these things take time – do your best and be proud of what you’ve achieved when you get to hand-in day.
If you’re super stuck, confused about your assignment or reaching the end of your tether, then contact your personal tutor or course tutor to discuss your assignment. At the end of the day, your lecturers want you to succeed and they’ll give you help if you ask for it! It’s also worth noting that all universities tend to have student support services that can help with essay critique and guidance.
Is there anything you think I’ve missed out or that works particularly well for you? I’d love to know for my next few essays..!
And lastly, for some fun, here are a few links about essay writing!
Take care folks, and happy essay writing!