Cheat Sheet For Writing Essays

Transitions in an essay help the ideas to flow smoothly, a quality called coherence. You don’t want your reader jolted from idea to idea without any type of connection. Transitions both prepare the reader for a mental shift as they ease the reader smoothly into it.

Many writers struggle with using transitions naturally. They revert to the boring set of first, second, last, and in conclusion. There’s nothing wrong with those words, of course, but variety is a great benefit to an essay.

Print the transitions cheat sheet linked below and let your child reference it during the revision stage. This printable is part of my ebook Essay Tune Up.

First go through and highlight all the transitions already used. Can they be refined with a better word choice? Check the list for possible substitutes.  Because they are grouped by idea, your substitute transition will probably be found in the same section as your initial choice.

Are there places where transitions are absent but needed?  Key places to use transitions are

  • at the beginning of paragraphs
  • at the front of a conclusion sentence
  • at the addition of a new detail within a body paragraph.
Zero in on those spots and make sure that your essay flows with transition words. Encourage your young writer to use new transitions that he has not used elsewhere in the essay.

If using the term cheat sheet with your impressionable children bothers you, don’t worry. There is a second page without that potentially questionable phrase.

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Filed Under: language artsTagged With: homeschool, teaching, writing

Break the writing process up into manageable chunks; this helps you to excel at each stage and plan your time so that you hit your deadline. Follow these 7 stages to achieve optimal results from your writing:

  • Analyse the title: Work out properly in advance what the question is asking for. Note keywords and function words (for example ‘compare’, ‘analyse’ or ‘discuss’).

  • Make a timetable: Remember the 80:20 rule – 80 per cent on preparation (Stages 1–4) and 20 per cent on writing up and finishing (Stages 5–7). Make your essay timetable fit in realistically with your other commitments and put a copy up at your desk.

  • Gathering data: Keep in mind what do you need to know and where are you going to get this information from. Highlight key info in your notes and use online resources carefully and wisely.

  • Planning: Get your data down in the most helpful way you can and plan out the structure of your essay in detail before you start it.

  • Write the first draft: Remember to write for your reader, and guide them through your argument. Assume and maintain an academic voice and style.

  • Revise your draft: Print your draft out and read it through. Mark up any changes you need to make on the paper, then, back on computer make these changes to a copy of your original version and rename it.

  • Check and polish: Tidy up the finished version, paying attention to the main areas: content and presentation. Proofread your work carefully before submitting.

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