Top Mistakes that Students Make in their Essays

As the first semester is well into its swing now, you may find that your essay deadlines are creeping up on you fast. This doesn’t mean you need to panic though! Writing an essay can be as easy or as difficult as you make it. Don’t stress, manage your time effectively, and you will meet your deadlines, maybe even with time to spare.

To help you through, we have compiled a list below of the top 10 mistakes that students make in their essays.

  • Not outlining the structure of the essay in the introduction

Outlining your structure in the introduction sets you up for the rest of the essay. If you can get in the habit of doing this for your introductions, you should find yourself with a structure to follow as you write the essay, which will help keep your essay on track and relevant to the question.

  • Stating the arguments of scholars, instead of your own arguments

Many students rely too heavily on scholars and references, so much so, that they don’t introduce or justify their own arguments for or against the topic.

  • Making silly spelling mistakes

Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. If you can’t be bothered, ask a friend, family member or even us at 15 Writers to help you. Silly spelling and grammar mistakes are so easy to avoid, yet people simply don’t check and therefore may lose marks.

  • Not narrowing down your topic

If your topic is too broad, you will be trying to achieve too much. Especially if it needs to fit within a limited word count. Try to narrow the topic down, as this will mean that your essay should remain focused and to the point.

  • Making weak or in-comprehensive arguments

Some students may find themselves getting into the habit of simply describing the topic area and fail to distinguish between the subject, and an argument. Because of this, the arguments are either weak, or non-existent. Remember to really argue a point in your essay – especially if it is a critical essay.

  • Leaving out key references or examples

Sometimes there are key studies relating to your topic. Your tutor will expect to see these referenced, so ensure that before you start writing your essay you have researched your topic thoroughly, including any previous studies, or examples that relate directly to your essay question.

  • Not establishing links between arguments and ideas

It is important that your essay transitions in a clear way, and is clear to understand how you are getting from point A to point B. Establishing clear links between the different points and arguments that you are making, is therefore extremely important for achieving a higher grade.

  • Writing, but not fully understanding what you are talking about

If you don’t understand a concept relating to your essay question, carry out further research or seek clarification from your tutor before citing it in your essay. One quick way to lose marks is to include content in your essay that has been misunderstood and isn’t relevant to your question.

  • Not directly answering the question that is being asked

Keeping your essay relevant to the question at hand is probably one of the most important ways to ensure that you are achieving a high mark. You must ensure that each point you are making in your essay relates directly to the question that you are being asked to discuss.

  • Your introduction is not an efficient summary of the paper

A good introduction is important to ensure that your essay is off to a strong start. If your introduction is weak, it is likely that what will follow in the essay will also be weak. A good introduction is clear, and concise, setting the background of the question and outlining a clear structure to move forward.


This list should help prevent you from smaller mistakes that can easily be avoided, and help you achieve a better grade. If you can get into the habit of checking this list off against each paper you write, you will find your academic writing skills becoming stronger overtime.

If you found the list helpful, but are still struggling to get your essays and assignments finished, get in touch with our Customer Service team, to see how we can help you today. Protection Status