Top 10 Essay Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Essay writing is an integral part of a student’s college life. Although they know the basic rules of essay writing, many students find this process difficult and time-consuming. Although there is no common pattern for writing an outstanding essay, students should know what mistakes to avoid.

Learning to avoid the most common writing mistakes can significantly improve the quality of the essay. To help you through this process, here are the top 10 essay writing mistakes and ways to avoid them.

1. Bad grammar

Grammar is an important aspect of college essay writing. Without proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, your essay will appear dull and vague. Thus, it is important that students proofread their essays several times before submitting them. Apart from manually proofreading your essay, you can quickly scan it using an online grammar checker. A good grammar checker will highlight any grammar errors in your essay and provide suggestions for adding punctuation marks, correcting spelling mistakes, and improving your essay vocabulary.

2. Repetition

To reach the word count of the essay, students often repeat the same ideas and arguments in different parts of the essay. This shows that you haven’t done enough research on the subject and are running out of ideas to explain your point of view. Some students also have the habit of repeating words and phrases. This makes your essay fluffy and you may lose points for not being able to write a well-constructed essay. To avoid any sort of repetition in your essay, be sure to read your essay multiple times. You can also use online grammar checking tools to identify repeated words and phrases and replace them with other meaningful words.

3. Use of the passive voice

Many students use the passive voice in their essays. The passive voice is easy to explain and does not go straight to the point. This makes sentences incredibly long and is likely to confuse readers. Instead of a passive voice, use a more direct and louder active voice. Although using the passive voice in certain sentences is acceptable, try to limit it to just a few sentences. To reduce the use of the passive voice, proofread your text and see how you can make it more direct, active and engaging.

4. No original ideas

Presenting facts without a proper explanation in your essay can make it difficult to interpret your points. If you present evidence, facts, quotes, or theories in your essay, be sure to back it up with a brief analysis. Be consistent when presenting facts and analyzing them. This will help readers understand the information presented. Giving your own perspective on existing information will make your essay unique and interesting.

5. Improper Presentation

The introductory paragraph of the essay should introduce the main concepts and statement of the thesis. The introductory paragraph helps readers decide whether to read the essay or skip it. Make your essay interesting by writing a clear and engaging thesis statement. Place your thesis statement at the end of the introduction. This will allow for a consistent flow of information between the introductory paragraph and the main body of the essay.

6. Reiteration in conclusion

You risk losing points for reiterating your introductory part in the concluding paragraph. Use the concluding paragraph to briefly explain your observations. You can also rephrase the thesis statement so readers can compare your findings. A solid conclusion can consist of new questions, additional implications, or intriguing information that leaves readers with new ideas.

7. Lack of critical reflection and evaluation

Lack of critical reflection and evaluation is one of the most common writing mistakes. Students fail to critically evaluate the information presented in the essay. This leads to biased results and reduces the value of the test. To avoid this, add interrogative insights and evidence into your essay and evaluate the information from different angles. An easy way to include critical thinking is to access information from multiple sources and analyze the evidence.

8. Do not edit

If you’ve spent a lot of time researching and writing your essay, you might want to skip the editing part. Submitting your essay without proofreading, editing, and editing may cause you to lose points. Once you have finished writing the essay, take a short break and begin the editing process. Editing the essay with a fresh mind will make it easier for you to identify errors. Editing will help you evaluate your content and ensure it is clearly written and well organized.

9. Ignoring University Guidelines

Each university has different guidelines for writing academic essays. While most of these instructions are universal, it’s important to follow your university’s guidelines carefully. These instructions primarily guide students on proper word count, formatting, structure, and font selection.

Failure to maintain academic format will show your inability to follow instructions. Thus, carefully read the guidelines provided by your professor and follow them in your essay. Brainstorm before writing the essay while going through the materials, notes, and guidelines. It will help you come up with innovative ideas for writing a unique essay.

10. Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the biggest essay writing mistake that can reduce the credibility of your work. Universities follow strict protocols for plagiarism and have penalties based on the seriousness of the plagiarized work. If you include someone else’s work, be sure to add appropriate citations and references. Don’t just copy and paste phrases from the internet. To avoid plagiarism, make sure you fully understand the subject. Refer to existing books, journals, or academic essays based on your topic. Use this information to present your own ideas in innovative ways.


Writing an academic essay can be overwhelming for students at first. Thus, it is essential to follow guidelines and instructions while writing an essay. Avoiding the mistakes above will help make your essay free from common mistakes. Moreover, with proper practice, you can improve your writing skills and write an engaging essay.


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