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10 Great Essay Writing Tips

simple guide to writing an essay

Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.

Prepare to Answer the Question

Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.

simple guide to writing an essay

Plan Your Essay

Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.

Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable

You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.

simple guide to writing an essay

View It as a Conversation

Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.

simple guide to writing an essay

Provide the Context in the Introduction

If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.

simple guide to writing an essay

Explain What Needs to be Explained

Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.

simple guide to writing an essay

Answer All the Questions

After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.

simple guide to writing an essay

Stay Focused as You Write

Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.

simple guide to writing an essay

Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread

When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.

simple guide to writing an essay

Avoid Filling the Page with Words

A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.


simple guide to writing an essay

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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples

An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.

There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.

The essay writing process consists of three main stages:

  • Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
  • Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
  • Revision:  Check the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.

Table of contents

Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.

The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .

For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.

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simple guide to writing an essay

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Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
  • Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
  • Do your research: Read  primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
  • Come up with a thesis:  The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
  • Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.

The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.

1. Hook your reader

The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.

Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

2. Provide background on your topic

Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.

3. Present the thesis statement

Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:

As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.

4. Map the structure

In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.

The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

Write your essay introduction

The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.

Length of the body text

The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.

Paragraph structure

To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.

That idea is introduced in a  topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.

After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.

Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.

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The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :

  • Returns to your thesis
  • Ties together your main points
  • Shows why your argument matters

A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.

What not to include in a conclusion

To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:

  • Including new arguments or evidence
  • Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
  • Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”

Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

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Checklist: Essay

My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).

My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.

My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.

I use paragraphs to structure the essay.

I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.

Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.

I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.

My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.

I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.

I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.

I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.

My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .

My essay has an interesting and informative title.

I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).

Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence.

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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.

In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.

Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

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Essay Writing Guide

Essay Writing

Last updated on: Jun 8, 2023

How to Write an Essay - A Complete Guide with Examples

By: Nova A.

13 min read

Reviewed By: Rylee W.

Published on: Jan 1, 2019

How to Write an Essay

Are you finding yourself staring at a blank page, unsure of where to begin when it comes to writing an essay? 

Do you struggle with organizing your thoughts and expressing your ideas effectively?

You're not alone!

Many students face challenges when it comes to essay writing, but fear not! 

In this comprehensive guide, we will help you in writing impactful essays with confidence. From choosing a compelling topic to crafting a well-structured argument, we'll take you step-by-step through the essay writing process. 

So, get ready to become a skilled essay writer in no time!

How to Write an Essay

On this Page

Pre-Writing Process: Preparation and Planning 

Building a strong foundation is key to crafting a stellar essay. The pre-writing process sets the stage for your essay by focusing on preparation and planning.

Understand the Essay Prompt or Topic 

Before diving into the writing process, it is crucial to choose and thoroughly understand the essay topic . 

Carefully read and analyze the requirements, instructions, and any specific guidelines provided. 

Identify the key components of the prompt, such as:

  • The main question or issue to be addressed
  • The scope of the topic
  • Any specific requirements for the essay

Choose the Type of Essay 

The next step is to decide which type of essay you need to write. Choosing the correct type of essay is an important step toward your successful essay. 

Here are the main types of essays in which every academic essay can be categorized.

  • Descriptive Essay - A descriptive essay discusses the topic in detail so that it becomes easy to understand for the reader.
  • Narrative Essay - A narrative essay is a narration of a story in the form of an essay.
  • Persuasive Essay - A persuasive essay convinces the reader to accept your perspective about the essay topic.
  • Expository Essay - An expository essay explains and clarifies the topic with great details and examples.

Knowing what type of essay you are required to write can help you choose the topic and draft the essay. Here are the other types of essays that you should also be familiar with.

  • Argumentative essay
  • Analytical essay
  • Cause and effect essay
  • Classification essay
  • Synthesis essay
  • Compare and Contrast Essay

Conduct Thorough Research

Once you have a clear understanding of the essay prompt, it's time to gather relevant information through research. 

Utilize various sources such as scholarly articles and academic databases to gather information that will support your arguments.

Also decide what type of formatting and citation styles you need for your essay.  Generally, the following are some common college essay writing styles for students:

  • APA (American Psychological Association)  - An Author-Date citation style designed for psychology and social science discipline.
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) - An Author-Page number citation style designed for language and humanities disciplines.
  • CMS (Chicago Manual of Style) - A Notes-bibliography or Author-Date citation style, also known as Turabian Style. It is applicable to both scientific and non-scientific disciplines.

Create an Outline to Structure Your Essay 

An outline acts as a skeleton for your essay, providing a structured framework to guide your writing. It helps you with how to write essay format questions and ensure that your essay flows logically and coherently. 

Start by organizing your main ideas or subtopics into sections or paragraphs. Then, under each main idea, list the supporting points, evidence, or examples you will include.

Wondering how to write an outline for an essay ? Here is a 5 paragraph essay outline structure.

Writing Process: Crafting Your Essay 

The writing process includes engaging introduction, body and conclusion. Let’s get through the step by step for crafting each section. 

Write the Introduction 

An introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of your essay. The purpose of the introduction is to inform your reader about the topic that you will discuss in the essay. 

If you are thinking how to write an essay introduction, here is what an engaging introduction includes:

Engaging Hook 

To capture the reader's attention from the start, consider using a compelling hook . 

This can be a thought-provoking question, a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or an intriguing anecdote. 

The goal is to create curiosity and make the reader eager to continue reading.

Background Information

After grabbing the reader's attention, provide some context or background information related to your essay topic. 

This will help the reader understand the significance and relevance of the subject matter. 

It can include historical context, relevant statistics, or an overview of the current state of affairs.

Thesis Statement 

Conclude the introduction with a clear and concise thesis statement that encapsulates the main argument or purpose of your essay. 

The thesis statement should reflect the stance you will be taking and provide a roadmap for the subsequent body paragraphs.

Body Paragraphs 

Body paragraphs are the linking paragraphs between the conclusion and introduction. 

All the information, examples, facts, and details about the topic in this section ultimately support your thesis statement.

Topic Sentences and Supporting Arguments 

In each body paragraph, start with a topic sentence that introduces the main point or argument. 

Each topic sentence should be clear and specific, guiding the reader on what to expect in the paragraph. 

Follow up with supporting arguments or ideas that expand on the topic sentence and provide evidence or examples to support your claims.

Using Evidence and Examples 

To strengthen your arguments, include relevant evidence, examples, or data. This could be in the form of research findings, expert opinions, real-life scenarios, or personal experiences. 

Ensure that the evidence directly supports your claims and helps convince the reader of your point of view.

Use Clear Transitions 

Maintain a logical flow within and between paragraphs by using clear transitions. 

Transitions help connect ideas and create a smooth transition from one point to another. This ensures that your essay is cohesive and easy to follow. 

Use transition words and phrases such as "furthermore," "in addition," "on the other hand," and "in contrast" to signal shifts in ideas and create a seamless reading experience.


The conclusion is the last paragraph that summarizes the main theme of the essay and its outcomes. It should include:

Summarize Key Points 

In the conclusion, provide a brief summary of the key points discussed in the body paragraphs. Remind the reader of the main arguments and evidence presented throughout the essay.

Restate the Thesis Statement 

Reiterate the thesis statement but rephrase it or present it in a slightly different manner. This helps reinforce the central message and reminds the reader of the main focus of the essay.

Call-to-Action/ Impression

End the conclusion with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action. This could be a reflection on the broader implications of the topic, a suggestion for further research, or a call to action.

Post-Writing Process: Editing and Refining 

After writing your essay, make sure you:

Proofread for Grammar and Spelling Errors 

After completing the initial draft of your essay, it's crucial to thoroughly proofread it for any grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors. 

This step ensures that your writing is clear, polished, and professional.

Check for Clarity and Coherence 

Read through your essay with a critical eye, examining the flow of ideas and the logical progression of arguments. 

Ensure that each paragraph and sentence contributes to the overall coherence of the essay. 

Look for any gaps in information or abrupt transitions and revise accordingly to enhance the clarity and readability of your essay.

simple guide to writing an essay

Essay Checklist 

Writing an essay requires careful attention to various aspects, ranging from content to structure, grammar, and formatting. 

Use the following checklist to ensure that your essay meets the necessary requirements and is of high quality.

How to Write an Essay - Examples 

There are several different categories of essays, each with its unique requirements. Each essay presents different information in different ways. 

Here are some useful how-to-write essay samples for different types of essays that will help you write your essay. 





How to Write an Essay About Yourself

Tips for Effective Essay Writing 

Writing an essay can be a challenging task, but with the right approach, you can create a compelling and well-crafted piece of work. 

Here are some tips to help you improve your essay-writing skills:

  • Understand the essay prompt: Carefully read and comprehend the essay prompt to ensure your essay stays focused.
  • Plan and outline your essay: Create a clear outline to provide structure and coherence to your essay.
  • Conduct thorough research: Gather reliable information from credible sources to support your arguments.
  • Develop a strong thesis statement: Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that guides your writing.
  • Write clear and concise paragraphs: Focus each paragraph on a single main idea and use concise language.
  • Use evidence and examples: Support your claims with evidence, examples, and proper citations.
  • Revise and edit: Review for clarity, coherence, grammar, and formatting errors.
  • Seek feedback: Get input from others to gain valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.
  • Practice writing regularly: Regular practice helps improve your writing skills and style.
  • Manage your time: Take breaks and allocate time effectively for each stage of the writing process.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing an Essay 

As a beginner, there are high chance that you make mistakes while writing your essay. However, you can avoid them by working on some basics. 

Below we have mentioned some common errors made by the non-natives.

  • Using passive voice 
  • Adding complex sentences 
  • Adding improper or no transitional sentences 
  • Plagiarism 
  • Failing to follow the assignment instructions
  • Ignoring pronoun subjective-objective agreement 
  • Improper or missing citation references 
  • Citing unreliable resources

You can also check this detailed video guide on what to avoid while writing an essay!

Make sure you avoid these mistakes to make your piece of writing impactful. However, if you are not sure about your essay writing skills, getting professional help is a good idea. 

Let expert writers at assist you with “ write my essay for me ” worries! 

Get professional help with your essays and research papers to achieve academic success. 

Contact us now to experience the difference our essay writing service can make. Don't wait, start writing exceptional essays today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do i start writing an essay.

To start writing an essay, begin by understanding the essay prompt or topic. Conduct research to gather relevant information and develop a clear thesis statement. Create an outline to organize your thoughts and structure your essay. 

What are the 5 parts of an essay?

The five parts of an essay include:

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraphs
  • Transitions
  • References or Bibliography

Nova A.

Marketing, Literature

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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Six top tips for writing a great essay

An essay is used to assess the strength of your critical thinking and your ability to put that thinking into an academic written form. This resource covers some key considerations when writing an essay at university.

While reading a student’s essay, markers will ask themselves questions such as:

  • Does this essay directly address the set task?
  • Does it present a strong, supported position?
  • Does it use relevant sources appropriately?
  • Is the expression clear, and the style appropriate?
  • Is the essay organised coherently? Is there a clear introduction, body and conclusion?

You can use these questions to reflect on your own writing. Here are six top tips to help you address these criteria.

1. Analyse the question

Student essays are responses to specific questions. As an essay must address the question directly, your first step should be to analyse the question. Make sure you know exactly what is being asked of you.

Generally, essay questions contain three component parts:

  • Content terms: Key concepts that are specific to the task
  • Limiting terms: The scope that the topic focuses on
  • Directive terms: What you need to do in relation to the content, e.g. discuss, analyse, define, compare, evaluate.

Look at the following essay question:

Discuss the importance of light in Gothic architecture.
  • Content terms: Gothic architecture
  • Limiting terms: the importance of light. If you discussed some other feature of Gothic architecture, for example spires or arches, you would be deviating from what is required. This essay question is limited to a discussion of light. Likewise, it asks you to write about the importance of light – not, for example, to discuss how light enters Gothic churches.
  • Directive term: discuss. This term asks you to take a broad approach to the variety of ways in which light may be important for Gothic architecture. You should introduce and consider different ideas and opinions that you have met in academic literature on this topic, citing them appropriately .

For a more complex question, you can highlight the key words and break it down into a series of sub-questions to make sure you answer all parts of the task. Consider the following question (from Arts):

To what extent can the American Revolution be understood as a revolution ‘from below’? Why did working people become involved and with what aims in mind?

The key words here are American Revolution and revolution ‘from below’. This is a view that you would need to respond to in this essay. This response must focus on the aims and motivations of working people in the revolution, as stated in the second question.

2. Define your argument

As you plan and prepare to write the essay, you must consider what your argument is going to be. This means taking an informed position or point of view on the topic presented in the question, then defining and presenting a specific argument.

Consider these two argument statements:

The architectural use of light in Gothic cathedrals physically embodied the significance of light in medieval theology.
In the Gothic cathedral of Cologne, light served to accentuate the authority and ritual centrality of the priest.

Statements like these define an essay’s argument. They give coherence by providing an overarching theme and position towards which the entire essay is directed.

3. Use evidence, reasoning and scholarship

To convince your audience of your argument, you must use evidence and reasoning, which involves referring to and evaluating relevant scholarship.

  • Evidence provides concrete information to support your claim. It typically consists of specific examples, facts, quotations, statistics and illustrations.
  • Reasoning connects the evidence to your argument. Rather than citing evidence like a shopping list, you need to evaluate the evidence and show how it supports your argument.
  • Scholarship is used to show how your argument relates to what has been written on the topic (citing specific works). Scholarship can be used as part of your evidence and reasoning to support your argument.

4. Organise a coherent essay

An essay has three basic components - introduction, body and conclusion.

The purpose of an introduction is to introduce your essay. It typically presents information in the following order:

  • A general statement about the topic that provides context for your argument
  • A thesis statement showing your argument. You can use explicit lead-ins, such as ‘This essay argues that...’
  • A ‘road map’ of the essay, telling the reader how it is going to present and develop your argument.

Example introduction

"To what extent can the American Revolution be understood as a revolution ‘from below’? Why did working people become involved and with what aims in mind?"


Historians generally concentrate on the twenty-year period between 1763 and 1783 as the period which constitutes the American Revolution [This sentence sets the general context of the period] . However, when considering the involvement of working people, or people from below, in the revolution it is important to make a distinction between the pre-revolutionary period 1763-1774 and the revolutionary period 1774-1788, marked by the establishment of the continental Congress(1) [This sentence defines the key term from below and gives more context to the argument that follows] . This paper will argue that the nature and aims of the actions of working people are difficult to assess as it changed according to each phase [This is the thesis statement] . The pre-revolutionary period was characterised by opposition to Britain’s authority. During this period the aims and actions of the working people were more conservative as they responded to grievances related to taxes and scarce land, issues which directly affected them. However, examination of activities such as the organisation of crowd action and town meetings, pamphlet writing, formal communications to Britain of American grievances and physical action in the streets, demonstrates that their aims and actions became more revolutionary after 1775 [These sentences give the ‘road map’ or overview of the content of the essay] .

The body of the essay develops and elaborates your argument. It does this by presenting a reasoned case supported by evidence from relevant scholarship. Its shape corresponds to the overview that you provided in your introduction.

The body of your essay should be written in paragraphs. Each body paragraph should develop one main idea that supports your argument. To learn how to structure a paragraph, look at the page developing clarity and focus in academic writing .

Your conclusion should not offer any new material. Your evidence and argumentation should have been made clear to the reader in the body of the essay.

Use the conclusion to briefly restate the main argumentative position and provide a short summary of the themes discussed. In addition, also consider telling your reader:

  • What the significance of your findings, or the implications of your conclusion, might be
  • Whether there are other factors which need to be looked at, but which were outside the scope of the essay
  • How your topic links to the wider context (‘bigger picture’) in your discipline.

Do not simply repeat yourself in this section. A conclusion which merely summarises is repetitive and reduces the impact of your paper.

Example conclusion


Although, to a large extent, the working class were mainly those in the forefront of crowd action and they also led the revolts against wealthy plantation farmers, the American Revolution was not a class struggle [This is a statement of the concluding position of the essay]. Working people participated because the issues directly affected them – the threat posed by powerful landowners and the tyranny Britain represented. Whereas the aims and actions of the working classes were more concerned with resistance to British rule during the pre-revolutionary period, they became more revolutionary in nature after 1775 when the tension with Britain escalated [These sentences restate the key argument]. With this shift, a change in ideas occurred. In terms of considering the Revolution as a whole range of activities such as organising riots, communicating to Britain, attendance at town hall meetings and pamphlet writing, a difficulty emerges in that all classes were involved. Therefore, it is impossible to assess the extent to which a single group such as working people contributed to the American Revolution [These sentences give final thoughts on the topic].

5. Write clearly

An essay that makes good, evidence-supported points will only receive a high grade if it is written clearly. Clarity is produced through careful revision and editing, which can turn a good essay into an excellent one.

When you edit your essay, try to view it with fresh eyes – almost as if someone else had written it.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Overall structure

  • Have you clearly stated your argument in your introduction?
  • Does the actual structure correspond to the ‘road map’ set out in your introduction?
  • Have you clearly indicated how your main points support your argument?
  • Have you clearly signposted the transitions between each of your main points for your reader?
  • Does each paragraph introduce one main idea?
  • Does every sentence in the paragraph support that main idea?
  • Does each paragraph display relevant evidence and reasoning?
  • Does each paragraph logically follow on from the one before it?
  • Is each sentence grammatically complete?
  • Is the spelling correct?
  • Is the link between sentences clear to your readers?
  • Have you avoided redundancy and repetition?

See more about editing on our  editing your writing page.

6. Cite sources and evidence

Finally, check your citations to make sure that they are accurate and complete. Some faculties require you to use a specific citation style (e.g. APA) while others may allow you to choose a preferred one. Whatever style you use, you must follow its guidelines correctly and consistently. You can use Recite, the University of Melbourne style guide, to check your citations.

Further resources

  • Germov, J. (2011). Get great marks for your essays, reports and presentations (3rd ed.). NSW: Allen and Unwin.
  • Using English for Academic Purposes: A guide for students in Higher Education [online]. Retrieved January 2020 from
  • Williams, J.M. & Colomb, G. G. (2010) Style: Lessons in clarity and grace. 10th ed. New York: Longman.

* Example introduction and conclusion adapted from a student paper.

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simple guide to writing an essay

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Write Your Essay

Write a first draft.

Your first draft will help you work out:

  • the structure and framework of your essay
  • how you will answer the question
  • which evidence and examples you will use
  • how your argument will be logically structured.

Your first draft will not be your final essay; think of it as raw material you will refine through editing and redrafting . Once you have a draft, you can work on writing well.

Structure your essay in the most effective way to communicate your ideas and answer the question.

All essays should include the following structure.

simple guide to writing an essay

Essay paragraphs

A paragraph is a related group of sentences that develops one main idea. Each paragraph in the body of the essay should contain:

  • a  topic sentence that states the main or controlling idea
  • supporting sentences to explain and develop the point you’re making
  • evidence from your reading or an example from the subject area that supports your point
  • analysis of the implication/significance/impact of the evidence finished off with a critical conclusion you have drawn from the evidence
  • a concluding sentence that restates your point, analyses the evidence, or acts as a transition to the next paragraph.

Tips for effective writing

  • Start writing early —the earlier the better. Starting cuts down on anxiety, beats procrastination, and gives you time to develop your ideas.
  • Keep the essay question in mind. Don’t lose track of the question or task. Keep a copy in front of you as you draft, edit and work out your argument.
  • Don’t try to write an essay from beginning to end,  especially not in a single sitting. Begin with what you are ready to write—a plan, a few sentences or bullet points. Start with the body and work paragraph by paragraph.
  • Write the introduction and conclusion after the body. Once you know what your essay is about, then write the introduction and conclusion.
  • Use 'signpost' words in your writing. Transition signals can help the reader follow the order and flow of your ideas.
  • Integrate your evidence carefully. Introduce quotations and paraphrases with introductory phrases.
  • Revise your first draft extensively. Make sure the entire essay flows and that the paragraphs are in a logical order.
  • Put the essay aside for a few days. This allows you to consider your essay and edit it with a fresh eye.

Referencing your essay

If you need help understanding the question, please check with your tutor. We may also be able to help:

simple guide to writing an essay

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Essay and assignment writing guide

  • Getting started
  • Research the topic
  • Organise your ideas
  • Write your essay
  • Reference your essay
  • Edit your essay
  • Hand in your essay
  • Essay and assignment planning
  • Answering assignment questions
  • Editing checklist
  • Writing a critical review
  • Annotated bibliography
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A Complete Guide to Essay Writing—Make it Simple

Writing an essay is a task that everyone has to deal with. The first encounter most likely happens at primary school. Compositions in primary school are quite basic and only require a good imagination and somewhat decent writing skills.

Our specialists will write a custom essay on any topic for 13.00 10.40/page

As time passes, essay writing becomes more and more complicated. Soon, to be able to write an excellent essay, you have to conduct research, think the whole thing through, and work on it for much longer in general.

And when you think you’re finally done, there’s still proofreading and editing waiting for you.

Sounds kind of nightmarish, right?

Well, it depends. Some can deal with this task quickly, while others have struggled with essays since primary school.

Virginia Woolf quote.

But how do you define essay writing? Are there many different types of essays?

Let’s find the answers to these questions right now. Also, while we’re at it, let’s talk about how to write an essay. We’ll go through each stage of the essay writing process and point out all the essential details of the creation process.

You think that’s it? No, there’s even more!

You’ll also find a bunch of tips you can use to make writing an essay much easier. And there will be a couple of useful links with various essay topics to choose from.

So, with these tips, essay writing will become an easy task. Even for those who have always gone through a serious struggle to write one. Also, don’t forget: you can turn to custom paper writing service for help if the task is too tough to complete on your own.

Receive a plagiarism-free paper tailored to your instructions.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

📜 Essay Definition

  • 📚 Essay Type

Preparation Stage (Prewriting)

Planning stage (shaping), drafting stage, revising stage, editing stage, proofreading stage.

  • 💡 Writing an essay: Tips and Tricks

Why not clear this up right away?

The reason that we’re talking about this in the first place is that the definition of an essay is quite vague. We’re not saying that nobody knows what an essay is. It’s just that different people have different answers to the question, “What is essay writing?”

Bear with us. It won’t take long to explain.

We’ll try to make it as simple as possible. In general, an essay is a written work that gives the author’s own opinion or argument on a particular topic. This type of writing usually crosses over with other works of similar types, such as pamphlets, articles, and short stories. Therefore, even the essential characteristics of the essay may vary.

Just 13.00 10.40/page , and you can get an custom-written academic paper according to your instructions

There’s also another sub-classification: formal and informal. And that’s what brings in such diversity. Which, in turn, causes various essay definitions to appear.

Among the other fundamental features of an essay, formal essays are lengthy, strictly and logically organized, and involve specialized terminology. Informal essays, in contrast, carry a lot more “personality,” have more of a conversational writing style, and quite often include humor.

📚 Essay Types

It’s no secret that every kind of written work has some method of classification. And essays are no exception.

Students, authors, journalists, and professional essayists all create various types of essays.

Here they are:

Argumentative essays : This is one of the types of essay writing that provides an analysis of a subject on a single topic. The primary purpose is to provide either a positive or negative opinion. This kind of essay requires investigation and research.

History essays : This type of essay can also be referred to as a thesis essay. It discusses a particular historical event or describes an issue. To support the main point, the writer presents arguments, references, and pieces of evidence.

Familiar essays : A familiar essay is when the author is “speaking” to a single reader. Along with describing a specific subject, the author also writes about himself and the reader.

Descriptive essays : The key to writing a descriptive piece is in details—the small features that appeal to readers’ physical, emotional, and intellectual senses. In a descriptive essay, the author creates a strong impression by using expressive language, organizes thoughts in a logical order, considers the target audience, and determines the purpose of the essay itself.

Cause and effect essays : One of the defining features of this kind of essay is that it has a logical chain that connects a specific cause and effect. Also, this type of composition involves a chronological order of writing and careful language.

Narrative essays fact.

Narrative essays : The narrative essay focuses on a specific plot. It involves transitions, flashbacks, and forward jumps in the narration (apart from this, the text usually follows a chronological arrangement). All of these components then lead to a climax.

Reflective essays : This is more of an analytical type of writing. Along with describing a specific event, memory, interaction, or scene (real or imaginary), the author also adds a personal reflection on what this all means to him or her (hence the name).

Dialectic essays : This essay style finds the most use in philosophy. In this type of writing, the author makes a statement, argument, or thesis and then objects to his own words. After that, he delivers another counterargument to the previous one, ending up with a final renewed statement.

Classification and division essays : These are two different types of essays, but they nonetheless share a common ground. Classification essays group specific objects into a whole, while division essays break down a broad topic into smaller components.

Economic essays : This type of writing starts either with a thesis or a theme. It then takes a descriptive or narrative path of development. Shaping this kind of essay is straightforward; the description of economic matters, analysis, evaluation, and conclusion all stay the same.

Compare and contrast essays : The names of these types of essays speak for themselves. Compare essays highlight similarities between subjects, and contrast essays point out the differences.

Exemplification essays : In an exemplification essay, the author usually takes a bunch of representative and relevant examples and generalizes them. This method helps bring a new perspective to a particular topic and draws a bigger picture as a whole if the topic consists of multiple components.

5 paragraph structure.

Apart from the types of essays mentioned above, there are plenty more organizational structures and logical progressions available. After understanding the main principles of how to logically progress through an essay, you can even come up with an essay type of your own! These custom types usually have even more impact, as they look unlike anything that’s ever been seen before.

Let’s now move on to the writing process itself. We’ll see just how easy it will be for you to create your own unique essay.

✍️ How to Write an Essay

Again, as with any other written work, an essay has a specific set of steps or stages to complete.

It’s not like you have no other choice but to follow these steps. But you can use the stages described below as a good beginning framework.

In following these steps, you’ll see that the whole process becomes much more organized. And there won’t be a single minute wasted, as you’ll know exactly what to do next and what parts of the essay to include.

Here are the stages of writing an essay.

This stage of essay writing includes selecting a topic (if you aren’t given one), analyzing the problem, and brainstorming the main ideas.

Let’s do a quick rundown.

When choosing a topic, you need to focus on a subject you’re interested in. Otherwise, writing an essay will become a major chore. After deciding on the field you’re going to be working in, narrow your selection down to a single specific problem. This way you’ll avoid unnecessary rambling, and your essay will get right to the point.

We’ll talk more about topic selection below and provide you with a couple of helpful links, so don’t go anywhere.

When analyzing your topic, it’s not enough just to read it all carefully. Instead, underline the keywords and try to explain it in your own words. This will bring you an understanding of what you’re going to write. And exactly how you will deliver it.

You need to come up with the ideas that will fill your essay. It should all start with the regular questions regarding your topic:

Stay focused on the ideas at this point. You can think about how to write an essay introduction later. When brainstorming, write down every single idea, regardless of how good you think it is. You’ll then select the strongest ones, those that fit your topic in the best way and cover all the aspects you want to talk about.

Vera Nazarian quote.

At this point, you’re going to be formulating your thesis statement and creating an essay outline. There’s also literature research to do, which can fall in either the first or the second stage.

Researching the literature is where all that topic analysis and brainstorming you did previously will come into play. That’s because you’ll now be using the keywords and working around the main ideas you’ve selected to find the most relevant resources.

Do a critical evaluation of your sources to see how much use they will actually have. And after deciding which sources you’re going to use, make a reference list. It’s important to do this before you start writing so that it’s easier to incorporate quotes.

When formulating a thesis statement , you need to express your opinion on the topic. Don’t say your opinion directly, though. Otherwise, there won’t be any need to read the rest of the essay. Just make it as clear as possible. This is where brainstorming comes in handy again, so you’d better not skimp on that beginning step. If you need to go through the process faster, consider trying an automatic thesis statement generator .

Just have a look at these examples:

Bad statement example.

This statement is too broad. The main idea is unclear, so the reader will be left to guess what you’re going to talk about.

Good statement example.

This statement delivers a clear message. It narrows down the topic, and at the same time, it leaves enough room for further development of the main idea.

See? It’s simple!

And now, let’s look at your essay outline.

To come up with a suitable outline, you need to analyze all the information you’ve gathered so far. Make a summary for yourself. Name the paragraphs and leave space between them so you can write down ideas of what you’re going to talk about in those sections.

Here’s a rough sample you can use to write an essay outline of your own. You can modify it however you need for it to fit your requirements. Naturally, your outline may look different depending on the type of essay you choose. So now you won’t even need to look for an essay outline template online!

  • Introduction. ( Describe the issue and give an overview of pros and cons. )
  • First supporting paragraph. ( Talk about positive aspects, provide examples and reasoning, or describe a personal story. )
  • Second supporting paragraph. ( Describe negative elements with examples, give reasons, or share your own experience. )
  • Conclusion. ( Sum up everything you’ve written. )

This is where things get serious.

Needless to say, you have to hook your readers’ attention within the very first few sentences. As with any other type of writing, you should start every paragraph with the main idea. Stick to this rule, and you’ll be able to deliver clear messages without any difficulties.

All the sentences in your essay need to come together to create a whole, complete story—not just a bunch of unrelated thoughts loosely bound by a single theme.

Summarize all the info you’ve given in the conclusion. After reading your essay, the reader should have a very clear idea of what the essay was about.

Also, pay attention to the following aspects:

  • The transition between paragraphs must be smooth. Repeat keywords and use linking words and expressions.
  • The narration of your essay needs to develop logically.
  • Use simple sentence structures.
  • Provide enough background info in your introductory paragraph .

The usefulness of IT.

Don’t sweat too much trying to make your essay perfect from the very first attempt. There’s still revision, editing, and proofreading ahead. You can get rid of all the imperfections at those later stages.

At this stage, your essay will experience the most drastic changes.

For instance, you might have to add some more content in case you haven’t described your idea clearly enough. Maybe you’ll even have to add a full paragraph that you originally planned to leave out.

On the other hand, you may also want to remove some information if you feel that your essay is overloaded. Or you can just replace unnecessary text with something more relevant and to the point.

Louis L’Amour quote.

Check the overall flow of your essay and don’t be afraid to change things around if the argument doesn’t seem like it develops naturally.

You can also make a comparison with an academic paper sample of the same type. This will give you a clearer understanding of what your own essay should look like. The essay samples don’t have to be on the same topic, or even in the same discipline. You’re just looking for an idea of how to shape your work.

After you’ve done all that, you can move on to the next stage.

You’ll be dealing with all the technical issues at the editing stage.

You want to look at sentence clarity, eliminate repetition, and check for punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

Editing is a detail-oriented process, so you need to pay a lot of attention while doing it. Start by checking for misspelled words and grammar. These are the aspects that usually bring the most mistakes.

If you’re already aware of your writing weaknesses, you can even make a checklist with things to look for in the first place.

This is where you’ll check your essay as if you were a reader, not the one who created it.

You should read the whole essay carefully, sentence by sentence. The main idea here is to find and eliminate all the tiny imperfections that you missed at the previous stages.

Print out your essay for more convenience. By reviewing it on paper, you’re more likely to spot mistakes than while reading from the screen.

Your friends can help out, too, if they’re willing to let you read your essay aloud to them. You’ll get instant feedback in case anything sounds wrong.

💡 Writing an Essay: Tips and Tricks

Here are a few useful tips to make your essay writing even more natural.

  • Make use of a dictionary and thesaurus. You can always check the meaning of any unfamiliar words. And a thesaurus will help you find synonyms if you need to rephrase something or avoid repetition.
  • Use mind mapping during the brainstorming stage to make your ideas and the connections between them more visual.
  • Don’t simplify your thesis too much. You need to show that you put some thought into it.
  • 50+ Excellent College Essay Topics to Impress Your Instructor
  • 80 Social Studies Topics for Your Excellent Essay
  • 21 Outstanding History Essay Topics That Will Impress You
  • Top 50 Free Ideas for Argumentative/Persuasive Essay Topics
  • 27 Brilliant Argument Essay Topics for Your Inspiration
  • Involve time-tested essay writing strategies .
  • Check essay examples to become more confident in your writing.

We hope that after reading this post, essay writing won’t seem like a difficult task anymore.

Following the steps isn’t hard. And after just a bit of practice, you’ll see that writing an essay can be enjoyable and straightforward enough.

Further reading:

  • Essay Topics for Grade 8, 9, 10, 12
  • Primary School Essay: Simple Writing Guide
  • What Does an Excellent Essay Look Like?
  • 1000-Word Essays: Quick Answers
  • Breaking Down the Types of Essays
  • How to Write a Good 5 Paragraph Essay
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simple guide to writing an essay

Essay Writing for Beginners: 6-Step Guide with Examples

If you need to write an essay, whether for a college course or to pass a writing test, this guide will take you through the process step-by-step.

Even if you have never written an essay before, this guide will make the process simple and easy to follow.

It is divided into two parts. 

First, I’ll show you the steps of writing an essay from scratch using a simple example. 

And in the second part, we’ll go through the process together and write a complete sample essay.

Let’s dive right in. 

Writing an essay is a 6-step process.  

Step 1. Decide on your main point and write it down

You could be in one of the following situations:

  • Your teacher or professor gave you a prompt, and you have to follow it
  • You are allowed to make up your own essay topic
  • You must pass a writing test and are practicing

Whatever the case, let’s assume that you have some kind of a topic or an idea for an essay. Many essay prompts ask you to decide for or against an idea. You must agree or disagree.

And in your first step, you need to simply make that decision – whether you agree or disagree – and just write it down as a simple sentence. 

simple guide to writing an essay

This is a very simple example, but it shows you what a thesis essentially looks like. It is also your main point.

Try not to make your thesis sentence too complicated. Keep it simple so that the point is perfectly clear to both you and the reader. 

In this case, our example thesis is:

And we’re ready for the next step.

Step 2. Come up with three supporting ideas

Whether you need to write 300 or 3,000 words, as a beginner you only need three supporting points to prove your main point.

This is why I teach the Power of Three. 

simple guide to writing an essay

So, why three? You see, you need to divide your topic into subtopics. If you don’t, the whole essay writing process will be harder than it has to be.

If you divide it into only two parts, that’s okay. But it doesn’t give you enough meat when you’ll be writing the body of the essay.

If you divide it into more than three, that is also a recipe for frustration. It’s just too many. 

Three is a very comfortable number for the brain to deal with. Trust me. I’ve taught many, many people. 

Let’s apply the Power of Three to our simple example. 

Why do I love apples? I love them for three reasons. Not one, not two, not seven. Just three reasons. 

I love apples because they are:

  • Nutritious 

In this step, your job is to make sure that these three reasons are really different from one another. In this case, they are. 

Here is a wrong way to do it:

In this case, apples being filling is too similar to being nutritious. This means that when you’re writing the body of the essay, you may run into writer’s block.

This happens because you realize that you’ve already said everything there is to say about the nutrition of apples, and now them being filling is too closely related. And you’re out of words to write. 

Don’t let that happen. Just keep your supporting points really distinct from one another. 

Step 3. Write out the complete thesis statement

Now you have everything you need to write a complete thesis statement. You have your main and supporting points. 

Take them and write them out as complete sentences in one paragraph. Let’s do it very simplistically, using our apples example:

Again, this is overly simple, and I don’t expect you to write such short sentences one after another this way. 

But it’s crystal clear. And the supporting points really sound like good evidence for the main point. 

In other words, this thesis statement works. 

Your Thesis Statement Is Also Your Outline

Students often ask how to write an essay outline. But once you have written your thesis statement the way I just showed you, you have yourself a nice outline. 

simple guide to writing an essay

In addition, you already have the first paragraph. It may not be complete. You may choose to add some words to it. You will also add an introduction in a later step.

But your first paragraph is, for the main, done. It exists, and it’s good to know that you just wrote a nice paragraph. 

We are ready for the next step. 

Step 4. Write the body of the essay

We already know that we have three sections in our little example. And you will also have three main sections if you apply the Power of Three to your essay.

Each of your sections will contain one or more paragraphs. 

But as a beginner, just stick to one paragraph per section. Each of your sections will be a paragraph, and you need to write only three paragraphs in the body of the essay.

Body Paragraph Structure

You must begin each of your body paragraphs with a lead sentence (also known as a topic sentence). And then your job is to fill the rest of the paragraph with evidence to support what you just stated in the lead sentence.

simple guide to writing an essay

You may have heard that in your essay you should proceed from more general to more specific ? That is exactly right.

The lead sentence (the first sentence in the paragraph) is the most general statement in that paragraph. 

For example, in our essay about apples, the second section is about how nutritious apples are. So, you would begin your paragraph with something like this:

This is the most general statement. And now, your job would be to unpack that, to write a little more specifically. 

As an explanation , you can write a sentence or two on what kinds of nutrients apples contain. 

And as examples , you can write about what some of these nutrients do in the body that makes them nutritious. 

Does this make sense? You are proceeding from general to specific. We’ll take a closer look at this process in the essay topic sample that is coming up. 

Once you’ve written the body paragraphs, you’re ready for the next step. 

Step 5. Write the introduction and the conclusion


The introduction is really just a sentence (two at most) that you add in the beginning of your first paragraph. 

Introductions are not necessary. Many instructors will expect that you write them while others won’t. You can go straight to the point by starting your first paragraph with the thesis. 

However, most instructors will expect an introduction, and you should know how to write one. 

To write an introduction, just zoom out a bit and write a more general and less relevant sentence. For example, we can start our essay about apples with this sentence:

And then we proceed straight to the thesis: “I love apples.” And so on…


In your conclusion you can do one of several things. But I recommend that, as a beginner, you stick to the time-proven restatement .

Basically, you simply repeat what you stated in your thesis statement, using different words.  

Yes, this is repetitious, but that is the nature of conclusions. Don’t worry. 

You can literally copy your thesis statement, paste it at the end of your essay, and make sure you change the wording so that it reads like a new paragraph.

For example, this is how we can write our conclusion about apples:

Yes, your conclusion can be just one sentence. But it can also contain many sentences. 

Step 6. Proofread

Our final step in writing an essay is to go back and proofread our draft.

We must look out for:

  • Any contradictions (to make sure we don’t contradict our own points)
  • Any irrelevant material (stuff that doesn’t belong in the essay at all)
  • Grammatical errors
  • Misspellings

One good, thorough round of proofreading can be enough to be ready to submit your essay for grading. 

You can use a variety of tools sto spell-check your essay. Google docs is one great tool for that. But many others, such as Grammarly, are available as well.

Guess what! Now you know how to write an essay, even if you’re a beginner. 

And now, let’s apply what we learned.

Let’s take a sample topic and follow the 6 steps to write a nice sample essay.

Let’s do this!

Sample Essay: “Parents are the best teachers.” 

This essay topic came from one of my readers. Let’s develop it into an essay by following the steps we just learned.

Step 1. Decide on the main point and write it

Let’s say that we are given a choice – whether we agree or disagree that parents are the best teachers.

All we have to do is take a stand. We have to simply decide – yes or no.

Let’s decide that parents are indeed the best teachers.

We simply state this as the main point:

Step 2. Think up three supporting ideas

Why could parents be the best teachers?

This will take some thinking. But that’s what we need to do.

Let’s use the Power of Three . And here is what we came up with:

  • They are the first teachers, and that’s very important.
  • They have the child’s best interests in mind.
  • They spend more time with their child than anyone else. 

We really want to make sure that these supporting points are different from one another. Are they?

If we read them over, we’ll see that each of them is indeed distinct. Great!

Step 3. Write out the thesis statement

We have our main point. We have our supporting points. And writing the full thesis statement is now easy.

Let’s do it:

We really just took the thesis and the supporting statements and wrote them all in a sequence as one paragraph. 

As a result, we now have a nice, clear opening paragraph.

We also now have our outline:

simple guide to writing an essay

We know exactly how many sections our essay will have.

We also know in which order we’ll be presenting our support. It’s all in the thesis statement, which is also our outline. 

Now our job is to write three good supporting paragraphs, one at a time.

Let’s start with the first body paragraph.

The first sentence is always the lead sentence – the most general sentence in a body paragraph. 

Writing the Lead Sentence

Let’s first copy and paste our first supporting point from our thesis statement:

I copied this because this is exactly what my paragraph is about. And this would be a perfect lead sentence if it were not repetitious. 

To make sure it’s not simply repetitious, we’ll tweak and expand it a little:

We made sure that the subject is clear – that it is not “ They ” but “ Parents .”

And we expanded the sentence by adding an explanation: “…because what is imprinted early stays with the child forever.”

You don’t have to necessarily add an explanation in the lead sentence like this. But this is an option that you have. 

All we really want to do in the lead sentence is just expand it slightly over the initial supporting point that it came from. 

Writing the Rest of the Paragraph

Let’s review our body paragraph structure:

simple guide to writing an essay

In our paragraph, we proceed from more general to more specific. Our lead sentence is the most general statement. 

The next most general part of the paragraph is where you explain your point. You can provide a scientific explanation with data and research. You can explain it logically, using your own rationale. 

But it is still a general part. Let’s write it.


We are keeping it simple and not using any references to scientific studies. You can and should cite sources in your essay when necessary.

If you’re writing an essay in an exam or test, you won’t need any references. You can just make things up as you go along. And it works as long as your content is logical and supports the main point.

If you’re writing for a college course, you will likely need to cite sources, unless it’s English 101 where you write basic essays like this one. 

But now, we have three explanatory sentences in our paragraph. Our next step is to add at least one example. You can add more, but one should do it for a beginner. 

This example presents a phenomenon that is well known in psychology. It is an example because it describes one extreme kind of a phenomenon. It is also much more specific than our explanation. 

Note that we can add more words by talking about a specific wild child from history. But let’s stop here and look at our full paragraph:

simple guide to writing an essay

We have 113 words in this paragraph. And it’s a perfect body paragraph that supports the first part of our thesis statement.

Let’s write the next one. 

Again, let’s copy the second supporting point and then tweak and expand it.

This sentence already starts with the subject, which is “ parents .” Now, all we need to do is to expand it slightly:

We added a short phrase just to make the lead sentence a little longer and more detailed. Now it doesn’t read like plain repetition.

Let’s write the next most general part of this paragraph – the explanation:

These three sentences explain why it makes sense that parents would have the child’s best interests in mind. She is the most precious thing to them in the world. 

It’s time for an example. And I’ll use my personal experience:

It’s totally okay to use personal examples in an essay. You can use them even in advanced research papers. Your personal experience is valuable. Use it.

Let’s take a look at our second body paragraph in its entirety:

simple guide to writing an essay

This paragraph contains 98 words of evidence to support the second point. 

It’s time for the final body paragraph.

Again, you know what we’ll do. We’ll just copy our third supporting point and tweak and expand it a little:

Let’s make sure the reader knows what the real subject is in this sentence. And let’s also expand it just a bit:

Great! It’s time for the explanatory part:

Again, we won’t be citing any sources here and will keep it simple. This explanation works really well because it provides evidence for the third supporting point.

Let’s be even more specific and write at least one example.

Again, I’m using a personal example to show that whoever spends the most time with the child will have the most influence.

And let’s take a look at our third body paragraph as a whole:

simple guide to writing an essay

We have here 116 words of great, general-to-specific content that supports our third point. 

As a result, if we look back at what we’ve done, we’ll see that everything we wrote in the body paragraphs supports the main point that parents are the best teachers.

It’s time for the next step. 


Our introduction will be just one sentence, which is enough. 

First, let’s revisit our complete thesis statement. We will write the introductory sentence based on it. 

simple guide to writing an essay

In this paragraph, we go straight to the point, and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

However, as we know, most instructors will expect some kind of an introduction. So, we’ll add one sentence before we get to the main point.

This sentence must be more general. We are zooming out a little. Let’s do it:

And let’s take a look at the full paragraph together with the introduction:

simple guide to writing an essay

Note that I took out the phrase “for three reasons.” It is unnecessary because it is clear that you are providing three supporting points. And the whole paragraph sounds better this way.

To write the conclusion, we’ll simply reword the thesis statement. We only need to make sure that we don’t sound like we’re just repeating things.

That was not too hard, was it?

It’s time for the final step. 

In this step, we just need to go over our essay, making final edits and corrections. And that’s all.

I hope this tutorial really helps you in your essay writing. 

Stay tuned and we’ll talk soon!

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Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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How To Write An Essay: Beginner Tips And Tricks

How To Write An Essay # Beginner Tips And Tricks

Many students dread writing essays, but essay writing is an important skill to develop in high school, university, and even into your future career. By learning how to write an essay properly, the process can become more enjoyable and you’ll find you’re better able to organize and articulate your thoughts.

When writing an essay, it’s common to follow a specific pattern, no matter what the topic is. Once you’ve used the pattern a few times and you know how to structure an essay, it will become a lot more simple to apply your knowledge to every essay. 

No matter which major you choose, you should know how to craft a good essay. Here, we’ll cover the basics of essay writing, along with some helpful tips to make the writing process go smoothly.

Ink pen on paper before writing an essay

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Types of Essays

Think of an essay as a discussion. There are many types of discussions you can have with someone else. You can be describing a story that happened to you, you might explain to them how to do something, or you might even argue about a certain topic. 

When it comes to different types of essays, it follows a similar pattern. Like a friendly discussion, each type of essay will come with its own set of expectations or goals. 

For example, when arguing with a friend, your goal is to convince them that you’re right. The same goes for an argumentative essay. 

Here are a few of the main essay types you can expect to come across during your time in school:

Narrative Essay

This type of essay is almost like telling a story, not in the traditional sense with dialogue and characters, but as if you’re writing out an event or series of events to relay information to the reader.

Persuasive Essay

Here, your goal is to persuade the reader about your views on a specific topic.

Descriptive Essay

This is the kind of essay where you go into a lot more specific details describing a topic such as a place or an event. 

Argumentative Essay

In this essay, you’re choosing a stance on a topic, usually controversial, and your goal is to present evidence that proves your point is correct.

Expository Essay

Your purpose with this type of essay is to tell the reader how to complete a specific process, often including a step-by-step guide or something similar.

Compare and Contrast Essay

You might have done this in school with two different books or characters, but the ultimate goal is to draw similarities and differences between any two given subjects.

The Main Stages of Essay Writing

When it comes to writing an essay, many students think the only stage is getting all your ideas down on paper and submitting your work. However, that’s not quite the case. 

There are three main stages of writing an essay, each one with its own purpose. Of course, writing the essay itself is the most substantial part, but the other two stages are equally as important.

So, what are these three stages of essay writing? They are:


Before you even write one word, it’s important to prepare the content and structure of your essay. If a topic wasn’t assigned to you, then the first thing you should do is settle on a topic. Next, you want to conduct your research on that topic and create a detailed outline based on your research. The preparation stage will make writing your essay that much easier since, with your outline and research, you should already have the skeleton of your essay.

Writing is the most time-consuming stage. In this stage, you will write out all your thoughts and ideas and craft your essay based on your outline. You’ll work on developing your ideas and fleshing them out throughout the introduction, body, and conclusion (more on these soon).

In the final stage, you’ll go over your essay and check for a few things. First, you’ll check if your essay is cohesive, if all the points make sense and are related to your topic, and that your facts are cited and backed up. You can also check for typos, grammar and punctuation mistakes, and formatting errors.  

The Five-Paragraph Essay

We mentioned earlier that essay writing follows a specific structure, and for the most part in academic or college essays , the five-paragraph essay is the generally accepted structure you’ll be expected to use. 

The five-paragraph essay is broken down into one introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a closing paragraph. However, that doesn’t always mean that an essay is written strictly in five paragraphs, but rather that this structure can be used loosely and the three body paragraphs might become three sections instead.

Let’s take a closer look at each section and what it entails.


As the name implies, the purpose of your introduction paragraph is to introduce your idea. A good introduction begins with a “hook,” something that grabs your reader’s attention and makes them excited to read more. 

Another key tenant of an introduction is a thesis statement, which usually comes towards the end of the introduction itself. Your thesis statement should be a phrase that explains your argument, position, or central idea that you plan on developing throughout the essay. 

You can also include a short outline of what to expect in your introduction, including bringing up brief points that you plan on explaining more later on in the body paragraphs.

Here is where most of your essay happens. The body paragraphs are where you develop your ideas and bring up all the points related to your main topic. 

In general, you’re meant to have three body paragraphs, or sections, and each one should bring up a different point. Think of it as bringing up evidence. Each paragraph is a different piece of evidence, and when the three pieces are taken together, it backs up your main point — your thesis statement — really well.

That being said, you still want each body paragraph to be tied together in some way so that the essay flows. The points should be distinct enough, but they should relate to each other, and definitely to your thesis statement. Each body paragraph works to advance your point, so when crafting your essay, it’s important to keep this in mind so that you avoid going off-track or writing things that are off-topic.

Many students aren’t sure how to write a conclusion for an essay and tend to see their conclusion as an afterthought, but this section is just as important as the rest of your work. 

You shouldn’t be presenting any new ideas in your conclusion, but you should summarize your main points and show how they back up your thesis statement. 

Essentially, the conclusion is similar in structure and content to the introduction, but instead of introducing your essay, it should be wrapping up the main thoughts and presenting them to the reader as a singular closed argument. 

student writing an essay on his laptop

Photo by AMIT RANJAN on Unsplash

Steps to Writing an Essay

Now that you have a better idea of an essay’s structure and all the elements that go into it, you might be wondering what the different steps are to actually write your essay. 

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Instead of going in blind, follow these steps on how to write your essay from start to finish.

Understand Your Assignment

When writing an essay for an assignment, the first critical step is to make sure you’ve read through your assignment carefully and understand it thoroughly. You want to check what type of essay is required, that you understand the topic, and that you pay attention to any formatting or structural requirements. You don’t want to lose marks just because you didn’t read the assignment carefully.

Research Your Topic

Once you understand your assignment, it’s time to do some research. In this step, you should start looking at different sources to get ideas for what points you want to bring up throughout your essay. 

Search online or head to the library and get as many resources as possible. You don’t need to use them all, but it’s good to start with a lot and then narrow down your sources as you become more certain of your essay’s direction.

Start Brainstorming

After research comes the brainstorming. There are a lot of different ways to start the brainstorming process . Here are a few you might find helpful:

  • Think about what you found during your research that interested you the most
  • Jot down all your ideas, even if they’re not yet fully formed
  • Create word clouds or maps for similar terms or ideas that come up so you can group them together based on their similarities
  • Try freewriting to get all your ideas out before arranging them

Create a Thesis

This is often the most tricky part of the whole process since you want to create a thesis that’s strong and that you’re about to develop throughout the entire essay. Therefore, you want to choose a thesis statement that’s broad enough that you’ll have enough to say about it, but not so broad that you can’t be precise. 

Write Your Outline

Armed with your research, brainstorming sessions, and your thesis statement, the next step is to write an outline. 

In the outline, you’ll want to put your thesis statement at the beginning and start creating the basic skeleton of how you want your essay to look. 

A good way to tackle an essay is to use topic sentences . A topic sentence is like a mini-thesis statement that is usually the first sentence of a new paragraph. This sentence introduces the main idea that will be detailed throughout the paragraph. 

If you create an outline with the topic sentences for your body paragraphs and then a few points of what you want to discuss, you’ll already have a strong starting point when it comes time to sit down and write. This brings us to our next step… 

Write a First Draft

The first time you write your entire essay doesn’t need to be perfect, but you do need to get everything on the page so that you’re able to then write a second draft or review it afterward. 

Everyone’s writing process is different. Some students like to write their essay in the standard order of intro, body, and conclusion, while others prefer to start with the “meat” of the essay and tackle the body, and then fill in the other sections afterward. 

Make sure your essay follows your outline and that everything relates to your thesis statement and your points are backed up by the research you did. 

Revise, Edit, and Proofread

The revision process is one of the three main stages of writing an essay, yet many people skip this step thinking their work is done after the first draft is complete. 

However, proofreading, reviewing, and making edits on your essay can spell the difference between a B paper and an A.

After writing the first draft, try and set your essay aside for a few hours or even a day or two, and then come back to it with fresh eyes to review it. You might find mistakes or inconsistencies you missed or better ways to formulate your arguments.

Add the Finishing Touches

Finally, you’ll want to make sure everything that’s required is in your essay. Review your assignment again and see if all the requirements are there, such as formatting rules, citations, quotes, etc. 

Go over the order of your paragraphs and make sure everything makes sense, flows well, and uses the same writing style . 

Once everything is checked and all the last touches are added, give your essay a final read through just to ensure it’s as you want it before handing it in. 

A good way to do this is to read your essay out loud since you’ll be able to hear if there are any mistakes or inaccuracies.

Essay Writing Tips

With the steps outlined above, you should be able to craft a great essay. Still, there are some other handy tips we’d recommend just to ensure that the essay writing process goes as smoothly as possible.

  • Start your essay early. This is the first tip for a reason. It’s one of the most important things you can do to write a good essay. If you start it the night before, then you won’t have enough time to research, brainstorm, and outline — and you surely won’t have enough time to review.
  • Don’t try and write it in one sitting. It’s ok if you need to take breaks or write it over a few days. It’s better to write it in multiple sittings so that you have a fresh mind each time and you’re able to focus.
  • Always keep the essay question in mind. If you’re given an assigned question, then you should always keep it handy when writing your essay to make sure you’re always working to answer the question.
  • Use transitions between paragraphs. In order to improve the readability of your essay, try and make clear transitions between paragraphs. This means trying to relate the end of one paragraph to the beginning of the next one so the shift doesn’t seem random.
  • Integrate your research thoughtfully. Add in citations or quotes from your research materials to back up your thesis and main points. This will show that you did the research and that your thesis is backed up by it.

Wrapping Up

Writing an essay doesn’t need to be daunting if you know how to approach it. Using our essay writing steps and tips, you’ll have better knowledge on how to write an essay and you’ll be able to apply it to your next assignment. Once you do this a few times, it will become more natural to you and the essay writing process will become quicker and easier.

If you still need assistance with your essay, check with a student advisor to see if they offer help with writing. At University of the People(UoPeople), we always want our students to succeed, so our student advisors are ready to help with writing skills when necessary. 

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