5 Common Essay Mistakes to Avoid for Better Grades

Writing essays is a common task in college, and it can sometimes feel like a daunting challenge. It’s not just you who find them overwhelming; your teachers feel the pressure too. They have to read, critique, and grade numerous essays, which can be quite time-consuming.

So, to make their job easier and improve your chances of getting a good grade, here are five common essay mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Summarizing the Whole Story

One of the biggest mistakes students make is providing a lengthy summary of the text they are analyzing. While it may seem like a good idea to provide a complete overview at the beginning, your teachers have likely read the same text repeatedly. They don’t need another recap of the story. Instead, focus on highlighting the key elements of the text that are relevant to your essay’s direction. This will help you frame the most important themes in relation to the point you want to make.

Mistake #2: Random Quotes

Including quotes in your essay is essential, but it’s important to choose them wisely. Rather than simply meeting the assignment’s minimum requirement by throwing in random quotes, carefully select quotes that you can build upon. Look for quotes that highlight key character traits, subtext, or the importance of the environment. Each quote you use should serve your argument and contribute to the overall coherence of your essay.

Mistake #3: Clichéd Terminology

Using clichéd expressions and overused phrases in your essay can be a major turn-off for your teacher. They have read countless essays and are tired of seeing the same old simplistic and played-out language. Take the opportunity to be creative and think outside the box. Instead of relying on clichés, consider using similes, analogies, or metaphors to enhance your writing and make it more engaging.

Mistake #4: Grammar Goof-ups

Grammar mistakes can greatly detract from the quality of your essay. It’s important to pay attention to homonyms, homographs, and other grammar rules that you learned in school. Mixing up words like “there,” “their,” and “they’re” can make your teacher facepalm. Take the time to double-check the correct spelling and usage of similar-sounding words. Don’t confuse a “pair” with a “pear” unless you’re writing about a “pair of pears.”

Mistake #5: No Conclusion

Reaching the end of your essay only to find that you have nothing to say in the conclusion is a common mistake. An essay without a conclusion is like a road with no end, leaving your reader without a sense of closure. To avoid this, plan your conclusion before you start writing. Begin with the end in mind and structure your essay to support your final conclusion. Knowing where you’re going makes it easier to finish strong.

Conclusion [pun intended]

By avoiding these common essay mistakes, you’ll not only make your teacher’s job easier but also increase your chances of earning better grades. Remember to summarize selectively, use quotes strategically, be creative with your language, watch out for grammar errors, and always conclude your essays effectively.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to writing more impressive, coherent, and compelling essays.

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