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Achieving Excellence: Steps to Writing First-Class Essays

Jul 11, 2023

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Jul 11, 2023 | Blog

For an essay to be considered first-class, it must have a 70% grade or higher.

You must attain 75% in some situations to have a first-class essay.

Many students find this percentage very high, and it is impossible to attain this for them.

It would help if you did not give up on getting a first-class essay because there are main ways students can do this to attain it.

This guide will highlight various steps you must undertake to help you write first-class essays.

The steps are systematic and easy to read.

Take your time and familiarize yourself with the steps, and you will be assured of getting first-class essays.


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Step 1: Understand the Marking Criteria

Understanding the criteria you should meet when writing a first-class essay.

Many students are unaware of this and may not attain the first-class qualification.

Consider taking your time and getting every information you need to know the criteria you should meet to be awarded a first-class.

Get to know what a marker expects of you to attain a first.

You can write a first-class paper by meeting these points with this information.

Take your time and read your course handbook because most of these criteria are highlighted in the book.

It is also important to consider your essay question because additional information on your expectations may exist.

Ensure you don’t take any information for granted when writing the essay.

The criteria that are mostly highlighted by the marker in writing an essay include;

  • Content criteria
  • Presentation of the essay
  • Referencing Styles
  • Critical analysis
  • Technical knowledge
  • Grammar and spelling
  • The structure and coherence of the essay and many others.

Ensuring you understand every criterion is important because you will not give any room for assumption.

Understand that every essay has criteria, and assuming one is related to the other is a bad idea.

As you write down your essay, ensure you are conversant with every criterion used for marking.

When you follow the criteria, you will progress towards getting the first-class essay grade you want.


Step 2: Put Some Thought into Choosing Your Question

When choosing your essay question, you must put it into considerable thought.

Don’t just select a question because you are familiar with it or it sounds interesting.

Interest and familiarity have their part in the essay, but there are more important things that you need to look for when choosing your question.

When selecting a topic, it is important to ensure it is manageable.

In selecting a question on a topic, choose one that is narrow because broad questions may make you get out of the topic.

To reduce the chances of Steering off your topic, take time and choose a question you can manage.

Considering this would help because you may not earn a first-class when you leave the topic.

Confirm that there is enough literature on the topic you have selected for your essay to have a supportive document.

Using reputable and enough academic sources and those of a high standard is very important to get a first-class paper.

Take your time and ensure you have access to the various materials you require for the topic.

Ensure you have done this before starting your project to save time as you write it.

Some topics are special and may require you to conduct primary research because there is little literature.

You can avoid such topics because they will consume a lot of time you do not have.

Primary research may take a lot of time because you need to ensure you have rigorously demonstrated your methodologies.


Step 3: Understand the Question

How well are you able to understand your question?

One of the reasons students fail in essays is a lack of understanding of their essay questions.

Essay questions are posed using directive words.

Directive words include an outline, critically analyze, and many others.

Familiarize yourself with these directive words to know what is required of you on the essay question.

Consider thinking carefully about the following questions.

  • “Assess”

You must take a critical approach when you have an essay question with an assessment.

You are expected to highlight the main features of the question and devoid of bias.

Evaluate the extent of the essay question highlighting viewpoints that may contradict yours.

This way, you will demonstrate the critical engagement required to attain a first-class essay.

  • “Discuss”

Discuss is a sensitive directive word requiring the skill and knowledge to tackle it.

Think critically about the question that is being posed.

While writing an essay with this directive word, it is important to back your position with evidence.

As a directive word, you are expected to determine the role of the essay question and its influence.

You can find many more directive words in essays; familiarizing yourself with them and knowing what is expected of you will save you from writing an essay.

Familiarizing yourself is important because you will know how to tackle an essay question.

You will reduce your chances of getting the first class when you have answered essay questions wrongly.

When you cannot understand your essay question, consult your tutor to think through the question and get clarity.

Please do not assume anything concerning a question or refresh it for your good.

When you do this, you will be drifting from a first-class score.


Step 4: Quality of Sources and Referencing System

Reading widely concerning the subject is important when you understand your essay question.

While doing your literature review, you must stay focused on the topic.

In writing a first-class essay, showing that you are conversant with the subject is important.

Where applicable, you must provide theoretical and empirical literature.

Use textbooks, journals, articles, and any other new sources that you can get concerning your subject.

Journals are very important because they can provide current research concerning your topic.

This is because they are frequently published.

Remember to check the marking criteria when referencing so that you may be on the right track.

Using academic instead of online sources is usually preferable when referencing and getting sources. Also, employ excellent use of citation.

You must consider academic sources because not all information can be reliable online.

Consider the reputation of academic scholars and databases.

You can also consider incorporating primary research of your own.

Ensure your essay is well-researched.

You can consider using the recommended reading list on your essay question.

A reading list is very important when working on your essay because it will give you direction.

A reading list may be under various categories.

These categories are;


Essential Reading

Some essay questions will require you to use specific important books in completing your course.

It is important to consider the books categorized as essential when writing your essay.

Make a point of using the book because you may lose some marks if you avoid it.

This may reduce the chances of getting first-class.


Further Reading

After doing essential reading, you can consider getting other sources to help you with the same subject.

Your supervisor recommends these Readings, which should be the foundation of your wide Reading.

These readings are very important because they help you get insights concerning the essay and give you a different perspective.

Some further reading materials may be general, and you may not require them in your essay.

While doing further reading, you can narrow down the scope of your question to get good content.

When referencing your sources, you must consider the needed criteria.

Ensure that in writing your essay, you reference correctly.

Be careful in this section because when you fail to reference correctly, you may lose marks, leading to not getting first-class.

Familiarize yourself with the referencing styles required to be easy for you to do referencing.

When you reference properly, you will get the required points, which may propel you to getting the first-class.

Referencing also assures the reader that you have not plagiarized your work.

Plagiarism is an offense when it comes to writing an essay, and it can lead to the termination of your paper.


Step 5: Depth of Knowledge

You may have a good collection of sources for your essay, but you don’t have the required knowledge.

Ensure you read your sources properly to display your understanding of your essay.

Being able to display your viewpoint will let the reader know you know what you are talking about.

While reading, you must refer back to the essay question to use the necessary information for the subject you’re writing about.


Step 6: Frame Your Argument Coherently

You can form an opinion concerning the research as you read your literature sources.

It is important always to keep the essay question in mind so that your viewpoints may be within this category.

Ensure that your arguments and answers are structured coherently.

When you do this, the marker will be able to follow your arguments step-by-step as he will be able to gain insights into your thought process.

Being able to reason through essay writing and thinking skillfully will bring a wider perspective concerning your subject, which is very important in bringing coherent opinions.

Keeping the opinions of other scholars in mind is very important because it will show that you have read and done your research correctly.

When writing critical essays, being critical and focused will be important.

When writing an essay to attain a first-class, it is not all about descriptions.

When writing a descriptive essay, what is required of you is to describe and summarize the arguments.

To write a first-class essay, you must show your viewpoint, arguments, and critics and defend the essay question.

You can consider showing any opposition concerning your arguments and, simultaneously, show why you stand on your viewpoints.

This is a sign of doing good research.

Make sure while situating your argument, you are within the literature framework.

Ensure that you include theoretical and conceptual frameworks, as this is academic writing.


Step 7: Structure Carefully

You need to think carefully about the structure of your essay.

To create documents logically, you need to have a well-structured essay.

The structure of a first-class essay should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.



In this part, you should provide a brief background concerning the paper.

You should also state your research question here.

Citing the research aims is also important in the introduction part.

When you can describe the focus of your essay in the introduction, you will aim for a first-class score.

Make sure that your introduction is as brief as possible.

When highlighting your points, let them be straightforward.

An introduction is all about summarizing the reader’s expectations of your essay.

For a first-class essay, you must include a thesis statement that will explain your arguments concerning your paper.


Main Body

The body contains some paragraphs that explain the advanced argument of your paper.

This is the section where you provide answers to your essay question.

You should explicitly give out details and your arguments concerning the essay question.

When writing paragraphs, you must ensure you are not too lengthy.

Ensure that every paragraph has an important point to be discussed to avoid confusion.

This way, you will maintain a well-focused and coherent essay.

While starting a paragraph, you must start with an introduction summarising your argument.

Your arguments and key points will influence the number of paragraphs you will have in your essay.

When you write a good body, you will have a high chance of being awarded first-class on your essay.



The conclusion is the final step in writing an essay.

It summarizes what you have been talking about in the body.

Summarizing your paper’s key findings will help you get the first class in your essay.

Being able to show the implications of the research findings and arguments for literature is also important.

The marker will be assured that you have done good research on your subject when you do.

This also shows you know how your research fits within the community.

It is also important to provide recommendations for future research if there is a gap your university-level paper did not discuss.


Step 8: Clarity and Style

When writing a first-class essay, your writing style is fundamental.

Ensure that you engage the reader with your writing Style.

Use the right technical terms that have academic terminologies.

The use of formal language is expected in your essay.

Reading through various journals to see the writing style is very important because it will help you with your essay.

Academic terms are very important when writing an essay, and it is important to familiarize yourself by reading various journals.

When writing, you must maintain the third person.

A first-class essay will demonstrate a high level of technical knowledge.

A solid argument and an accurate structure will also demonstrate a first-class essay.

Consider the academic style required when referencing to do this correctly.

Cross-checking with the essay criteria is very important because you will be following the requirements of the essay.

Ensure that you are as professional as possible while conveying your argument.

In the paragraph section, ensure that they are well-linked for progression.


Step 9: Proper Presentation

Proper presentation is very important when writing an essay in which you want to achieve a first-class score.

Be organized and ensure you’re following the academic requirements when it comes to the presentation of your essay.

Consider the specifications given on line spacing, font size, and margin.

Ensure you adhere to this requirement to be on your way to achieving first-class.

Do proofreading to ensure your ungrammatical writing is free from grammatical errors and spelling.


Step 10: Originality

You will demonstrate your originality on the paper through your critical reasoning skills.

Ensure that you have a well-thought-out argument that is original.

When demonstrating your arguments, you must ensure they are clear, conscious, and formal.

Confidence is also a key factor in originality as you express your opinion.

Use examples and data to back up your arguments.

Avoid summarizing arguments in the literature and use your ability to think critically and independently for originality.

When you summarize the literature, you may lose a lot of marks because the marker cannot trace your point of view in the argument.


Tips for Writing a first-class essay

There is no set formula for writing a first-class essay, but the following guidelines will help you to get the right balance and include all the essential elements.

  1. Use clear English. This means using simple words and sentences and avoiding jargon and technical terms where appropriate. Avoid complex constructions (e.g., “The research undertaken by many academics in the field of business studies has demonstrated that X is very important”) and replace them with simple ones (e.g., “Many academics have shown that X is very important”). You should always avoid contractions such as “don’t” or “can’t.”
  2. Write in paragraphs. Each paragraph should be about one idea or aspect of an idea, and it should be clear how your paragraphs fit together – like bricks in a wall. The opening sentence of each paragraph is known as the topic sentence, and it should indicate to the reader what will be discussed in that paragraph. The topic sentence is also used to show how this particular point relates to the main argument or question being addressed in the essay (i.e., it should link back to your introduction). The lack of links makes different aspects of the essay look incoherent. For example, if you write a history essay on medieval warfare, your first paragraph might begin with something like: “During medieval times knights were constantly involved in battle.”
  3. Know your essay’s structure. The structure is essential for a first-class essay – you need to have clear ideas about the order in which points will be presented and how they will be linked. If you’re unclear at this stage, it’s worth working out a plan. The best essays are characterized by a clear line of argument throughout – I don’t buy the idea that essays should present both sides of a question. I’d much rather read an essay that went off in an unexpected but interesting direction than one plodded dutifully along a prescribed course. Start with a clear thesis statement.
  4. Always read the question and ensure you understand what you are asked to do. If the instruction is to ‘discuss,’ don’t write a list of all the possible meanings of the word ‘discuss.’ If the instruction is to ‘compare,’ don’t write an essay describing how two things are similar.
  5. Proofread your work carefully. Spelling and basic grammar mistakes can cause a loss of easy marks. Still, more importantly, they distract the examiner from what you have written – particularly if they occur frequently in the same sentence or paragraph. If there is time, leave your essay aside for a day or so before proofreading. It is easier to spot mistakes on a fresh paper than on an essay you have just finished.
  6. Read the syllabus. If you’re really in trouble, call your professor. Don’t wait until the last minute to write your essay! Give yourself plenty of time. You’re much less likely to make silly mistakes if you’re not rushed.
  7. Outline what you want to say before you start writing. This will prevent you from wandering off-topic. A well-written essay should have at least three main components: an introduction, a body of several paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction sets the tone of the entire essay and should be very compelling. The body paragraphs should each deal with one idea or aspect of an idea and follow each other in a logical sequence. The conclusion is often your final chance to convince your reader to agree with your point of view.
  8. If you can, get feedback on your essay before you turn it in. Ask a friend or family member who knows good grammar and spelling to review it for you, too. Ask your professor what they expect to see in the essay as a final tip.


Things All Examiners See in Bad Essays

When you are writing an essay, you must bear in mind the examiners. What do they want to see? They want to see that you can organize and express your thoughts coherently. If they were writing the essay, what would they like to see?

There are many things that all examiners see in bad essays. It is important to consider each of these points when writing an essay.

1. Poor planning

Always plan your essay before you start writing. Planning does not mean writing full sentences; you should know the main points you will cover. This will help you focus on the question, making it easier to write a good essay.

Planning also allows you to stay on topic throughout your essay. You will avoid unnecessary detours along the way and stick to the subject of your paper. Most students fail to do this when they sit down to write their essays.

2. Weak structure

You must have a clear structure in your essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Each paragraph in the body of the essay should start with a topic sentence that states the main point of that paragraph. The fluidity of your essay should be evident, with the paragraphs flowing logically from one point to another. If you present different points of view, make sure they are clearly separated and each point is discussed fully and supported with evidence.

3. Failure to address the question

You must keep referring back to the question to answer it fully. You should not deviate from the question, as this will result in a poor mark. The examiner needs to see that you understand what is being asked of you and have thought about how to answer it. You must show your understanding of key terms or concepts in the question; this shows that you

4. Lack of a clear thesis

In the introduction, a thesis statement should be stated. This thesis statement should be clear and precise and address your essay’s main argument.

When you write an essay, you need to have a clear thesis. This is your argument. It’s what you’re going to prove to the reader. The essay will be weak and unfocused if you don’t clearly understand your thesis. It will read as a summary of your findings rather than an argument.

5. Deviation from the topic

It’s a good idea to write in some detail about the thing(s) that the question asks you to write about, and it’s also OK sometimes to mention other things, too, if they’re closely related to what has been asked for. But if a large proportion of your essay is taken up with discussions of stuff that isn’t relevant, then it’s not going to get a first-class grade.

6. Summarising without elaboration

Essays are not there for you to practice your summarising skills: they are there to show off how much you know about something and how well you can argue about it. That means analyzing or explaining

Essays should never just summarize what you’ve read or an unconnected series of unrelated arguments. Examiners hate this because they know that they can easily find these summaries by doing a Google search or simply searching on Wikipedia. So if you do this, they’ll be able to tell immediately that you haven’t done any real work on your essay!

7. Lack of critical analysis

Well, first of all, it is important to critically analyze what has been asked. This means rather than just retelling the story; you will be required to evaluate it by showing how its ideas and concepts develop. This means you must focus on the ideas and arguments presented, not merely on the plotline or narrative.

A good essay will show evidence of critical and independent thinking. In other words, an examiner wants to see that you can critically engage with your chosen text. This is about demonstrating that you can make intelligent observations about a text based on the evidence available within it. It does not mean you must make sweeping generalizations about the text from the outset. Instead, you must build up your argument based on the evidence presented within the text.

8. Insufficient development of ideas

Another problem with essays is that there can be insufficient development of ideas. This means that your arguments may lack strength and credibility. You must explain the reasoning for your arguments. This helps to convince the examiner and will help you gain those crucial marks.

9. Failure to present opposing arguments

Examiners also see a lot of essays where students fail to present opposing arguments. A good essay should recognize that there might be another great way of looking at something, so don’t just focus on one side of the argument. You should acknowledge the opposing argument and explain why your argument is better – this will help demonstrate your critical thinking skills and strengthen your position.

10. Statements unsupported by evidence

This is the most common reason for a bad essay, and it’s your fault. You have made claims but haven’t backed them up with evidence. If you don’t back up your claims, you’ll be guilty of making unsubstantiated assertions rather than arguing a case, and no one will believe what you say.

11. Lack of background reading

Examiners want to see that you have done the reading before you write your essay and that you have come across more information than will fit into your essay. You should read as many primary sources as possible in addition to secondary sources; also, secondary sources should be supplemented by tertiary ones (e.g., encyclopedias and dictionaries).

How can you argue with them if you don’t know what others have said about a topic? How can you disagree? You won’t get a good grade if you don’t know the material. You’ll also sound naive and uninformed – again, not good for your grade.

12. Poor transitions between paragraphs

Transitions between paragraphs must be smooth, not abrupt; they must signal what’s coming next (e.g., “In addition…” or “In contrast…”); they also foreshadow the end of an essay by summarizing what has already been said (e.g., “So far we’ve seen….”).


Signs That You’ve Written a First-Class Essay

  1. a wide-ranging knowledge and exceptional understanding of relevant material
  2. professional presentation, with footnotes and bibliography of a professional, scholarly standard
  3. a comprehensive and effective answer to the question
  4. confident handling of analytical terms and critical concepts
  5. strong structure and clear signposting maintained throughout
  6. lucid style and outstanding professional standard of English
  7. critical appraisal of a variety of relevant sources
  8. precise, focused argument
  9. accurate analysis and effective criticism of others’ arguments
  10. awareness of the academic debate surrounding the subject
  11. sound apprehension of context and rationale of ideas
  12. evidence of the independence of thought and original thinking


Final Thoughts!

You will likely get a first-class essay when you follow the abovementioned steps.

The steps are easy to follow; therefore, you can read and reread them until you get the concept of writing your essay.

If there is any step you would want more clarification on, you can contact us because we are here to help you.

When you read and understand these steps, you will be assured of getting a first-class in your essay.

As essay writers, we have been able to help thousands of students in essay writing, and they have been able to achieve first-class.

We are an essay writing service provider with a good reputation in the market, and we assure you of giving you the best services in your essay writing.

Our work is original and plagiarism free.

We have experts specializing in different academic writing subjects so that you can get an essay on any subject.

We can provide customized services since we understand our clients have different requirements.

Contact us and let us know how we can help you.


 Get Help from the Experts with your First Class Essay 

If you’re new to essay writing or struggling with your assignments, we are here to help. We offer various services, from full writing and editing to proofreading and research.

Our expert writers have years of experience in their fields and can quickly and easily help you with your needs. Our services are comprehensive and flexible, so you can use them for as long as you need them. Whether you’ve got a quick turnaround or need to stretch your work over a few weeks, our writers can finish the job quickly and effectively.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is a first-class essay?


A first-class essay is a high-quality academic essay that meets or exceeds the criteria for the highest grade, typically 70% or above.

How do you write a first-class paragraph?


To write a first-class paragraph, ensure it has a clear topic sentence that introduces the main point, provides supporting evidence or examples, and offers a concise analysis or explanation.

How do you write a first-class essay structure?


To achieve a first-class essay structure, start with a clear introduction that includes a thesis statement, develop well-organized body paragraphs with coherent arguments and supporting evidence, and end with a strong conclusion summarizing key points.

How do I write my first essay?


When writing your first essay, begin by understanding the essay question, conducting research on the topic, creating an outline to organize your thoughts, and then writing the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, ensuring clarity, coherence, and proper referencing throughout.



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