Monday, 2 November 2009

How to Write an Essay

Alright, alright, settle down! Get that gum out of your mouth Sue, the bin is at the front.

Hello folks. For my sins, I've not been able to get to many lectures this academic year, so I thought I'd take the interesting step of taking a lecture myself. As the title shows, I am going to tell you how to write an essay, in the Ewar-style. Are you ready?

Ben and Aidan, stop whispering. If you have something to share, please share it with the class.

Okay, here we go. First of all, you've been slapped with a 2,000 word count. "Impossible!" you cry. "How am I going to write 2,000 words on a book that I don't like/half-read/don't care about Ewar?!"

Thanks for asking! Well A) I did it for "Wise Children", so it can be done, and B) Fuck the 2,000 words thing. Seriously. I'll explain how in due course.

Firstly, create a "header" and put your name and student number. It looks like you actually know what you're doing. You don't, of course, but perception is important.

Next, you're going to copy and paste the essay question you have chosen. You pretend this is so the marker knows easily what question it is you are doing. But of course that's bollocks - it's actually because we'll sneakily add it to the word count at the end. So the question is 83 words, word count is now down to 1,917 words. Lovely.

Daniel, if you don't remove those earphones and that iPod, I'll remove them myself and put them up somewhere you wouldn't like.

We now come to an introduction. You pretend the intro is there to make it clear what you'll be doing later on in the essay. Nah. It's actually just a paragraph of repeating the question in a slightly different way and not actually saying anything. Don't make it more than one paragraph - that will arouse suspicion. You need to keep the marker on your side for as long as you can.

Next. If you have a question that has technical terms in it - define them! Even if everyone knows what they are, define them, and ramble about them for a bit. Again, don't go overboard, but make sure you waste a good few words. That word count is ticking down, and you haven't said anything yet!

Mitchell, I believe that girl has a boyfriend. Please refrain from chatting her up in my time, thankyou.

Now we come to the tricky bit - actually writing about the book. There is no way we can get out of this, sadly. But what we can do is this. Have a maximum of 5 points. Tackle them one by one, and ramble. Not read the book? That's okay. Flick through it, you can find relevant quotes. If you can't, find any quote, and twist it as much as you can to make it relevant. Remember, we're adding those lovely quotes to our word count! Make sure you include academic words, and if desperate, put a quote and then basically just explain what it means, even though it's obvious what it means. Even more desperate? Phone a friend.

We're now going to have a 10 minute break, so if you do need to urinate/eat/masturbate/smoke/drink, now is the time. In appropriate places, obviously, not at your desk. Mitchell, you dirty git.

Welcome back class! Not long left now, don't worry.

So, you've battled your way through the main part of the essay. Congratulations - you've broken the back of it, and you're near the end. One final push okay? And our final push is known as the Conclusion!

For a conclusion, take two paragraphs, and point out what you already mentioned in the introduction, and then re-hash the best points you made. Don't worry about over-egging the pudding, by this time you've lost the marker. He either A) hates you or B) wishes for you to shut up or C) both!

Hoorah! You've almost finished. But, time to do some quick maths. Most lecturers allow you to be either 10% over/under the word limit. 10% of 2,000 is, by my reckoning, 200 words. Take that away from your 1,917, and that makes it 1,717 words. Splendid.

Still under? Go through the text - alter sentences so that you take 3 words instead of 1. Add unnecessary stuff. Maybe drop in another quote to "back up your argument" (add more words). Flesh out your introduction and conclusion. If all else fails - lie. Hell, they don't check.

That's it folks! I want you to all clear off, apart from you. Yes, you, the blonde with the low-cut top. I need you to come back to my office, so I can give you one. *pause* An essay question that is!

Folks, if you've enjoyed this lecture, I've been Ewarwoowar. If you haven't, I've been The Plashing Vole!

EDIT - I've just read that last bit again. That last sentence was a joke I've nicked off a lecturer, and is absolutely no way meaning that Voley would give a lecture like that, or indeed be inappropriate with a student. Don't take it the wrong way please folks!


  1. I'm not sure I should comment on this - it might seem like endorsement. However, it's all too familiar - which isn't to say that the marker doesn't reflect these tricks in the marking…

    Very witty. And no, I don't get involved with students. Or indeed any other human beings, unfortunately…

  2. That was brilliant – I haven’t laughed so much for ages.

  3. That was a giggle fest. Really funny, I don't do half of that - normally it's hashing it up that much to reduce my rambly crap to the word count -.-