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10 Great Essay Writing Tips
Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.
Prepare to Answer the Question
Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.
Plan Your Essay
Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.
Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable
You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.
View It as a Conversation
Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.
Provide the Context in the Introduction
If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.
Explain What Needs to be Explained
Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.
Answer All the Questions
After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.
Stay Focused as You Write
Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.
Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread
When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.
Avoid Filling the Page with Words
A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.
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A Detailed Look At The SPM Guided Writing Essay (a.k.a General Essay)
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The SPM English Paper 2 is divided into three parts. In this article, we’ll focus on Part 2 of the SPM paper which is the guided writing essay (now known as the general essay). For a complete overview of the SPM English Paper 2 format, click here .
The SPM Guided Writing/ General Essay Format
Let’s start by looking at the structure of the Part 2 essay:
Wordcount: 125 to 150 words
Suggested time: 30 minutes
You must answer the question given. There are no options to choose from.
You will be given some notes as part of the question and you are required to respond to all of the points given.
Now, let’s look at a sample SPM guided writing/general essay question that was taken from one of the SPM trials in 2021. We’ll be using this sample question as an example throughout this article so make sure you take a good look!
As you can see from the above, you are given a short paragraph with some background on the task. You are then given three bullet points that you must address and include in your essay to fulfil the task requirements.
How to Write The SPM Guided Writing/General Essay
If you’re not sure how to start writing your essay, don’t worry, we’re here to help! Here are some easy steps for you to follow.
Step 1: Read the question carefully
As this is an SPM guided writing essay, you must write based on the information given so it’s important to make sure that you understand the question.
You can highlight keywords in the question such as the purpose of the essay as well as the points that you have to include so you don’t miss anything out. As the points already provide you with an outline of your essay, it makes it much easier for you to get started!
Step 2: Come up with ideas
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Next, think of potential responses that you can use for each bullet point. For example, in the sample question above, you have to write an essay about your choice of a holiday destination in Malaysia.
The first bullet point asks about the destination of your choice so think about the potential places that come to mind. You can then narrow down and choose a destination that you feel comfortable writing about.
The second point asks you to explain the reasons for your choice so brainstorm a list of potential answers and highlight reasons that you can expand on easily. Then, do the same for the third point. You can scribble your thoughts on a piece of paper so that you won’t forget!
Step 3: Plan your essay
Once you have some ideas on what to write about, start planning what your SPM guided writing essay would look like.
You might be familiar with the general essay structure which consists of an introduction, three to four content or body paragraphs and a conclusion. If you have not come across it before, check out tip 2 in Gurulab’s Essay Writing Top Tips by clicking here .
To give you a better idea of how to organise your essay, here are some ways that you can approach each paragraph:
To write the introduction in the SPM guided writing essay, you can often refer back to the notes in the question to form general opening statements. Your introduction can simply be two to three sentences long.
For the content paragraphs, you should address each of the points given in separate paragraphs to keep your essay well-organised. For example:
Body paragraph 1: Introduce the destination of your choice and offer some details about the place.
Body paragraph 2: Expand on the reasons that you chose the destination.
Body paragraph 3: Share the benefits that you’ll get from going on the getaway.
Each of your content paragraphs can be three to five sentences long .
In the conclusion, briefly restate the main points that your essay has addressed. Similar to the introduction, your conclusion can be two to three sentences long.
Step 4: Write your SPM guided writing/general essay!
Now that you know what your essay would look like, it’s time to write!
Pro tip: If you’re struggling to expand your points, PEEC is the acronym that could help you! Here’s what it stands for:
PEEC provides a framework that will help you elaborate your points to make your essay more detailed and interesting. For example:
“I’ve chosen Langkawi because I like water sports ( Point ). There are many types of water sports available there ( Explanation) such as kayaking, jet skiing and snorkelling ( Example ). These activities will make my holiday fun and exciting ( Conclusion ).”
If you’re now wondering what the full essay could look like, we’ve got it here for you too! We’ve used all of the steps and tips in this guide to come up with a sample essay based on the question above. Check it out below!
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Sample SPM Guided Writing Essay
Malaysia is home to many amazing holiday destinations. For my next holiday, I would like to visit Langkawi.
I’ve chosen Langkawi because I like water sports. There are many types of water sports available there such as kayaking, jet skiing and snorkelling. These activities will make my holiday fun and exciting.
Langkawi also has a cable car ride. Since my sister and I have never been on a cable car ride, we’ll get to go on our first one! The view must be great from the top.
Besides that, Langkawi is famous for duty-free shopping. My cousin’s wedding is coming soon and I know that my parents are still looking for a gift. If they find something there, we’ll be killing two birds with one stone!
Therefore, Langkawi is my ideal holiday destination because there’s something for everyone in the family. We’ll surely have a good time there.
Final Things To Keep In Mind
Don’t overwrite. For this SPM guided writing essay, you’re only required to write 125-150 words so just respond to all the points given.
Keep track of time. Break down the 30 minutes to include time for you to plan, write and check your essay.
Make sure you’re writing in the appropriate style (e.g: The question may ask you to write an article, report, or letter).
Master The SPM Guided Writing Essay With GuruLab
With practice, you will find that the steps in this guide will come naturally to you in no time. These steps are also applicable for the SPM English continuous writing essay in Part 3.
To score in your SPM English Paper 2, understanding the marking scheme will also give you an added advantage. At GuruLab, our team of tutors have extensive PT3 and SPM English grading experience. With detailed and personalised feedback, they can help you achieve the grades that you desire. For those looking to elevate their writing game, Gurulab’s English classes will help you discover your true potential.
We hope that you have found this in-depth write-up on the SPM guided writing/general essay helpful. For more useful tips to enhance your writing skills, sign up for GuruLab’s lessons today!
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