What makes a great essay?


Faculty: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Course: BA (Hons) English Literature
Category: Student Ambassador

31 May 2017

If you’re coming to ARU, you’re probably wondering how exactly you can write a great essay to get those top marks. Here's my advice on writing a great essay for English Literature.


The most important thing is that you have an original argument. Which do you think would get the higher mark: the 40th essay about how Mr Hyde is monstrous, or something more original? Looking at the marking criteria, the difference between a 2:1 (60-69%) and a 1st (70%+) is originality. If you can bring something new to the table, you’re already off to a good start.


There’s nothing worse than an essay that makes absolutely no sense. Make sure you clearly state in your introduction what your argument is and what texts you are looking at. Each point you make should be relevant to your argument and you should state how. Also, ensure you conclude your essay well, rounding up all the points you made.

Standard of English

This goes without saying, but make sure you have a good standard of English in your writing. Avoid spelling and grammatical errors at all costs. Definitely make sure your writing makes sense; try reading it aloud, as this can help you work out if it makes sense or not.

There is plenty of help available for you to make sure you are submitting the best work possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. You can see your tutors about essays for extra guidance, and also make an appointment with the Literary Royal Fellows who are there to help with your writing and will read over any work you already have. Study Skills Plus also offers some writing workshops.

Good luck with your submissions!



The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.