How to Write an Academic Essay: Useful Basics

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by Will Martins / Updated January 31, 2022

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. The educational process may seem overly complicated to beginners only due to the lack of prior experience. Do not be afraid of assignments because this is your chance to gain important skills and knowledge. It's worth noting that academic essay writing is the first thing you'll come across. So this is why you should learn all the basics.

What Is an Academic Essay?

First of all, you should know the key description of this assignment. An academic essay is a paper that aims to present an idea, statement, argument, or expression of emotion. But how to write an academic essay? First of all, you need to focus on your ultimate goal and methods of communicating information. Only then can you understand in which direction you should move.

The Main Paper Features

Now that you know the basic definition, you won't be asking questions like, "What is an academic essay?" But what about the details? Are you ready to get started without clear instructions? First, let's find out all the main features of such a paper.

  1. The word count. Typically, you will need to write about 500 words because this is the classic length for any essay.
  2. Formulated topic. Any essay implies the need to disclose a topic, idea, or purpose. It would help if you didn't forget this.
  3. The most common papers. The academic essay definition depends on its type. The most popular are argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.
  4. The classic format. The most common is 12-point Times New Roman fonts and double spacing.

As you can see, students should memorize the basic nuances to find the answer to questions like “How to start an academic essay?” As a rule, you will need no more than 10 minutes to find out all the details and not make basic mistakes.

Academic Essay Structure

So, the first difficulties were left behind. Time to concentrate on the academic essay structure and the most important aspects. Fortunately, you don't need to worry, as almost every assignment like this has some common traits. Here are three main points you should be aware of.

  1. Intro. You should add some hook here, a little background info, and an explanation of key terms. And don't forget the thesis statement.
  2. Three-body paragraphs. Here you need to add examples, detailed descriptions, or key evidence to support your position.
  3. Conclusion. This part is for the summary, restatement of the thesis, and the final sentence.

As you can see, the structure is pretty simple. But how to write an academic essay title? It couldn't be easier! First, you should indicate the subject and scope of the study. Next, build on your topic and overall goals. Then you will not have any difficulties.

Writing Introduction Part

Don't forget that the beginning of your paper is like a shop window. Concentrate on your topic and main goals. But how to write an academic essay introduction in the right way? You can't do without some hook, quote, statistic, or interesting fact. And don't forget about an explanation of key terms. Your academic essay introduction is the key part to write at the end when you have done all the research and confirmed all hypotheses or statements.

Writing Main Body of Academic Essay

As you can see, there is no need to start from the very beginning and ask something like, "How do you start an academic essay?" Instead, you have three body paragraphs that are important to describe a process, conduct research, or argue your position. Typically, each paragraph should contain one answer per question or evidence. Don't forget about transition words so that every part of the text looks natural.

Top it Off: Writing Conclusion Part

Imagine that you did an excellent job, proved all your theories, and gave examples that show that you are right. Now you should think about a good summary and restatement of the thesis statement. Finally, summarize the results of your work and write the final sentence. Now you no longer have questions like, "How to write an academic essay conclusion?" But be laconic and do not try to retell everything that you described in the previous paragraphs.

Tips for Writing an Amazing Academic Essay

1. Do A Proper Research

Study all aspects of your topic before proceeding to the next steps. Starting an academic essay is like walking through a minefield. If you are not careful, you will fail. So take your time and analyze all aspects carefully.

2. Rely on Facts

If your task is to confirm the correctness of your research or judgments, then you need reliable sources, forget about personal opinions and bias. Your task is to show that you can search for information and analyze data.

3. Avoid Clichés

Some overused phrases are unlikely to make your paper better. For example, you shouldn't use phrases like "you know everything very well" or "it's a well-known fact that should not be proven." Likewise, your paper should be free of clichés.

4. Don't Use Slang

Slang is taboo! Forget about the words and sentences you use in your daily life. Chances are, some students might ask a question like, "How to write an academic paper if I can't use slang?" Everything is very simple. Use analogs that are in the dictionary. Just a couple of clicks, and you will surely find an alternative.

5. You Need Strong Arguments

If you need to prove that your judgments are correct, then you have to provide strong arguments. Take a look at publicly available research and trusted open sources. Plus, you have to do a lot of research to get a positive result.

6. Use Transitions

Transition words are the perfect glue for your paragraphs and sections of text. Such a life hack will help you combine several parts that differ in structure or meaning. As a result, your sentences will now be logically lean.

7. Ensure Your Document is Properly Formatted

 Requirements of your professor have to be followed. You will most likely have clear guidelines on which font and format to use. However, don't forget to format any essay properly. Otherwise, you will not get a high grade.

8. Avoid Irrelevant Details

Many beginners recklessly think that lots of details will help them make their paper perfect. But the problem is that irrelevant paragraphs will only wreak havoc and inconsistencies in your paragraphs.

9. Proofreading Is a Must

Spend about an hour reading each sentence and looking for possible grammatical mistakes. Then, your paper should shine like a month on a cloudless night.

10. Get Outside Feedback

Ask friends or family to read your paper. You will most likely get an unbiased opinion from the outside and determine which parts of the text should be rewritten and improved. Do not forget about such a life hack.

Common Mistakes

Don't Write Your Introductory Paragraph First

As a rule, beginners decide to start from the very beginning. But it is better to end the intro at the very end when you have enough information and research results. This step looks much more logical.


Never use non-original samples. You can always rephrase a statement or an entire paragraph. Plagiarism is the highest barrier between you and high grades. Try to write only original papers.

Neglecting Professors' Instructions

Your professor probably has a set of instructions that you should follow. Don't choose a new formatting style, exceed your word limit, or change your topic without warning. Follow all instructions, and you will have no problems.

Don't Skip the Post Writing Stages

Many beginners believe that they are always in control of all aspects and cannot be wrong. But the problem is that you can get tired and not notice a weak sentence, an error in your calculations, or an incorrect interpretation of terms. So your paper must be polished!

Academic Essay Checklist

Any student can save a lot of time by using checklists. All you need is a little discipline and a list of questions to which you must find answers.

  1. Am I following the requirements of the assignment?
  2. Does the introduction contain the background info?
  3. Is there a thesis statement that allows you to focus on the main objectives of the essay?
  4. Are all paragraphs structured correctly?
  5. Have the proper transition words been used?
  6. Are all citations and references correctly formatted?
  7. Are all formatting guidelines followed?

Answer all these questions, and you will see your paper shine. All you need is a little care and diligence to do proper research. Start with the basics and follow all instructions to get high grades.

Summing Up

Now you have all the definitions, steps, and tips to start writing. Don't worry, and analyze your topic thoroughly. By observing all the points, you can write an excellent assignment. Don't give up halfway, and don't forget to edit and proofread your paper.


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