The first thing to do is to decide what it is that you want to say. You are given a text, let’s say, and a question: how does X display Y? Think of several instances where X does display Y, and decide on an order, and a way to show that the trend develops, for extra marks.
When you know that you are looking for Y, either search, via google scholar, jstor, or simply through google, for Y, and if possible in the appropriate context. Select several appropriate secondary sources that are specific, but general enough that they can fit in anywhere.
Once you have your secondary sources, and your argument, look for the appropriate material from your primary source. You should find material that complements and is complemented by your secondary source.
Sometimes, however much you plan your time in accordance with your course, you will find yourself having to write under pressure, to a deadline. Sometimes, even, this can be because the essay is an exam type essay, which has to be produced within a set time frame. But these essays can still be written to a high standard, and the following tips can help you to write quality essays in little time.
Plan each paragraph, with a very clear introduction that says precisely what you want to demonstrate: I will show that X is present in Y. Make sure that the paragraphs each have one very clear idea, and if possible, that each paragraph has at least one quotation from a primary or secondary source.
Fill out your structure by creating a rough first draft. This does not need to be perfect, at this point, just ensure that the argument is clear, is sound, is easy to follow, and is clearly sign posted. Do all of the work for your examiner.
Go through the draft, editing carefully, and trying to use the same terminology throughout, which will give the impression that you have clearly thought about the essay as a complete document.
By following these simple steps you will be able to replicate a method of producing good quality essays, in tight time-frames, which still give the impression that they have taken time and care. So, if you have a deadline, don’t panic, stay calm and follow a plan.
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