Blog Students Study Tips Bad University Essays: 8 Mistakes You Must Avoid

Bad University Essays: 8 Mistakes You Must Avoid

Writing is a great way to show your ability to express thoughts, and teachers often use it to check students’ progress. Writing essays is a common occurrence when you are in university.

For you to excel in writing, you will need to know the mistakes that you need to avoid.

Writing an outstanding essay by yourself is a powerful skill, so be sure to follow our advice on avoiding the biggest pitfalls in essay writing!

1) Being Too Formal

When you write your essay for the first time, you may follow another writer’s voice and end up copying their style.

We recommend using simple language in your university essay to avoid overcomplicating your narrative. You may want to sound scholarly and add complex words to your essays, but they are often unnecessary.

Instead, try to convey your information in a simple manner.

Also, don’t fall into the opposite problem – a too informal tone, jargon, and uncensored words are inappropriate in essays.

2) Too Many Details

There is no need to include too many details in your essay. Just focus on your main points that you can connect to your topic. Too many details can be boring and make an essay hard to understand.

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It will be good if you can stand in a reader’s point of view and see if your essay is too wordy.

Build a clear story and reveal it with the best devices. Also, make sure it fits the academic writing standards and delivers the main idea to the audience.

3) Being Too Vague

We talked about being too detailed, but we also can’t be too vague. While it is tempting to include several viewpoints in an essay, it might make it difficult for readers to understand which position you stand for.

So, when you are writing an essay, you need to spend some time researching, work with the references you found and collect your information correctly. Write down your thoughts and brainstorm for more if needed.

The reader should be able to understand your point of view at the end of your essay.

4) Not Giving Enough Evidence

Supporting your university essay with evidence is essential to make your reader believe in what you write.

Provide details from recognized sources such as books, interviews, surveys, videos, educational platforms, or professional articles from blogs.

Cite references properly with the assigned formatting style (MLA, Chicago/Turabian, APA, or Harvard) and provide an extended explanation for each quote.

Remember, it could be something helpful not just for you as an author but also for readers.

The last thing you want is to make your essay look unprofessional.

5) Written in a Hurry

Procrastination is real! While it may be easy for some, the rest of us procrastinate until the last hour to write our essay because it can be daunting. However, an essay written in a rush might not be your best work.

Try to plan your time and start the essay as soon as possible. Starting earlier also means you get more time to research and plan your essay, you can even squeeze in break time.

When you write in a hurry, it can lead to many grammatical, spelling, and punctuation issues. There would be no time to fix these issues since you are already in a rush to complete the assignment and submit it.

How about coming up with your own schedule and do your best to stick with it?

For instance, plan one hour for research, one hour for analyzing and outlining one hour for writing the first draft, and the last hour for editing.

6) Inconsistent and Irrelevant

It is easy to get off track while writing an essay. I completely understand the need to dump all the information that you have found into your essay. However, you might end up being irrelevant and inconsistent with your topic.

The helpful solution is to outline an essay attentively and see whether it is consistent with your topic.

Sometimes your lecturer may assign complex topics, so it could be hard for you to find materials connected to the specific theme.

In this case, clarify with your lecturer what sources you could use to enrich your essay with details.

Go to your school library and ask the librarians for book recommendations or search materials online.

7) Considering Too Many Viewpoints

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To receive constructive feedback, you may want to consider finding proofreaders who can be your friends or fellow classmates. However, to avoid senseless advice, you need to choose your proofreaders carefully.

It is better to share with no more than two people to read your essay; otherwise, you’ll lose your train of thought.

Ask a few people whose responses would be reliable and helpful to you. They can assist you with your writing style, give some writing tips about better delivery, and help to build your essay logically.

8) Plagiarized Content

If you want to include important findings from another source, don’t forget to cite it according to the appropriate formatting style. Also, include all used material in the references list at the end of the essay.

If you copy someone’s work without adding a reference, it would be considered plagiarized content.

Make sure your essay is valuable and respected by keeping the content original. Don’t be afraid of showing your natural writing style or unique idea, and always check the text for plagiarized content.


Improving an essay is a continuous process, but make sure to keep the deadline in mind.

If you are still struggling, you may choose to engage in essay writing services to get reliable help from a professional writer. However, remember our point on plagiarism! Only use them as references to help you with your essay writing.

Alternatively, you may also engage a home tutor to help you.

Consider our advice on what mistakes to avoid in your essay. Hopefully, they will help you pass the obstacles of essay writing. Good luck!

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Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.