How to write a first class essay

Guest posts

Faculty: Business and Law
School: School of Economics, Finance and Law
Course: LLB (Hons) Law
Category: Student Blogs

29 March 2018

Helga Hejny

Writing an essay can feel like quite a difficult task… but fear not. Sometimes it’s just about having a few useful tips up your sleeve and a bit of practice (and I’m pretty sure you’ll have plenty of opportunity to practice). Helga Hejny, Lecturer in Law, offers some simple advice that could help you get the process started.

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ~ William Faulkner.

  1. Start your assignment as early as possible because a first class essay requires plenty of revision and polishing. Setting aside two or three weeks for improving the content of your essay will render a high understanding of the module. Moreover, starting early will also allow you to gather all the necessary and additional information for your essay. Once the assignment is released, you can start making a small plan and gather up materials to include on the essay. You will get excited and motivated once you have adequate materials and information gathered.
  2. Only answer the question being asked. Irrelevant information will make your essay uncertain and will be harder to illustrate your overall understanding of the module to the marker.
  3. Write shorter sentences instead of an overly long sentence spaced with 3 or more commas. Long sentences are usually harder to understand compared to shorter ones. However, if it is necessary for you to use more than 3 commas in one sentence, ensure it is accurate.  
  4. Do not underestimate the essay topic/questions! The assignment questions may require you to critically analyse and provide sufficient primary sources. Primary sources are especially critical and are credible.
  5. Use as many primary sources such as cases and statutes. Secondary sources are also useful for background information. Avoid using the internet too much as some websites may not be fully updated and credible for academic reference.
  6. Make sure you accurately use Oscola referencing system for legal citations. Avoid making small errors. Double check by referring to the referencing guide given by the University.

Remember to reward yourself and enjoy the course. If you manage your time well, there is no need for an ‘all-nighter’.

What things have worked for you? Share your tips in the comments below.

By Helga Hejny, Lecturer in Law


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