Improving Your Essay Conclusion

….but what do you mean I “concluded the essay topic too broadly?”

In my spare time, I work as a casual academic which entails a bit of essay marking each semester. This puts me in a good position to know what students typically lose marks for in their essays. Conclusions are a good place to start (no pun intended).

What even is a conclusion?

Simply, a conclusion is how you sum up the main points in your essay.
You need review what your argument was, and reinforce the main points that reinforce it.  You should not be introducing any new information in this part of the essay (so if you have not referred to it before now, don’t).

 So, what should I start with?

A good rule of thumb is to concisely outline all your arguments that helped you answer the original question. To do this, it may be useful to use the same words of the question in your conclusion. Also include some key words from the body of your text.

 That’s right, you need to cover all of the points of the essay!

Students often forget that it looks over THE WHOOOLEEEEE essay, not just the parts you think were the most interesting or the last couple of paragraphs.

Example: Outline the role and characteristics of an effective veterinarian. Describe strengths and challenges you may experience in this role.

Here, students will typically only summarise in their conclusion the strengths and challenges they may experience, and fail to also cover the role and characteristics of an effective vet.

Don’t just restate your essay question and arguments

Yes, by covering all of the content of your essay it is so easy to fall into the parroting trap. Try not to just repeat verbatim what you wrote in the body. Mix it up a bit.

How long should it be?

Another crude measure – more than 2 sentences but less than 8; about the same length as your introduction. Generally, this rule has been applied to essays less than 2000 words in length.

End with a punch!

Leave the marker/reader with a strong statement that leaves a long-lasting impression. You may want to link your argument to an even larger context, or reflect upon your own person views. Either way, make it profound.

Finally….

The thing I find lets most of my students down is rushing the conclusion because they are sick of writing the essay.
Ideally, you want to finish your essay a couple of days before the due date to review, review again, and review it just one more time before submission.
Butt! If you are the type of student that likes to rush the essay at the last-minute, take a 10-minute break after you have written your first draft of the essay to clear your mind and find some more motivation.
A marker can tell when you have just rushed your conclusion, and the marks you get will reflect this.

 

 

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