Essays are an important part of your application to the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education. We understand that writing can be difficult, especially when it’s not in your native language. Here are some tips that will help you through the process. Stage 1: Before you begin Brainstorm! One of the best ways to come up with essay ideas, is to brainstorm. At this stage, your thoughts do not have to be organized; just write down everything that comes to your mind. Once you’ve finished brainstorming, shorten the list of ideas you’ve come up with till you finally settle on one that excites you the most. Check out this link for a useful hand-out on brainstorming. Plan ahead! Creating a plan beforehand can help guide your thought process. It is best not to leave your essays till the last minute. Remember, the application questions do not have to be answered in sequential order. You can look at the essay questions first, and attempt them even before you complete the financial section of your application. Following a plan, and dividing your work efficiently will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Create an essay outline! Write the statements/arguments that support your main idea, and organize them using bullet points in the following structure: ● Introduction – your main statement that responds to the question asked. ● Body – one or more paragraphs supporting your main statement. ● Conclusion – your main argument restated (in different words) to leave a strong impression. The conclusion should also briefly summarize the important points you include in the body. If you need more help with creating an essay outline, check out this video and online guide. Stage 2: During the drafting process Free-write! Having a plan and outline can lend you much-needed confidence, but you might still feel lost. It is normal to experience blocks, and get stuck at various stages during the writing process. But sometimes, the only way to overcome this phase, is to fight your way through it. Regardless of how uninspired you feel, continue to write. Forget about word counts, and grammar (for now). Keep writing and you’ll find an idea start to form somewhere in that chaotic jumble. Vocabulary! While a good vocabulary is useful when it comes to self-expression, it is more important for you to be able to communicate with your reader. Resist the urge to Google-translate, and avoid using complicated words- particularly when you’re unsure of their meaning. Word count! Remember to stick to the word count given for each essay question. While it’s important not to exceed the word limit, it’s just as important not to write too little. For your applications, remember not to write more than the specified work limit and at least 100 words per essay. To make this easier we recommend drafting your response outside the application itself. Remove all unnecessary words and repetitive sentences. Here is a video about how to be more concise when writing. On the other hand, if you get stuck, and can’t seem to write enough, brainstorm a little more. Check out this link about dealing with writer’s block. Draft your essays in a word processor first! We recommend that you first type your essays in word processing applications like MS Word, Pages, Google Docs etc. before copying them into the application window in your web browser. If you leave the browser window open for too long, the application session will time out. Typing it in a word processor first will allow you to take your time with your essay, and save your work periodically. It will also highlight mistakes in spelling and grammar, and help you correct them. Stage 3: After completing your draft Edit and revise! Give yourself enough time to revise your work thoroughly. Go over your essays carefully to check for grammatical errors, and flaws in logic. The following suggestions might prove to be useful to you once you begin editing your work● Make a reverse outline: Summarize each paragraph of your essay in a single line that captures the main point you’re trying to communicate. Next, read the single-line summaries in order. Do your ideas flow in a logical manner? Or do they seem disorganized? Reverse outlining will make your essay more structured and readerfriendly. This link will provide you with more information on creating reverse outlines. If you need to restructure your paragraphs but find yourself stuck after the reverse outlining process, check out this link. ● Ask someone else to review your work: Having someone else (ex. a teacher, or a language instructor) go over your work can help you spot mistakes you might miss otherwise. But remember - while it’s okay to ask for assistance during the editing process, having someone else do your work for you, is a strict violation of academic integrity. ● Read out loud: Reading your essays out loud will enable you to identify mistakes in flow and language that you might otherwise miss while reading silently. For more information on editing your essays, visit this link. De-stress! Don’t let the writing process make you anxious. Take frequent breaks. Give your ideas time to develop. A short break from writing can allow you to reflect on your own work in a different light. Good luck with your essays!
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