Essay writing is an integral part of a student’s learning process because colleges and universities often require learners to share their opinions about multiple issues. Each student aims to submit the perfect essay demonstrating their expertise and awareness of the discussed topic. However, learners frequently face difficulties when trying to understand what is an essay that follows all the academic requirements and tends to be recognized as a good essay. We’ve invited Nicolas Evans, a professional writer at CustomWritings.com, and Victoria Davis, a TOP writer at CustomWritings.com, to discuss what makes a good essay and determine the qualities of good writing.
In this interview, you’ll find the answers to the most common questions about the characteristics and requirements of an excellent paper.
Q: What is a good essay? Are there any characteristics that help teachers determine whether a paper is excellent?
Nicolas: First of all, let’s remember that an essay is a unique opportunity to express your thoughts on specific issues. If your essay clearly and logically demonstrates your opinion on the discussed topics, it may be recognized as a good essay. However, following the academic requirements and instructions provided by a teacher influences the essay’s overall quality and helps readers realize what is an essay discussing.
Victoria: Actually, most teachers and professors provide detailed instructions and an essay checklist to let students determine whether their paper meets the established criteria. If you have a grading rubric, you should thoroughly check it to understand what exactly your teacher expects you to submit. This essay checklist considerably impacts the final score because colleges and universities assess not only students’ ability to express their thoughts but also their capacity to follow the established standards and demonstrate their writing skills.
Nicolas: Yes, the perfect essay results from a careful analysis of the discussed topic, compliance with a teacher’s requirements, and a student’s ability to establish a connection with their reader, enabling them to understand the author’s point of view.
Q: What is the perfect length for an essay?
Victoria: There’s no standard length for all essays. If your teacher has provided an essay checklist and specified the number of pages you must submit, you definitely should follow this requirement. For example, if the instructions state: “Write a two-to-three-page paper discussing the importance of overcoming inequality in modern society”, there’s no need to write four or more pages because such a decision can reduce your score, since you won’t have met the established requirements.
Nicolas: If you have no standards regarding the number of pages, remember that a compact volume is what makes a good essay. Use every sentence and passage wisely; don’t make your paper wordy and meaningless. A good essay shows your clear and concise ideas supported by relevant arguments and credible sources.
If you’re trying to understand what is an essay’s most suitable volume, remember that it’s better to write two pages that clearly discuss all your arguments than five pages that repeat the same thought throughout the essay.
Q: How to choose the most appropriate topic for a good essay?
Victoria: If a teacher provides a specific topic to write about, you cannot choose others, since it can lead to a bad grade. However, if you have a list of topics, select the one you feel the most passionate about to write a good essay.
Nicolas: Or you can choose the issue you are aware of and have formed your own opinion about.
Victoria: For example, imagine you have recently read George Orwell’s 1984, and now your teacher has included it in the list of books you need to write a reflection on. You definitely need to choose this one to submit the perfect essay.
Nicolas: By the way, if you want to know what makes a good essay, remember that it should focus on one specific topic. Don’t try to include several issues in your paper because it can make it illogical and difficult to understand. Select one topic and provide a few arguments that support your opinion.
Q: What about professional terms and phrases, abbreviations, contractions, and informal language? Is it a good idea to use them in an essay?
Victoria: You can use professional terms and phrases only if the instructions require it. Otherwise, it’s better to avoid professional terms, abbreviations, informal language, and contractions if your aim is to write a good essay. You need to use formal language, but make it simple to let the reader perceive what an essay is about. For example, it’s better to avoid writing, “IMO, stress adversely affects people’s psychological wellness and ability to achieve the established goals, so it’s critical to maintain low-stress levels to remain productive.” You can instead use the following sentence in your essay: “In my opinion, stress adversely affects people’s psychological wellness and ability to achieve the established goals, proving the importance of maintaining low-stress levels to remain productive.” This example follows the academic requirements and is clear for all readers regardless of their background knowledge, language skills, and overall awareness of the topic.
Nicolas: Likewise, avoid slang and aggressive words or language in your paper, since a formal tone is what makes a good essay. Be polite and use simple language to submit a good essay and help your reader understand what an essay is about. Consider that some readers may be unaware of the topic or issue you are analyzing in your paper, explaining why simplicity is an integral part of a good essay.
Q: What is a good essay in terms of structure?
Nicolas: Dividing your essay into an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion is always a win-win. An introduction helps your reader understand what is an essay’s topic. You can use a hook, an exciting or unexpected idea, in your first sentence to make readers interested in your paper. The last sentence of your introduction should be a thesis statement that clearly states your opinion and explains what is an essay’s primary idea. For instance, if you are writing about the causes of depression, you can use the following thesis to write a good essay: “Depression is a widespread issue in the modern world caused by numerous factors, including family history, health problems, medications, drugs, alcohol, and personality.”
Victoria: The body paragraphs should support your thesis and analyze your arguments. Using the above-discussed example, a good essay should include at least four paragraphs, each discussing the impact of family history, health problems, medications, drugs, alcohol, and personality on depression separately. Specifically, analyzing one factor per paragraph will help your reader clearly understand what an essay is analyzing. In this case, medications, drugs, and alcohol may be discussed in one section because they are related.
A conclusion should summarize what is an essay talking about and inspire readers to analyze the discussed topic.
Q: What does your own essay checklist include?
Nicolas: My essay checklist helps me analyze papers from different perspectives. For example, I check whether I have used transitional words because a good essay should include transition words and phrases to make you sound smooth and logical. You may use “moreover,” “in addition,” “likewise,” “notably,” “although,” “however,” “firstly,” “secondly,” “thirdly,” “finally,” “in conclusion,” “thus,” “therefore,” “as a result.” etc., to help your reader understand your train of thought. Likewise, my essay checklist requires me to check whether my paper is coherent and logical, whether each paragraph has a clear main point, whether I have provided arguments and examples to support my ideas, whether my body paragraphs support the thesis statement, and whether the overall essay is easy to understand.
Victoria: I’d like to add that if you want to write and submit a good essay, you need to proofread it to ensure that it’s free of errors and grammatical mistakes and sounds logical and coherent. My essay checklist includes proofreading, which helps me make my writing perfect. You can also ask your family members or friends to proofread it, so they’ll shed light on the parts that need some improvements. Moreover, using credible sources is also an inseparable part of my essay checklist.
Use relevant and reliable sources to support your arguments, since including other experts’ opinions in your essay can make you sound more confident.
Nicolas: And don’t forget to cite your sources to avoid plagiarism.
Victoria: Exactly! Discussing the topic you feel passionate about and following our tips will help you write the perfect essay and receive the highest score for your efforts.