We’ve graded thousands of essays and certain errors occur again and again and again. This is a list of the top ten errors we see on essays. Read through each one carefully. Avoiding these errors will make your essay stronger.

10. The “kitchen sink” argument
This argument throws in everything and discusses every topic of an issue in one paragraph. Paragraphs are discrete units meant for discussing a limited range of ideas. Narrow the scope of your paragraphs and arguments into manageable, topic-specific units. On a larger level, limit the scope of your essays. On issue questions, especially, it is not an opportunity to expound on your entire worldview.

9. The “Microsoft Example”
Try to use interesting examples other than the usual Microsoft example. Too many writers use cite Microsoft as way to prove a point. It makes for a trite essay, and is tedious for graders to read. Another overused example is the “U.S. has low unemployment” example for macroeconomic policy. Be more creative. Essay graders have boring jobs and appreciate new twists. Still another example that is less-than-popular with graders is the hypothetical example. Using a hypothetical examples make a writer seem unintelligent or uneducated, because he or she should be able to come up with a real world example instead of making one up.

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