Essay writing tips for students by a student

Writing an essay or even something much bigger like your dissertation can take some time to get into, especially if you become easily distracted.

So, here are some tips to help you combat the essay blues and to help you concentrate.


  1. Get out of those pyjamas

The first thing many students do is climb out of bed in the middle of the afternoon and not even change into proper clothes. By having a shower this will wake you up and prepare you for the day ahead, getting you into the right mindset. Change into some clean clothes and sit yourself at a table or desk that is tidy and not cluttered. Do not sit on your bed to do work as this can easily trick you into taking a nap after just writing the title.

The night before set an alarm, ideally before 12. I find if you set it for nine you can have an hour trying to get out of bed and then you can get yourself some breakfast to help you power through the day ahead. Make sure it is a fulfilling breakfast.

 Set yourself some goals, if it is an essay set yourself a word count you have to reach. Regular breaks do help as do water, stay hydrated, something so simple is yet so effective.

  1. Snack

You cannot write an essay without food; this will help your energy levels. Have a bowl of fruit or even crisps next to you, do not use hunger as an excuse to go into the kitchen and side track yourself to grab a snack, so have them next to you. Remember the quicker you get this done the quicker you can return to your social life and hand the essay in.

Depending on what you like something that is cold and refreshing will help you focus, grapes normally does the job for me, this is coming from someone that is the biggest chocolate eater in the world. Find something that works for you.


      3. Fresh air

Looking at a computer screen all day can be exhausting in itself, it can make your eyes heavy and dry out. As someone who wears contact lens, I found going outside for a few minutes can help you feel refreshed and more alert. Do open a window if the room becomes stuffy and humid.

Being stuck indoors all day whilst writing an essay that you probably do not want to write in the first place is probably hard enough, but you have to try and remain focused. Take regular fresh air breaks to help you stay focused and awake.


  1. Go to an environment that doesn’t distract you

Each person is different and find certain techniques work for them whereas other do not. Many people may find the library is good place to stay focused as many distractions have been eliminated, for example their television, game consuls and bed.  

If you find it difficult to study at home, due to noisy housemates or you jut can’t seem to maintain focus then your library at your university campus is usually a good place to go.

The library should be a calming and relaxed atmosphere to work in and it should distract you from from procrastinating. Set yourself a word goal and when you achieve it you can finally leave the library. Sometimes putting to much pressure on yourself to write an essay in a day is not a good thing, so set yourself a word goal to achieve throughout the week.

  1. Research before you write

Something that will most definitely become part of your typical university experience will be the dreaded academic essay. This usually requires many references and academic sources, however, before you start writing the essay plan it ahead. Start by plotting out your argument and what each paragraph point will be.

Spend a day in the library looking for books and online resources, for example; SAGE and Google scholar.  This will help to organise  your argument and to help to strengthen your argument.

Use a word document to type out the material and quotes that you will use in the your essay, the Harvard Referencing website is a very useful tool to help you reference correctly.

After a day you will have a document filled with references. Once you have completed the word document use the highlighting tool in word and design a key to designate which academic will be used in what paragraph. This will help you save time help you structure the essay well without rambling. Make a point, back it up and analysis.


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