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What is an "essay"?

Middle School Essay Tips

Alexa Hale (Professional Tutor, Academic Advantage) gives expert video advice on: What are the most common mistakes that students make on essays?; How can making revisions improve my essays?; What is an effective approach to revising my essays? and more...

What is an "essay"?

An essay is a multi-paragraph response usually to a prompt that your teacher will give you. An essay is going to have to take a specific point of view and include an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion.

What are the most common mistakes that students make on essays?

One of the most common mistakes that students make while writing essays is that they use a personal voice meaning; they're writing like they're speaking. Writing is more formal, particularly for an essay, and they need to take out those "I" declarative statements. Another common mistake that the students make is that they won't give specific enough examples. Often, whoever is reading your essay is not going to know anything about the subject. Students need to remember that they need to tell them everything that they know, not just one particular piece of what they know. A third tip about things that kids often mistake on their essays is that they don't take a point of view. When you write an essay you need to form an opinion; you need to either agree or disagree, not necessarily just write about the subject.

What is an outline and how can it help me write a great essay?

An outline can definitely help you write a better essay because it will help you stay on topic and give appropriate supporting information for the point you're making in each paragraph of the essay. Also, an outline will help you better structure your essay so your reader can fully understand what you're trying to say in the essay, how you're proving your point, and make sure you include enough supporting evidence.

What's the secret to writing an effective outline?

Here are some middle school essay tips for writing an effective outline: The first part of your outline should be your "Intro," which will include your thesis statement. You want to write your entire thesis statement right here so you have it on hand when writing your essay. Part two for an effective outline should be Body Paragraph One; right here you're going to write your topic sentence and three pieces of facts or details that are going to support your topic. You're going to do these for each of your body paragraphs, so you should have at least three, which means you have part three, four. Your last part is going to be your conclusion; here you are going to write a concluding statement. This serves as a skeleton for your essay, so all you have to do is fill in the holes, making complete sentences, so that everything flows, and you're ready to write your complete essay.

How can making revisions improve my essays?

One of the best ways to improve your essay writing is to make sure you revise it. Think about the first essay that you write. It's just a rough draft. After that, you should go back to your essay and figure out what can be changed in order to make it just a little bit better. Often with just a little bit of time after you've written your essay, you can go back and realize what things sound a little bit awkward, or could be said in a better way to prove your point. Also, you might think of some better evidence than what you initially thought of.

What is an effective approach to revising my essays?

With regards to middle school essay tips, in order to revise an essay effectively, here are a couple of helpful tips. The first tip for revising an essay is to write your rough draft, step away from it for at least 15 minutes, get a drink, watch some TV and clear your head a little bit. Then when you go back, you're looking at your essay now with fresh eyes. Now, you see mistakes in your essay that you wouldn't have seen 15 minutes earlier. I recommend using a red pen. Think about your teacher, she's going to be seeing your paper for the first time and have a nice, big, red pen and just mark the essay up with everything that she finds wrong with it. Put yourself in her shoes and mark up anything you think sounds awkward with your essay, anything that doesn't quite work right or maybe evidence that might not be as strong as you like it to be. Once you've highlighted all those areas, you can figure out how to change and improve your essay to make it better. Lastly, you can revise an essay forever, but I recommend you revise it three times. After your rough draft, you should have tons of revisions, lots of red pen on that page, but then once you've made those changes, you'll probably have a much better essay than you initially did. Then you'll just go through and correct spelling errors, maybe grammar, add some commas, figure out maybe a couple different wordings, and then go back and change those on your essay. The last time you're reading your essay for consistency, just making sure everything is right and that everything is perfect before you turn it in to your teacher.

What are some secrets to writing effectively?

Here are some great tips to write clearly and effectively. Make sure you think that your reader is not going to know anything about the subject you are writing about, you need to provide appropriate background and details so they can completely understand what you're writing. Also, give your paper to a friend or family member, who can read your piece of writing as if they were your teacher. Make sure they're critical. I know they probably care very much about you, but make sure they're critical of the writing just like your teacher will be and give you an honest opinion about what you've written. Another great tip is to read what you've written aloud. Make sure if anything sounds funny when you read it aloud, probably means it sounds funny on the page too. And you need to reword it.