Foolproof ways to get an A on your final essay

Jenisha Sabaratnam/Staff

To say we’re freaking out about the onset of finals is the understatement of the century. The only thing that can make finals week worse is when you’re one of the unlucky souls who have a final essay due around the same time. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that you waste the first half of RRR Week doing absolutely nothing, so when you realize that you have less time than you initially thought for studying, you have to rush to dust off the books and revisit the weeks of notes you’ve accumulated. Remembering that your essay is due in less than two days is the worst realization you could be hit with when you’re still only reviewing the third week of lectures.

We at the Clog know the feeling all too well and would like to share with you some (kind of) tried and (maybe) true strategies to very easily ace your essay.

Use the right sources

We all know the importance of citing credible sources in our essays, but we also know how annoying it is to actually find those sources in the first place. We only ever venture into Main Stacks when we require its hushed atmosphere, and hardly ever to browse the rows upon rows of books it holds. To search for physical books as valid sources for your essay is simply too much to ask for.

Instead, find and use only your professor’s published works, and cite them as much as possible. Chances are, your professor is teaching your class based on their own academic specialization, and they’ll probably have published a fair number of articles and books on it. When your professor goes to read your essay, they’ll not only be flattered that you believed their research was the only source worthy enough to support your argument, but they’ll be thoroughly impressed with your ability to seek out what is obviously to them the best of the best information available in the wide world of academia.

Laugh it up

The actual body of the essay needs to be filled with words that, ideally, support your thesis, bring in source evidence and analyze the existing state of the topic. But sometimes it doesn’t go according to plan and we end up with an unfortunate lack of information. In this case, all you have to do is delicately, but extensively, use humor throughout your work.

The easiest way to do this is to add in puns wherever you are unable to provide actual information. Your strategically-placed pun will offset the otherwise terrible quotation analysis you’ve barely strung together. For example, if you happen to be talking about the history of a nation’s monarchy, describe it as having a “reigning influence,” rather than with dull but accurate synonyms such as ‘leading,’ ‘authoritative’ or ‘powerful.’ Plus, you’re more likely to get a good grade if your reader enjoys the experience.

Reaching the page count

Whether we have more to say on the topic we’ve been forced to write about (or not), we will inevitably need to reach a certain number of pages before we can call it quits and turn in our less-than-satisfactory-but-hopefully-completed essays. And now that you’ve exhausted your list of puns and other forms of academic humor, it’s time for you to step up your game when it comes to filling space.

We all know the tricks of the trade when it comes to increasing the size of periods, widening line spaces and broadening margins by 0.1 on all sides of the page. But now we urge you to take a new stride. Leave behind the days of essay-writing mischief and instead do something you wouldn’t have dared to do before. Assert your confidence in what you’ve already written by simply not making it to the page count, or word count or whatever other constrictive guidelines your professor has set. If you want your essay to stand out from your classmates’, make sure it’s not following the same boring requirements. In the end, it’s quality over quantity, right?

Now that we’ve provided you with the tools needed to ace your essay, it’s only a matter of getting it done and pushing through to the finish line that’s closer than ever before. We know you’re still recovering from your Thanksgiving food coma, but before you know it, Christmas dinner will be laid out in front of you and it’ll be the time of year when the results of your semester begin rolling in. Writing an essay is tedious and tiresome, but at least you still have the possibility of achieving an A. Good luck with those in-class finals, though. Even the Clog can’t help you there.

Contact Jenisha Sabaratnam at [email protected].