Effective compare and contrast essay planning for college students

There are two main issues in essays that professors very often point out after checking the papers. Number one is that students quite often do not plan the essay. So the feedback they are getting

Effective compare and contrast essay planning for college students

There are two main issues in essays that professors very often point out after checking the papers. Number one is that students quite often do not plan the essay. So the feedback they are getting is that the essay went too large and became watery. Another issue is that students become overwhelmed by certain ideas of the essay and they’ve done some sections very well, but some very poorly. And this shows that lack of planning your compare and contrast essay can actually cause you a good grade. So what are the main lines here? Also, how would you plan your compare and contrast essay to get it done perfectly and quickly?

Working with the task question

Most probably you will be given a topic for an essay and it might look like a question. Your first step is to define the question inside of the question. Here is a little example. Your topic now are two world known books: “How important is the theme of friendship in Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter books?” So take the highlighter and mark the keywords in this sentence. In this case, those are: “How”, “Friendship”, “Lord of the rings”, “Harry Potter”. By highlighting the main words, you get the picture of what you will be comparing and contrasting here and from which particular side. After you’ve done it, you see the main topic right away – comparing two books from the side of Friendship described in two stories.

Working with the objects of analysis

After you need to pull out objects of your research – here it’s the books “Lord of the rings” and “Harry Potter”. Next step would be brainstorming. Just take these two books and write down with some keywords, there is no need for the full sentences, everything you can remember about the topic of friendship in those books. Plus try to write down, how those books are similar and different in this particular matter. After brainstorming notes you will be later on taking the topics for each paragraph of your essay.

The central part of the paper

Next part of your plan will be looking much easier if you use the table. A lot of students while writing a compare and contrast essay are doing two first parts very well. They get the question and the objects right, they brainstorm. But then, when they are diving into the writing, they very often are missing some points. So here is a very nice tip-table that you should fill out first. And only with this table ready, you should start writing an essay.

Paragraph number Point Example Is it difference or similarity How much is it different or similar?

 

It is quite easy to analyze your essay with this table filled out. First, you go with the point, the one you are choosing from the brainstorming points. Then you give an example of it in the book (or any other object of research). And next you are saying, either it is what those books have in common or is it their difference. And very important is the last paragraph – How much they are…? It is very important because this is an evaluation piece. The more often you will practice this way of planning your essay, the faster you will see that physical presentation actually helps you to make sure that the topic is covered and you are not missing any information.

It is often much easier for students to write the introduction and the body of the essay, rather than the conclusion. But if you have done table part correct, here is one more tip for you. The conclusion of your contrast and compare essay will just be a summary of the last two columns.

Do not forget about the structure of your essay. If you have chosen the block arrangement – you will have only two main paragraphs of the plot. But still, fill out the table as if you have more paragraphs, so you do not forget your points. And just describe those ideas all in one text.

It will be easier for you to work with the table if you have chosen the [point-by-point structure of your essay. Simply every new point will be in a new paragraph.

So, for now, those were all the tips we would like to share with you. Practice with planning and your essays always look strong and solid.

 

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