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Essay/Assignment hints and tips

Learning how to write essays well is a key part of a politics undergraduate degree. Mastering this skill takes at least up to the end of your degree, and often beyond, so don't worry if you stuggle with the basics initially. Our panellists give their advice on how to best prepare for an essay:

Plan, Plan, Plan! Do not leave assignments until the last minute because extensive reading is crucial.
Hamish Campbell-Shore, University of Bath

Structure your work properly and never underestimate the power of a good plan, so plan first and then write.
Muhammad Gohar Altaf, City University of London

Don't fall into the trap of thinking undergraduate essays are to be structured in the same way as A-Level essays. See your personal tutor, and talk through how to write an undergraduate essay.
Jordan Auburn, University of Bath

Use multiple sources to support the same point and use sub-headings to illustrate the flow of the essay.
Jonathan Evans, University of Winchester

Play to your strengths, if you have background knowledge on an essay topic use it and extend on it.
Jasmine Payne, University of Bath

Read essays out loud to check for cohesion and clarity.
Ashley Taylor, University of Limerick

Clarity, clarity, clarity. Know your argument beforehand and don't put a word to paper that doesn't contribute to it. Most of the time, writing a good essay involves assuming the reader has zero knowledge on the subject matter; this can be frustrating but if you write with this style in mind, you'll find that your essays flow better and are much clearer overall. Markers will appreciate that!
Luke Dunn, University of Bath

Read all essay feedback and go to feedback hours.
Samuel Hall, Plymouth University

Each section should have a number of words from your word limit, and a number of points you will cover in that section.
Ben Attwood, Edge Hill University

Know exaclty how, when and what you are going to do. Pay really close attention to the referencing and the bibliography, as you can earn/lose a lot of marks on that.
Anna Nagy, University of Nottingham

Don't rush into it, but do take your time and analyse each concept from different perspectives: it will add depth to your reasoning.
Giulia Andreani, London Metropolitan University

Talk to your librarian - they are well-equipped to show you all the 'tricks of the trade' when it comes to research and accessing archival material... most importantly (for me) - don't pick the easiest topic, but the one which will motivate you to learn more, to become more knowledgeable and expand your skills and abilities!
Dora Vrkic, University of Birmingham

Begin early, write your first draft quickly, and revise at least twice.
Joshua Frey, Troy University