Effective Essay Writing: Tips and Tricks for Starting your Essay

Effective Essay Writing: Tips and Tricks for Starting your Essay

This article has been written by Helen Karakulak, a SACE English, History, Society & Culture & SACE Research Project TutorIf you’re interested in private tutoring from Helen then please check out her page here.


Essay writing is a common form of assessment you’ll come across throughout your schooling. There are various types of essays, each differing based on their expectations.

  • Analytical essays call for discussion and tend to use key words like “investigate” “explore” “discuss” or “review”.
  • Argumentative essays require you to argue a position on a topic with supporting evidence.
  • Comparative essays may require you to compare and contrast two texts. This involves identifying and discussing similarities or differences.
  • Cause and effect essays require you to discuss the effect or causes of an event, usually by recalling a historical narrative.

It’s important to be able to identify what kind of essay you’re supposed to write so that you can complete it at the appropriate standard. Save time wondering how to start by considering the following tips to help your essay shine!

A good essay should…

  • Be well structured

This means having a clear introduction, conclusion and body paragraphs. For the body paragraphs, I highly recommend using the TEEL structure. It may seem repetitive at times, but it has been the saviour of many of my essays! TEEL is simple, made up of only four components: a topic sentence, explanation, evidence and link. By using the TEEL structure, you ensure your paragraphs flow in a way that’s easy for the reader to follow.

  • Answer the question

All points mentioned throughout your essay should relate back to the question. You shouldn’t include any irrelevant information. For example, in an analytical essay about a film, the question may ask you to explore how the protagonist is portrayed as an unlikely hero. One of your points may describe a lighting shift as the protagonist enters a scene from the shadows. Ensure that after describing this, you write a sentence that explains its relevance and links back to the essay question.  This is easily done by using key terms such as “therefore” and “consequently”.

  • Be well referenced

Referencing expectations vary depending on your year level. However, in my experience, most stage 2 SACE assignments require essays to be in-text referenced in the Harvard format. There are online resources to help you learn about referencing different sources, and it’s a skill that will follow you to university and prove very helpful. A good tip for referencing is to keep track of your sources. Copy the links or names of sources onto a separate document as you research so you have them ready to put into the correct formatting later.

  • Be clear and concise

Your essay has to make sense. The best way to make sure it does is to proofread. Proofread your work and submit drafts if you can to make sure your research is solid and your sentences flow well. Also, sometimes grammatical errors can slip through spellcheck so it’s definitely worth giving that essay a second (or third, or tenth) read before submitting.

If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: You Can Procrastinate And Study – At The Same TimeHow to Study Effectively and How is University Different from High School?

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Effective Essay Writing: Tips and Tricks for Starting your Essay