Researching and writing your essay
will have consolidated your learning of the subject at hand. However,
the feedback you get from your lecturers can be used as further learning.
They might, for example, suggest new ideas, fresh examples or different
opinions. These are really worth considering while the ideas and arguments
are still fresh in your mind.
There may be simple corrections of facts or mistakes. Note these! There may be ideas on how you could express yourself more clearly or remarks about the detailed aspect of the structure of your essay. Study them all carefully.
The overall comment you receive will evaluate your essay as a whole, and probably involve some justification of the mark you receive. These comments have been thought through carefully and are designed to help you to improve your work - use them, don't waste them. You may get the opportunity to discuss your work with the marker: use this as a positive opportunity, especially if you haven't done as well as you expected, and build on what you learn.
It should be clear to you by now that essays are about a lot more than just covering a few sides of A4 paper. They are a vital part of your learning and it is up to you to maximise their usefulness to you.
Ensure that you have correctly referenced all quotations and completed a bibliography according to the stylistic requirements to which you have been asked to adhere. Your bibliography is very important as evidence of your research and wider reading, and to demonstrate that you recognise the importance of acknowledging sources. A bibliography should never be a rushed, last-minute task, but rather should evolve naturally, as your research does. As previously stated, noting full publication details of every book you consult at the time will help enormously with this.
Your search for relevant information for your essay will undoubtedly generate a mass of material and so it is essential that you develop concise note taking skills. A good place to start is to make a document on your computer just for source material, but divide it into the parts of your essay (for example, if you are writing a dissertation, you may wish to include sections such as introduction, background, methodology, literature review, evidence, conclusion and recommendations). Into this, copy all good sections, quotes, statistics and other useful source material that you find, making sure that you note where you found each piece of information. Each source can be placed into the section (introduction, conclusion etc) where you are most likely to use it. This will give you a rough framework for when you begin writing and will help you form a direction of where your essay is likely to go, based on your findings.