For those who haven’t been in the academic loop for a while – or for those who have just graduated high school and are finding the transition into tertiary study to be challenging – learning how to write in an academic context is an extremely important and useful skill. Being able to articulate your thoughts clearly and in an accepted format is essential for not just learning but for passing your classes with grades that reflect the effort you’ve put in. Academic writing is more of a habit than anything, and once you get started you’ll find it comes more and more naturally to you. A wide range of online resources can help you hone your academic writing skills.
Harvard Essay Structure Guide. One of the hardest parts about writing an essay is figuring out how to structure it and decide what you want to write about – what your argument is, how best to present it and where the optimal place to explain each idea is. This comprehensive guide from Harvard focuses on how to get the substance of your essay in good shape by creating an essay map that takes into account what the reader of the essay will be looking for as they read it. The marker will be looking for you to follow a comprehensive, fluid format.
Purdue MLA Formatting Guide. Formatting an essay can be a bit intimidating at first – there are specific guides that must be followed, ranging from spacing to referencing material. If you don’t follow these conventions, you’ll be marked down. It may seem unnecessarily pedantic, but it’s to ensure that the marker is understanding your work correctly. This guide by Purdue tells you everything you need to know about formatting your essay, including how to set up the paper and make quotations.
EasyBib. Formatting the bibliography is a notoriously frustrating part of creating an academic essay. EasyBib lets you enter the name, author and format (including websites and journals) of your source and automatically generates a bibliographic entry for you, which you can then simply copy and paste into the bibliography page of your essay.
Getting a handle on an academic writing style takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it you’ll find it easy to create professional-sounding prose and to structure your thoughts and ideas correctly.