Essay Drafting: writing your own essay may be a challenging task if you do not know much about the contents to include.
Yet, it is much better to do so than regurgitate what somebody else has written without understanding what you are saying if you want to have a chance of passing.
It becomes essential if you wish to stand out among all the candidates. In this post, I provide you with 7 essential steps.
Why drafting your own essay is important
It is not just me advising you to draft your own essay. My colleague Javier, at Zen Para Opositores, advises just the same in this post. Indeed, by drafting your own topic you will clarify and learn the contents better. As I expect the students at the Poppies Foundation and Building Block Courses are learning to do.
How to go about it: the 7 essential steps
Look at the title of the topic and brainstorm on what you know about it. It doesn’t matter whether it is a lot or very little. Just write some ideas or words connected with the topic.
Consider what you have written and ask yourself: what else would I like to know about this topic so that I can write the essay I want to write? Please, write down those questions.
Check the page of Contents in the books or topics written by somebody else (academy or other) and see if you can find where in those materials you would be able to find the answer to your questions.
Browse through those sections you selected and see if you did find the answer to those questions.
See if there is something connected to the topic you had not considered but have found in the materials consulted and would like to include.
Relax and let it rest for a while. Then, without looking at the sources you consulted, draw a mind-map on the topic you are going to write on.
Based on the mind-map write the outline and the first draft of your topic. Give yourself a maximum of one and a half hours. (Or even one hour if you did not know much about the topic to start with). You can expand on that later, but remember that you have two hours in total, and you certainly want to leave the last ten-fifteen minutes to re-read what you wrote.
Don’t worry if there are things you do not remember at first
If you go over this procedure several times, with a relaxed body and mind, you will find that you remember the things you consider important.
Above all, do not try to “study” everything and cram the whole contents in a few hours. Give this method a try and you will see how it certainly produces its fruits and you really remember more things.
What research shows
Research into how we learn has shown that “we learn what we already know”. With the new knowledge, our mind makes connections to the knowledge we already have. If it finds the pattern and the connection between new and old, it remembers for a much longer time. And you can synthesise, integrate, produce your own piece of writing. Because then, you’ll have reached mastery.
Otherwise, you’ll only remember parrot-like, but the “knowledge” will disappear quickly.
And we’d love to hear your feedback on the suggestions provided here.
For those who prefer to go “solo”, have little time, or need to have practice and/or guidance in the preparation, Poppies also offers a variety of Materials for the Oposición, which will be expanding as the academic year goes by.