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Free sample essays for students: Pros and Cons

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There is no magic pill to excel in academic writing in a day. The key to writing well is practice. However, there are some things that may help you along the way, such as spell checkers, bibliography builders, and essay samples. The latter is a good example of how a perfect assignment should look, so here are the ways your writing can benefit from using essay samples in your learning process.

Pros:

You will see the structure

If writing essays is not your hobby, constructing one from scratch may not be your strong suit. The typical mistake of people learning to write essays is going Joyce and turning in an essay into a stream of consciousness with no evident structure. It makes your work difficult to read and follow. Even though it may be eloquent and interesting, you need to make an argument, which requires a logical structure. Here is what sample essays can help you with. You can find an example of the same type of paper or with the same topic you are working on, and all the steps you need to make will be before your very eyes. Besides, you will not miss any important structural component of your essay.

It will deconstruct any academic style for you

Formatting your essay in accordance with any academic style is the least fun part of working on it. Moreover, it is an area in which you can make the most mistakes in your work. Every academic style has its standards in presenting information about the paper, title page, page numbers, and bibliography list. If you are not sure about spacing or commas, and theoretical explanations in formatting guidelines only make you more confused, the best way to nail a format is to learn it from a sample. All the principles of the style are used practically, which is more understandable than theory.

Citations and plagiarism

Another danger in writing any kind of academic work is accidental plagiarism. To prove your thesis statement, you need to refer to reputable sources of information, but you cannot just copy them. You need to paraphrase or quote material and acknowledge who the author is and why it is relevant. Different types of quoting other people’s intellectual property also depend on the format and what you are trying to say. In this case, a sample essay is also a helping hand because it will demonstrate to you how to format paraphrasing, direct quotes, block quotes, and in-text citations in a particular academic style.

It is demonstrative

Another pro of using sample essays for studying is that they are demonstrative in terms of what a professor usually expects from you as a student and a writer. In sample essays written by  professional essay writers, all the little details are in place: linking words connect arguments, topic sentences open paragraphs, in-text citations do not cut passages, paragraphs are of a sufficient length, and contractions nor slang ever appear there. With a demonstrative and thoughtful sample essay written by a professional, you will know for sure what should and should not be in your assignment, where to put it, and how to express it.

Helps to learn the discipline

A sample essay is essentially a syllabus topic in a nutshell. Surely you cannot use it as your own work, but you can gain knowledge from it. If you do not know how to approach a tough topic, you can check out how professional writers handle it. It will give you inspiration and broaden your perspective on the topic. For example, a psychological topic can be viewed from a political science perspective. Also, a sample essay is easier to read and process than a scholarly article, so it will save you a lot of your homework time.

Cons:

Specific instructions from your professor

The general principles of writing essays, ironically, do not always apply universally. If you need a sample essay to complete a particular assignment, it is still important to look at your professor’s instructions first. There may be a requirement of no format, plain-text form, first-person narration, and so on. If you take the assigned topic and disregard the detailed instructions from your professor, be ready for a major revision in the future. Sample essays, although they fit most of the standard essay requirements, will not help if you need something special. So, remember to study your instructions first.

You need to do it on your own

To really improve your writing skills, you need to write a lot. Using essay samples is a part of learning how to do that, but it does not mean you will instantly receive an A with no comments in the margins. Making mistakes is inevitable in practice and the best way to learn is to make your own errors. Additionally, the revisional comments you receive will ensure you look at your own error twice and never miss it again. Training with sample essays is a good writing practice, but you should be ready to correct what you submitted.

The topic

Even though with the help of sample essays you can learn a subject matter better, there is no guarantee you will find the exact topic you need among those available online. Learning any topic at a university, college, or high school also means reading a certain selection of literature that is usually provided by your professor for you to see the roots of conclusions you are to arrive at. For this reason, a sample essay cannot fully substitute the learning path your teachers pave for you with reading homework, and there is still a lot of independent cognitive work for you.

The disciplinary standpoint

This is a point that stresses one more time that you need to consult the initial instructions for your assignment before using samples to complete it. Even if it is an essay about Hamlet or bullying, you should remember that these topics may be viewed from different disciplinary perspectives, and consequently arrive at different conclusions in the end. For this reason, even if you find a sample with a matching topic for your paper, make sure it is written within the discipline you study so that your learning time is productive.

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