Didn’t we all hear the phrase ‘learn from your mistakes’? And don’t we all just silently hate it? I know I do — making mistakes isn’t exactly what I strive to do. When it comes to writing essays, I thought I had it under control until I got a C for my argumentative essay. Next time I needed to write an argumentative essay, I wasn’t going to take any chances and turned to a Personal Nerd.
My name is Zoe and this is my story on how I failed my argumentative essay and learned from my mistakes the easy way — with Personal Nerd’s advice.
For reference: the topic of my essay was “Black vs White Manhood: We Have a Problem”
I Didn’t Organize My Argumentative Essay Writing Process, At All
As you can probably imagine, my topic was a challenging one. It’s got a lot of aspects — cultural, social, and psychological. Looking back at my writing process now I get that I never took the work seriously enough and just wrote what I could and whenever I could. I was never dedicated.
Creating a schedule and organizing the essay writing process is the first step to writing an A+ paper.
My Personal Nerd said that creating a schedule for writing any essay or doing any time-consuming homework is a must — it helps organize the writing process and get the best value. I followed this advice and created a concise schedule on my phone, marking every stage of the essay writing process — preliminary literature research, creating an outline, writing a draft, writing the final paper, and proofreading. I knew exactly what I needed to do, so I could easily evaluate how much time I needed to process all the information and come up with a truly great paper. Moreover, I had enough time to polish it and correct all the grammar and punctuation mistakes.
I Didn’t Create Thesis Statement To Start An Argumentative Essay
If there’s one thing I had no clue about before turning to a Personal Nerd, it was thesis statement. Don’t get me wrong — I surely knew what it was, but never paid enough attention to creating a thesis statement or understood its true value in an argumentative essay.
Creating a thesis statement is one of the most effective ways to make the essay logical and consistent, because you can alight every argument and fact to your main idea and make sure you don’t digress from it.
One of the first advice that my Personal Nerd gave me was to create a solid thesis statement, because it reflects the main idea and is the core of the whole paper, however long the paper is. I gotta admit that creating a thesis statement isn’t as simple as it seems — you can do it only after preliminary literature research. The thing is, you need to know the topic really well to form the main idea of the paper. Thesis statement helped me a lot during the process of writing the essay, because I could check if every argument and fact aligns with it. That’s how I ensured I didn’t digress from the main point.
I Didn’t Provide Enough Arguments
The topics for argumentative essays are often very self-explanatory — they are common knowledge. For instance, we all know that global warming is bad, or that Black manhood is very different from White manhood — White males aren’t demonized the same way Black males are. That’s a common pitfall — students think several arguments are enough to convey the whole topic.
While writing an argumentative essay, try to discuss as many facts and arguments as possible — it’ll make the paper substantial, professional, and interesting, and demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.
While discussing this error, my Personal Nerd said that it was necessary to imagine that whoever read my essay had no clue about the problem I was talking about. That’s why I needed to provide and discuss every argument there was. I followed this suggestion and discovered that it helped make my essay much more substantial, interesting, and professional. I could demonstrate that the topic is complex, but I was aware about all the details about it.
My Sources Weren’t On Point
Good sources make for a great essay. Obviously, I didn’t plan to include Wikipedia as a source, but where to find relevant and reliable sources?
Good sources have three major qualities: they are up-to-date, relevant, and credible. An article from academic journal that’s up to 5 years old is perfect.
My Personal Nerd suggested that even a Google Scholar search can help find credible sources — it’s important to focus on up-to-date articles from academic journals. To check whether sources are relevant, Personal Nerd recommended reading only the abstract. Following these two suggestions, I could find 12 perfect sources within only an hour!
I Focused Only On Arguments That Supported My Opinion
Thought thrives on conflict — that’s true. To come up with a great argumentative essay, it’s not enough to just focus on one point of view, which is generally considered ‘right’ or represents the majority.
A great argumentative essay is an example of how thought thrives on conflict. It’s important to represent different viewpoints to support your idea or prove other points of view wrong to, once again, support your idea.
My Personal Nerd advised that there should be a representation of a conflict between different opinions in an argumentative essay. Comparing and contrasting these opinions helps come up with the most optimal conclusion. Refuting an adverse opinion also works great to support your opinion!
I Didn’t Include Any Examples
Argumentative essay topics are often controversial, so that time I got a C, I didn’t include any examples just to avoid getting too controversial. That was my mistake.
Examples can illustrate your point of view and support your ideas, so make sure to get the credible stories and facts from reputable sources, such as news agencies.
My Personal Nerd suggested that examples help illustrate a certain viewpoint and/or demonstrate student’s understanding of how theory and practice co-exist. To get good examples, Nerd recommended turning to reputable news agencies, such as The New York Times, Washington Post, and Forbes, which was exactly what I did. I found several relevant stories and used them to support my main idea that Black men and White men have completely different status in the American society.
I Didn’t Format Argumentative Essay Citations Correctly
Citation style I usually have to use is MLA — seemingly easy, but I managed to make several mistakes in my failed essay.
Paying attention to the citation style can save you from making a lot of errors.
My Personal Nerd said that MLA style is one of the most commonly used, so it’s better to learn it once and avoid future problems, suggesting Purdue University guidelines. It’s the most up-to-date guideline that helped me nail MLA this time.
I Didn’t Structure The Essay The Right Way
Too long introduction, body paragraphs starting and ending in citation, and too short conclusion — these were the structure issues that got me a C that time.
My Personal Nerd suggested me simple rules on how to structure the essay the best way possible:
- Introduction and conclusion shouldn’t be longer than roughly 10% of the overall essay word count, each
- Body paragraphs shouldn’t start or end with citations
- Body paragraphs should be roughly similar length
- Each body paragraph should focus on a specific sub-topic
Knowing how to structure an argumentative essay will make the process of writing it much easier and less time-consuming.
I’ve also found out how to structure each paragraph in an essay — you can check out this Nerdify guide to structuring a paragraph. Once you know all the elements and where to put them, the process get so much easier!
I Included New Ideas In Conclusion
That’s the golden rule of essay writing I broke in my failed argumentative essay.
Conclusions are for summarizing what’s been said already, not new ideas.
My Personal Nerd said that conclusion is strictly for summarizing the ideas and finding you talk about in the whole essay — not introducing new ideas. I also found out from my Nerd that writing conclusion is very easy — you just need to say whether all the arguments support your thesis statement. That was exactly what I did for my argumentative essay and it was the simplest conclusion I’ve ever written.
I Didn’t Proofread Argumentative Essay Before Submitting
If you think that proofreading is an overkill, the harsh truth is that it’s equally necessary as good sources.
Proofreading is a must if you want to get an A!
My Personal Nerd said that proofreading helps detect not only grammar and punctuation mistakes, but error in the structure of the whole paper. While proofreading, my Nerd suggested questioning whether the arguments are consistent and relevant, and whether someone with no understanding of the topic can easily comprehend it. I followed this advice and found at least 5 errors that would get me another C!
My Point Is…
Overall, correcting these mistakes and realizing what I did wrong writing that essay that got me a C helped me score 96 out of 100 for the essay on Black vs White Manhood. Personal Nerd not only knew exactly how to fix all the errors, but suggested awesome shortcuts to save time and get the best value from the process. Now I know for sure that any task is doable, given a bit of expert advice. No need to learn from mistakes anymore — I prefer doing everything great from the first try!