When writing your essays and theses, there are several things to bear in mind – follow these tips to writing a successful document and make sure you give yourself enough time to proofread your work afterwards!
Always keep your reader's background in mind. You must ask yourself: Who is my audience? How much can you (reasonably) expect them to know about the subject of your essay or thesis before they start to read your text? Usually, they are quite knowledgeable about the general topic, but they are unlikely to have the detailed knowledge that you have. So make sure you spell difficult new concepts out clearly. It if often helpful to mentally picture someone you know who has the appropriate background, and to imagine that you are explaining your ideas directly to them.
Don't make the readers work too hard. This is vitally important. You know what questions the examiners need answers for so choose section titles and wordings to clearly give them this information. The harder it is for them to work out your answers, your conclusions and contributions, the more likely they are to view your work unfavourably. It is also likely that your work will need substantial revisions.
It's impossible to be too clear. Clarity is key. Spell things out carefully, underscore important sections with appropriate titles etc. There's a large amount of information in an essay or thesis: make sure you direct the readers to the answers to important questions.
An essay or thesis is not a story. Never forget this. The text usually doesn't follow the chronology of things that you thought it would. It's a formal document that is designed to answer only a few major questions.
Don't use overblown phrases like "Obviously, it follows that ..." or "Clearly, this is the case..." as these imply that, if your readers don't understand what you mean, then they must be less intelligent than you are. The reason they might not have understood is because you explained it poorly.
Avoid claims that are really just your personal opinion (like "The pharaonic era was the most important era in Egypt's history"), which may not be substantiated by the literature or the answers you have presented. Examiners love to pick on sentences like that and start asking questions. Don't give them the opportunity to do so!
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