Before writing an academic paper, students should always read sample essays first. A poet would read poetry before ever setting pen to paper and novelists read thousands of books before writing. Likewise, students should always read examples of academic essays before they write their own papers.
Adjectives, adverbs and opinions are common in literary essays, but seldom used in scientific essays. Before writing in a new subject area, reading an example essay helps students learn about the type of style that is common to the academic topic. For history papers, fact-based arguments support a central thesis. Often, these papers use quotes from primary or secondary sources. In comparison, an economics essay would rely entirely on facts or data to make a point. Gaining a good grasp of the styles of the subject area must be done before trying to write an essay.
Chicago Style, APA and MLA are common styles used for writing academic papers. While Chicago Style is popular among business and history majors, MLA is typically used by the humanities. APA is common among subjects related to science or psychology. Any undergraduate student will often have to use at least two of these styles during their academic career. Although reading the rules or buying a writing guide is always an option, viewing an example of the paper is always easier. Details and rules that are confusing in a writing guide are simpler to understand when they are viewed in the context of an actual paper.
When it comes to actually writing the essay, a sample is an invaluable tool. Students can look at the sample to figure out how to structure a logical essay. They should consider how the author chooses to present facts and if their evidence is sound. The positives of the essay's structure, evidence and clarity can be reproduced in the student's essay. If there are errors or illogical conclusions, these mistakes serve as an opportunity for the student to figure out a better way to structure their argument.
Using a sample essay is an excellent way for students to figure out how to write an essay. These samples offer insight into the format of each writing style and examples of logical arguments. For students who are stuck on creating a thesis or uncertain how to marshal evidence, using a sample essay is a technique for getting a head start on academic papers.
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