Cathy A.
Cathy A.

The 9 Most Common Essay Writing Mistakes to Avoid

5 min read

Published on: May 12, 2023

Last updated on: May 15, 2023

Common Essay Writing Mistakes to Avoid

Are you struggling to write essays that meet your professor's expectations? Do you want to boost your writing skills and avoid common mistakes that can hurt your grades? 

If that's the case, you're in the right place. 

In this post, we'll explore the most prevalent essay writing errors and provide you with useful tips to overcome them. Whether you're a high school or college student, our goal is to help you write essays that will earn you a top grade. 

So, get ready to sharpen your essay-writing skills.

Mistake # 1: Lack of Planning and Preparation

Lack of planning and preparation is one of the most common mistakes students make when writing an essay. This can lead to disorganized and poorly structured essays that fail to convey a clear message to the reader. 

Here are some steps you can take to avoid this mistake:

  • Start by carefully reading and understanding the essay topic.

  • Brainstorm ideas and create an outline before you start writing.

  • Use your outline to organize your ideas and create a logical structure for your essay.

Mistake # 2: Ignoring Essay Prompts and Guidelines

Ignoring essay prompts and guidelines is a common mistake in essay writing. It can cost you valuable marks and may even lead to a failed assignment. 

Follow these steps to make sure you haven't missed any key points or requirements.

  • Read the essay prompt carefully, and make sure you understand the requirements.

  • Highlight key phrases or instructions in the prompt, such as the required word count, and citation requirements.

  • Create an outline that includes all the important elements of the essay prompt.

  • Make sure to follow the guidelines provided by your professor.

Need help with analyzing writing prompts? Take a look at this video!

Mistake # 3: Weak Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is part of the introduction paragraph. It is the main idea or argument of the essay, and it should be clear, concise, and specific. 

Here are some steps to make a good thesis statement:

  • Take time to formulate a strong thesis statement before starting to write the essay.

  • Ensure that the thesis statement clearly presents the main idea or argument of the essay.

  • Avoid vague and general statements that are not specific to the essay topic.

  • Ensure that the rest of the essay supports your thesis statement.

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Thesis Statement Generator

Mistake # 4: Poor Paragraph Structure

Poor paragraph structure is another common error that students make when writing essays. It refers to how ideas are presented and can impact the clarity of your writing.

You can prevent this mistake by following some simple steps.

  • Start with a topic sentence that clearly and concisely introduces the main idea of the paragraph.

  • Provide supporting evidence or examples that relate to the topic sentence.

  • Use transition words to connect your ideas and ensure a smooth flow between sentences.

  • Conclude the paragraph with a concluding sentence that summarizes the main points discussed in the paragraph.

Need Help With Paragraph Structure? Let Our Paragraph Generator Do The Work For You!

Paragraph Generator

Mistake # 5: Inadequate Evidence And Support

Another typical essay writing error is insufficient evidence and support for the arguments presented. This can lead to a weak and unconvincing essay, and negatively impact your grades.

To avoid this misstep, consider the following tips:

  • Conduct thorough research and gather sufficient evidence to support your arguments.

  • Use credible sources, such as academic journals, books, and reputable websites, to back up your claims.

  • Use examples and case studies to illustrate your points and provide context.

  • Make sure to cite your sources properly to avoid plagiarism.

  • Anticipate counterarguments and address them in your essay to strengthen your argument.

Mistake # 6: Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a serious offense that can lead to severe consequences, including academic expulsion. Plagiarism occurs when a student uses someone else's work without proper citation or permission. 

Here are some steps to help you avoid plagiarism:

  • Use proper citation methods, such as APA or MLA, to give credit to the original author of the work.

  • Paraphrase or summarize information from sources in your own words.

  • Use quotation marks when directly quoting a source.

  • Use plagiarism-checking tools to ensure that your essay is original.

Mistake # 7: Using Informal Language

Another error that students tend to commit while writing essays is using informal language. Essays should be written in a formal and professional tone to convey the seriousness of the topic. 

Below are some useful steps to prevent the use of informal language in your academic writing:

  • Avoid using slang, colloquialisms, or contractions words and phrases.

  • Use precise and concise language to convey your ideas clearly.

  • Avoid using first-person pronouns unless specifically instructed to do so.

  • Use academic language and vocabulary appropriate for your level of education.

Mistake # 8: Poor Grammar and Punctuation

Poor grammar and spelling mistakes are commonly prevalent errors that students often make in their essays.

Here are some steps you can take to avoid grammar and punctuation mistakes:

  • Revise your essay to look for grammar and spelling mistakes

  • Use a spell checker to catch basic errors

  • Use grammar and spell-checking tool to help identify errors

Mistake # 9: Lack of Proofreading

When it comes to writing academic essays, one of the most frequent mistakes that students  make is not proofreading their work. 

Proofreading is an essential part of the writing process that involves reviewing and correcting errors in grammar, punctuation, and syntax. 

Here are some steps to help you avoid this mistake:

  • Set aside time to proofread your essay thoroughly.

  • Revise your essay by reading out loud to catch errors that you might miss while reading silently.

  • Have someone else review your essay to provide a fresh perspective and catch any errors you may have missed.

  • Make sure to follow all essential do’s and don’ts of academic writing.

To sum it up, making common essay writing mistakes can have a significant impact on your grades. By avoiding these missteps you can improve the quality of your writing and boost your essay writing skills.

Remember to pay attention to the details, follow the guidelines, and take your time to proofread and edit your work thoroughly. 

Moreover, you can avoid a lot of writing mistakes by using our AI essay writer that is designed to help students just like you. Try it out!

Cathy A.


Cathy A. (Mass Communication, Education)

Cathy is a highly dedicated author who has been writing for the platform for over five years. With a Master's degree in Mass Communication, she is well-versed in various forms of writing such as articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As an essay writing guide author at, she has been helping students and professionals improve their writing skills by offering practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style.

For more than five years now, Cathy has been one of our most hardworking authors on the platform. With a Masters degree in mass communication, she knows the ins and outs of professional writing. Clients often leave her glowing reviews for being an amazing writer who takes her work very seriously.

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