Political Science Majors, it’s that time of the year. Finals are right around the corner and we are all preparing to write our final essays. They may be scary and you might feel extremely inclined to be lazy and write a lazy paper. However, here are 5 effective writing strategies to help you write your best essay.
1. Read the Entire Prompt
This is a given. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if one of my peers answered the prompt completely wrong because they did not read a certain part. It is imperative that you read the entire prompt before you do anything. Read it once, then re-read it just to clarify what it is saying/asking. Besides, it never hurts to take a few extra seconds to clearly identify what the teacher is asking of you.
2. Write Your Thesis
After you have read the prompt closely and carefully, you should now think of what your main argument or stance is going to be. This is going to be the central theme of your paper so it needs to be clear and effective. If you come to a writer’s block and cannot think of a thesis, try to go back and look for keywords within the prompt. Finding something that you are familiar with may ignite the flame that you’re going to leave on the desk from how amazing your paper will be.
3. Create an Outline
Now that you have thought of your thesis, it is time to create an outline. Mapping out an outline can be immensely helpful as it helps organize your thoughts into different paragraphs. Writing your outline may take some time, but do not worry about being super specific. An outline is supposed to be somewhat of a vague guide to guide your thoughts throughout the paper. If you have a thought but are not sure whether or not you should include it in your paper, write it somewhere on your outline just in case it could possibly come up later.
4. Address Every Part of the Prompt
If your prompt asks you to list A, B, and C, and you only list A and B, then there is going to be a reduction in the grade that you get on the paper. Please ensure that you have addressed all parts of the prompt before turning in your essays. Many teachers are adamant about students responding to the entire prompt rather than one or two parts of the prompt. If it is part of the prompt, make it a part of your paper.
5. Draw Comparisons
This is a huge aspect of Political Science essays, especially in comparative and global politics. Drawing comparisons between countries or different government systems is a great way to earn a boost in your mark. Even if it is not listed in the prompt, it’d be wise that you leave a paragraph before your conclusion, that compares whatever it is you’re writing about, between two different countries. If this is already emphasized by your instructor, then you have nothing to worry about.
6. Library Tutors
UCSC has plenty of resources to take advantage of if you are struggling with writing your essays. Specifically for Political Science majors, the McHenry library is home to the various Politics study groups. The sessions are usually held by TA’s or graduate students who have already taken the course and can provide constructive criticisms. These are NOT sections, rather a more loose, voluntary study group that exists to offer extra help for those who need it. Held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7-9, you can catch these groups on the second floor in the study rooms by the bookshelves.
7. Visit Professor Eaton
Professor Kent Eaton, also known as the Politics 60 instructor, is always more than happy to help when it comes to essays. Eaton doesn’t sit there and help you write your paper, rather he helps you understand the course content, making it easier to come up with a thesis. Moreover, he is a diligent editor and will edit your paper for you only once before you turn in the final. If you’re absolutely stuck and clueless as to what you need to write and how you are going to write it, Professor Eaton is the best resource.
Writing final essays is no walk in the park, especially if you are a political science major. However, it is with great hope that these strategies are helpful to you during this finals rush and the many future essays that you may write. UCSC is filled with many valuable resources, you just have to know where to look.