Barbara P.
Barbara P.

5 Common Essay Writing Mistakes to Avoid: Tips and Strategies

7 min read

Published on: Jun 21, 2023

Last updated on: Jul 16, 2023

Common Essay Writing Mistakes to Avoid

Have you ever received a low grade on an essay despite spending hours on it? Have you ever missed out on a scholarship or job opportunity because of a poorly written essay? 

These frustrating experiences are often the result of common essay writing mistakes that could have been avoided.

In this blog post, we will discuss the most common essay writing mistakes and provide practical tips on how to avoid them. 

By following our advice, you can improve your essay writing skills and achieve greater academic and professional success. 

So, let's dive in and discover how to avoid these common essay writing pitfalls.

Mistake #1: Lack of Planning and Preparation 

Essay writing requires careful planning and preparation to ensure that the essay is well-structured and relevant to the topic. 

Lack of planning and preparation can lead to common mistakes that can significantly reduce the quality of your essay.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid and tips on how to plan and prepare for essay writing:

Failure to Understand The Assignment 

Before starting an essay, it's important to fully understand the assignment requirements. 

Read through the instructions carefully, and make sure you understand what the instructor is looking for. If you're unsure about anything, ask your instructor for clarification.

Lack of Research 

Without thorough research, it's impossible to write a well-informed and well-supported essay. 

Take the time to research the topic thoroughly, using reputable sources such as academic journals, books, and reliable websites. 

Make sure you take notes and organize your research so that it's easy to refer to later.

Inadequate Outlining 

Outlining is a crucial step in the essay writing process. It helps to organize your thoughts and ideas, and provides a clear structure for your essay. 

Without a clear outline, your essay may be disjointed and lack focus. Take the time to create a comprehensive essay outline that includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Time Management 

Essay writing can be time-consuming, and it's important to manage your time effectively. 

Start early and set realistic goals for each stage of the writing process. Break down the assignment into manageable chunks, and make sure you have enough time to complete each step.

Mistake #2: Weak Thesis Statements 

A thesis statement is the backbone of any essay. It sets the tone for the entire essay and provides a clear focus for the reader. 

Unfortunately, many students make the mistake of creating weak thesis statements that do not convey their point of view.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid and tips on how to create a strong thesis statement:

Being too Vague 

A vague thesis statement lacks clarity and specificity. 

Avoid using broad, general statements that don't provide a clear focus for your essay. Instead, be specific and concise in your thesis statement.

Being too Broad

A broad thesis statement covers too much ground and can be difficult to support with evidence. Narrow your focus and choose a specific aspect of the topic to explore in your essay.

Being too Obvious 

A thesis statement that is too obvious or simplistic can be uninteresting and fail to engage the reader. Avoid stating the obvious and strive to provide a fresh perspective or original insight.

Failing to Take a Stance 

A strong thesis statement takes a clear stance on the topic and provides a sense of direction for the essay. Don't be afraid to take a position and defend it with evidence and arguments.

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Mistake #3: Poor Organization and Structure 

One of the most common mistakes that students make when writing essays is poor organization and structure. 

Without a clear and logical essay structure, writing the essay can be confusing and difficult to follow. The arguments or points being made may not be effectively conveyed.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid and tips on how to create a well-organized and structured essay:

Lack of Introduction 

An essay without a clear introduction can leave the reader confused about the purpose and focus of the essay. 

Make sure to include an introduction that provides context, sets the tone, and clearly states the thesis statement.

Weak Transitions 

Transitions are the bridges between different parts of the essay, helping to connect the ideas and make the essay flow smoothly

Weak transitions can make the essay feel disjointed and confusing. 

Ineffective Paragraph Structure

Each paragraph in the essay should have a clear topic sentence that relates to the thesis statement. All of the sentences in the paragraph should support the topic sentence. 

Avoid paragraphs that are too long or too short, and make sure each paragraph flows logically into the next.

Lack of Conclusion

An essay without a clear conclusion can leave the reader unsatisfied and uncertain about the significance of the essay. 

The conclusion should summarize the main points of the essay and restate the thesis statement in a new and compelling way.

Expert Tip

Want to craft engaging body paragraphs? Read our blog about how to write a body paragraph!

Mistake #4: Plagiarism and Improper Citation 

Plagiarism is the act of using someone else's work without giving proper credit or citation. Improper citation, on the other hand, is the act of citing sources incorrectly or inadequately. 

Both of these mistakes can result in serious consequences, including academic penalties and damage to your reputation.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid and tips on how to avoid plagiarism and properly cite your sources:

Failing to Give Credit 

Whenever you use someone else's words or ideas, you must give credit by citing the sources. This includes direct quotes, paraphrases, and summaries. Failure to give credit is plagiarism.

Inadequate Citation 

Simply citing a source is not enough. You must use the correct citation style and format, including author, title, publication date, and page numbers. 

Make sure to follow the guidelines for the citation style required by your instructor or academic institution.

Improper Paraphrasing 

Paraphrasing is the act of restating someone else's ideas in your own words. 

However, if you simply change a few words without changing the overall structure or meaning. This is still considered plagiarism. 

Make sure to paraphrase effectively and give proper credit.

Using Online Sources Without Verification

The internet is a valuable resource for research, but not all sources are reliable or trustworthy. 

Make sure to verify the accuracy and credibility of online sources before using them in your essay.

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Mistake #5: Grammatical and Spelling Errors 

Grammatical and spelling errors can detract from the effectiveness and credibility of your essay. These mistakes can be distracting and may cause your reader to lose confidence in your writing abilities.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid and tips on how to ensure proper grammar and spelling in your essay:

Using Incorrect Verb Tenses 

Make sure to use the appropriate verb tense consistently throughout your essay. Switching between tenses can confuse your reader and make your writing less effective.

Subject-verb Agreement 

The subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number. Singular subjects require singular verbs, and plural subjects require plural verbs.

Misuse of Homonyms 

Homonyms are words that sound alike but have different meanings. Common examples include "there/their/they're" and "your/you're." 

Make sure to use the correct word in the appropriate context.

Poor Sentence Structure 

Sentences that are too long or too short, or that lack clarity or coherence, can be confusing and difficult to read. 

Make sure each sentence is clear and concise, and that each one flows smoothly into the next.

Spelling Errors 

Misspelled words can be distracting and can detract from the overall effectiveness of your essay. 

Make sure to use spell-check and proofread your work carefully to catch any spelling errors.

Expert Tip

Want to learn how to write a complete essay from the start? Check out our comprehensive guide on how to write an essay!

In conclusion, by avoiding common mistakes, you can write engaging essays that convey your ideas clearly and persuasively. 

By paying attention to the details, you can ensure that your writing is effective, engaging, and credible.

At this point, if you're struggling to write an essay, reach out for essay writing help online

Our team of experienced writers can assist you with all aspects of the writing process, from research to drafting to editing and proofreading. Contact us today to learn more about how our essay writing service can help you achieve your goals.

Barbara P.


Barbara P. (Literature)

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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