Common Mistakes that Students Make When Writing Essays (and How to Avoid Them)

Common mistakes that students make when writing essays

When it comes to writing a good essay, you may face numerous obstacles. Grammar errors, syntax errors, and word choice issues are all common.

You may also overlook writing fundamentals such as providing an introduction with a thesis statement, body paragraphs with supporting evidence, and conclusions.

This post will go over some of the most common mistakes students make when writing essays so that you don’t make the same mistakes!

However, if you don’t have the time to read this article, consider buying a cheap custom essay written for you by our expert academic writers to have a clearer picture of how a properly-written academic paper should look like. 

Failing to Include a Thesis Statement

Students frequently fail to include an introduction with a thesis statement. A thesis statement is vital since it provides context for what you write about and why the reader should care.
Patrick Williams, a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington notes:

Without a thesis statement, the essay may lack an argument, focus, clarity, and continuity.

So ensure that your essay has a thesis statement. A thesis statement can either be explanatory or argumentative.

The purpose of an explanatory thesis is to introduce the subject matter to the reader and not take a stance that requires supporting arguments. Such types of theses are commonly found in expository and research essays. On the other hand, in an argumentative essay, the thesis statement must make a claim that can potentially be refuted by readers. It should be a thought-provoking idea that challenges opposing views, rather than a factual statement or a personal response to the topic.

Incorrect/Unclear Words

Students frequently use incorrect words. This can be difficult to identify, particularly as a student, because you know what you mean but your word choice may not accurately convey that meaning.

It is common for students to use incorrect words, which can create confusion for the reader or listener. This can be especially challenging for students themselves to identify, as they may know what they intend to communicate but struggle to use the right words to express their ideas effectively.

After writing essays for yourself, you should always read them aloud or ask someone else if they understand what you’re trying to say. It’s a good idea to show your work in progress, also known as rough drafts, to a tutor or a friend before submitting it. You can also hire an essay writing service to proofread your paper. These will ensure that you use the appropriate words in your paper.

Not Including Evidence to Back your Claims

Another thing that students frequently overlook is the importance of providing evidence for their claims. Failure to do so can result in essays that lack substance and are filled with fluff.

It is preferable if you always have supporting evidence for any claims you make, and it is also preferable if you include counter-arguments with your claim to demonstrate that you are fair or providing both sides of the argument.

Importantly, ensure that you cite your sources using the appropriate style.

Using Clichés

Another common mistake that students make when writing academic papers is using clichés and other overused words.

Avoid using them in your paper since they make it appear sloppy, unoriginal, and dull.

According to this article:

Because clichés are not specific, they do not offer strong enough commentary to prove your point. Make sure that every sentence of your paper is working toward a goal by eliminating meaningless phrases.

You can check out the article for more information regarding cliches, including why they’re bad and how you can avoid them when writing your essay.

“Over the years, I’ve learned from my mistakes,” for example, is a cliché phrase, and it’s better to try to be more creative in your writing.
Others include phrases like “lost track,” “touch base,” and “same old story,” all of which are overused.

Not Following the Instructions

Students also make the mistake of failing to follow the instructions. Some instructors may require a specific essay format, such as MLA or APA. Before submitting your paper, double-check that you followed every bit of the instructions!

As a best practice, it is advisable to check your essay against the rubric that comes with the essay instructions.

Others may require you to write a certain number of pages. Before you begin writing, ensure that you understand how many pages you need to write. You can even ask your instructor if it appears unclear to you.

Not Checking for Plagiarism

Plagiarism is another common error made by students! This should never be done because it is not only unethical but also illegal, and it can land you in hot water with universities or companies/organizations for whom you write if a quote from another author is required.

If you quote other peoples work directly, at the end of your passage, use quotation marks and cite the source. You should also use software such as Turnitin, Grammarly, and Copyscape to check your paper’s originality and identify any instances of plagiarism. This will ensure that you write a 100% unique paper, thus avoiding the consequences of submitting a plagiarized paper.

Irrelevant Information in Your Essay

Some students include irrelevant information in their essays because they don’t know how to cut it out or figure out what’s important. Others do it to increase their word count. This irritates the reader and makes your essay appear sloppy and unprofessional, so avoid it at all costs!

To avoid including irrelevant information in your essays, start by planning your essay before you begin writing. Decide on the main points you want to make and what evidence you will use to support them. Then, as you write, refer back to your plan and make sure that each sentence and paragraph is directly related to your main points.

It’s also important to edit your work carefully once you’ve finished writing. Look for any sections that don’t seem to fit with the rest of the essay or that don’t add anything to your argument. Cut these sections out or rework them to make them Furthermore, you need to be mindful of your word count. If you’re struggling to reach the required word count for an assignment, resist the temptation to add irrelevant information just to make up the numbers. Instead, focus on developing your argument in more detail or finding additional evidence to support your points.

Not Proofreading Your Work

Students frequently make the mistake of failing to proofread their work. It is critical to have someone else read over your essay and edit for errors before submitting it.
Even if there are no errors that spell checkers or grammar check software would detect, they can still confuse your point or reasoning. If you don’t have access to a friend or tutor, it’s always a good idea to read your essay aloud and backward.

Using Contractions

Also, make certain that your paper is free of contractions. Contractions are typically not used in essays because they are considered too informal for academic writing. In academic writing, the goal is to present a clear and concise argument using precise language. Contractions can sometimes make the writing seem less formal and less professional.

Additionally, contractions can sometimes cause confusion or ambiguity, as they may be interpreted in different ways depending on the context. Therefore, it is generally recommended to avoid using contractions in essays or other types of academic writing.

Examples of contractions include:
• He’s (He is)
• She’s (She is)
• It’s (It is)
• We’re (We are)
• They’re (They are)
• Can’t (Cannot)
• Don’t (Do not)
• Won’t (Will not)

Not Concluding

Another common error is failing to include a conclusion, which is one of the most important parts of a good paper. A conclusion should consist of a few sentences summarizing the main points of your essay.

It’s also important to include a call to action, such as asking readers for their feedback or inviting them to read more about this topic in future essays from you. However, this depends on the type of essay that you’re writing. For instance, if it is a reflective essay, you don’t have to include a call to action unless your professor specifies.

The purpose of a conclusion in an essay is to summarize the main points or arguments presented in the body of the essay and to leave a final impression on the reader. It is the last opportunity to leave a lasting impression and to persuade the reader to your point of view. The conclusion should bring together all the different threads of the essay and present them in a coherent and logical manner. It should not introduce new ideas or arguments but rather provide a sense of closure to the essay. Additionally, a conclusion can offer suggestions for further research or reflection on the topic.

Proper Formatting

Furthermore, some students fail to properly format their essays. Make sure to carefully follow the formatting instructions as specified by your instructor.

There are several essay formatting styles used in academic writing.

Some of the most common ones include:
1. MLA (Modern Language Association) style: This style is often used in the humanities, such as literature, languages, and cultural studies.
2. APA (American Psychological Association) style: This style is commonly used in the social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, and education.
3. Chicago/Turabian style: This style is used in various disciplines, including history, business, and fine arts.
4. Harvard referencing style: This style is used mainly in the social sciences and business.
5. Oxford referencing style: This style is used in various academic disciplines, including history, law, and social sciences.
The specific formatting requirements for each style may vary, including citation style, page formatting, and reference lists. It’s important to follow the guidelines of the specific style recommended by your instructor or publisher.

Other Notable Mistakes that Students Make

• Lack of focus: Many students tend to stray from the topic or question being asked and lose focus in their writing. It is important to stay on track and make sure that every point made relates back to the main argument.

• Using informal language: Students sometimes use slang or casual language in their essays, which can make them sound unprofessional. It is important to use formal language appropriate for academic writing.

• Overuse of quotes: While using quotes can add credibility to an argument, overusing them can make the essay seem like a collection of other people’s ideas. It is important to balance the use of quotes with your own analysis and insights.

• Lack of structure: Essays should have a clear structure with a beginning, middle, and end. Students sometimes struggle with organizing their thoughts and ideas, resulting in a disjointed essay. It is important to plan and outline the essay before writing to ensure a clear structure.

• Ignoring the audience: Students sometimes forget to consider their audience and write for themselves instead. It is important to consider who will be reading the essay and tailor the language and tone to their level of understanding.

• Ignoring feedback: After receiving feedback from a teacher or peer, students sometimes ignore it and fail to make the necessary revisions. It is important to take feedback into consideration and use it to improve the essay.

• Rushing: Many students leave essays until the last minute and end up rushing through the writing process. This can result in a poorly written essay with many errors. It is important to start early and allow enough time for brainstorming, outlining, writing, and revising.

As mentioned earlier, you can avoid all this stress by purchasing a cheap custom essay from us or any other writing company. However, before ordering, ensure that you read your article to understand how you can get maximum value for your money

In conclusion, writing an essay can be a daunting task, especially for students who are not well-versed in the fundamentals of essay writing. However, by being mindful of the common mistakes discussed in this article, such as failing to include a thesis statement, using incorrect words, not including evidence to back up claims, using clichés, not following instructions, plagiarism, and including irrelevant information, students can avoid these pitfalls and write effective essays. Remember, proofreading is a vital step in the writing process to ensure that your work is free from errors and communicates your ideas clearly. By putting these tips into practice, students can improve their essay writing skills and achieve academic success.


  • Georgina Miles

    Georgina Miles is an expert academic tutor, writer, and researcher. She is skilled in writing academic research essays and theses, and any other type of academic paper including case studies and reports. As a professional academic writer, she can write various types of academic disciplines including business, history, psychology, sociology, literature, and law. Georgina's natural style is witty and engaging, but she can adapt to the needs of each student. All of her writing is 100% unique and proofread to ensure quality.