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How to Write a Winning Essay.

I wrote this little system to help my twelve year olds write their school assignments, then took a look at it and realized it would work pretty well for you and me too. Enjoy!

1) Talk it out. Find a subject that really interests you. Play around with a few different “points to prove” until you come up with one that really excites you.

2) Write down your main point. Make sure you’ve really stated it clearly and well.

3) Do your research. Fill out your sheet with more than enough supporting evidence. Go beyond the source material. Use the Internet as well. Find interesting connections to your subject.

4) Write a draft. Start with your “thesis statement” – the point you aim to prove – and write out your essay. Don’t worry, just write. Write fast. Write stupid stuff. Write long. Write until finished without looking back.

5) Now read what you wrote. Notice what is working and what isn’t. What’s missing? What’s out of order? Do you have a good beginning, middle and end? Make good notes on the page. Cross out things you want to delete. Write in things you want to add.

6) Now revise. First get the order right. Then the sentences. Then work on the transitions. Finally read it through and make any changes to make it sound good from beginning to end.

7) Now proof read. Always have someone else read it too and mark up grammatical and spelling errors, but only after you’ve done your best to find and correct everything.

8) Correct and print!

9) Get credit. Make a plan for remembering to turn it in.