How to Write an Essay: A Simple Guide for Every Student
Essays are among the most common writing assignments encountered in almost all levels of formal learning. Yet, it is common for students to experience some level of anxiety when they realize that they have to write an essay. This means that you are not the only one who might have looked up information on How to Write an Essay. Essay writing requires continuous practice because even experts are not perfect.
9 Simple Steps to Follow When Writing an Essay
Many students procrastinate writing an essay as they wonder where to start. However, taking it one step at a time is the best approach to avoid discouragement. The following simple steps provide the Essay Writing Help that you need to ace every essay that you encounter.
- Read and understand the instructions
- Select an appropriate topic for your essay
- Conduct broad research on your topic
- Formulate a working thesis statement
- Develop a working outline for your essay
- Write the first draft
- Proofread and check any Grammatical errors
- Seek a second perspective and evaluate feedback
- Polish your final draft
While these may see like many steps, the following breakdown of each step will make your essay writing process easy and enjoyable as you learn the easiest hack on How to Write an Essay.
1. Understand the instructions
Most of the time, you will be given instructions from your teacher regarding the essay writing assignment. Not all essays are the same and therefore understanding the specific instructions is crucial. Depending on the subject you are studying, you might encounter different types of essays that include;
Persuasive essay. This type requires you to identify a specific point of view and convince the audience why your point of view is valid using logic and facts. The writer must also acknowledge the opposing view and present a valid rebuttal.
Reflective essay. This type requires you to write a personal statement regarding previous learning or work experience. This type of essay is quite flexible and allows the writer to use the first person to give an account of how a certain experience influenced their life.
Descriptive essay. This type entails a detailed description of an event, person, object or place. The writer must provide enough details to create a clear image of the story in the mind of the audience. A good descriptive essay must make the reader feel like part of the story.
Research Essay. This type entails an organized presentation of ideas that are well-supported current research. A research essay seamlessly brings together ideas from different authors to support a claim. The writer must cite properly all sources of information mentioned in the essay.
In the event that the instructions are not clear, it is important to ask for clarification from your teacher instead of writing the wrong thing.
2. Topic Selection
Upon making the decision on the type of essay to write, develop an appropriate topic for the essay. The essay instructions come in handy at this point because the topic of the essay must reflect the overall goal of the essay. At this point, it is advisable to take enough time to figure out how the different aspects covered in the instructions relate to each other. This helps in developing a topic that demonstrates this relationship.
Brainstorming is key at this stage as it allows you to come up with different topics. Even though some topics might appear too broad at this point, do not feel compelled to leave them out because you will have a chance to narrow them down in the next stage.
It is important to consider the length of the essay at this point because the depth and breadth of a topic depend on the amount of information you need to present. Short essays require very specific topics while long essays may require topics that are broad enough to allow you to cover as many angles as possible.
3. Conducting Research
Most types of essays require research in order to understand the different points of views presented by other writers. Make a point of visiting the library or carrying out an online search of your topic to find the most current information that you can use.
Starting with a broad research of the topic will help you gather enough information to understand the various concepts within the selected topic. This helps you narrow down the topic even further if need be.
Make sure that you note down the sources with the most relevant information because you will need this information to write your essay. Most importantly, you will need to cite these sources throughout your essay.
4. Formulate a thesis statement
A thesis statement summarizes what the essay entails. It is advisable to present your thesis statement in the first paragraph to prepare the reader for what to expect in the essay. When formulating a thesis statement, ensure that;
- It is clear and specific by avoiding vague and ambiguous words.
- It is arguable and not just stating what others have already done. It must show the further contribution of the essay to the existing literature.
- It is relevant to the essay topic and contains words that are specific to the topic under discussion.
- It states your claim as well as why it is worth exploring.
This is a very crucial stage in essay writing because all the other parts of your essay must connect back to the main thesis statement.
5. Develop a working outline for your essay
Depending on the specified length of the essay, decide how many sections your essay will have. You must also put into consideration the claim presented in your thesis statement and determine how much information is enough to present your views exhaustively.
Writing an outline involves creating the skeleton for your essay. This process gives you a chance to organize your ideas into different sections of your essay to avoid the repletion of ideas when writing the first draft.
When writing your outline, you must put the following tips into consideration.
- Place your thesis statement at the top of the outline for guidance.
- Divide the body of the essay into various paragraphs depending on essay length.
- Write one topic sentence for every paragraph that relates to the thesis statement.
- Write at least one supporting argument for each topic sentence.
An outline helps you to plan the ideas in the order that you will discuss in the essay.
6. Write the first draft
Complete the first draft by incorporating the detailed and specific content in all sections of the previously developed outline. Present the information in a smooth way by including your arguments and supporting them with evidence from credible sources where necessary. Make sure that you cite all outside information to avoid plagiarism.
Although the length of different essays may be different, there are three components that every essay must have as discussed below.
The introduction comprises of information that gives the reader a general overview of the topic, what other people have to say about the topic, and then it narrows down to the thesis statement which presents your claim about the topic. An introduction creates the context of the essay. When writing the introduction, you must ensure that;
- It is not only informative but also interesting to the reader.
- Define technical terms that you feel the audience may not understand in relation to the essay’s context.
- Include your thesis statement towards the end of the introduction.
- Make your introduction short and direct to the point relative to other parts of the essay.
- Transition smoothly to the first body paragraph by hinting to the reader what you will discuss next.
The body paragraphs present your arguments one after another. Follow the outline that you prepared before to guide your writing and to avoid deviating from the main idea of the essay. Regardless of the length of the essay, you must have more than two paragraphs to ensure that you present substantial information for supporting your claim. While writing your body paragraphs, make sure that you discuss your claims from the strongest to the weakest unless your essay refers to a defined chronology. In order to write effective body paragraphs, ensure that;
- You start every paragraph with a unique topic sentence.
- Include supporting information from outside sources and cite accordingly.
- Explain why your claim is valid.
- Acknowledge the opposing view and justify why this view is weak in light of your claim.
- Transition smoothly to the next body paragraph by linking the two ideas.
- Repeat this process for all the other body paragraphs.
The conclusion is the last paragraph of your essay and it should be as short and precise as the introduction. When writing the conclusion, you ought to start with a concluding transition to inform the reader that you have finished presenting your argument. The conclusion refers to the information presented in the introduction but you should not repeat it word for word. Aim at demonstrating how you have made your argument and how each idea presented in the body paragraph relates to the general idea of the essay. The last statement of your conclusion should be a global statement that finalizes the argument and discusses the implication of the essay’s argument to a greater course.
- When writing your conclusion, always put the following tips into consideration.
- Summarize the argument of the essay in relation to the thesis statement.
- Do not introduce new information into the conclusion.
- Demonstrate how your argument fits into the broad topic of the essay and highlight why it was worth exploring.
7. Proofread and Check any Grammatical Errors
Nobody is perfect so do not be disappointed when you find mistakes in your essay. When writing the first draft, it is easy to confuse some words. While grammar-checking software may help you identify and fix some errors, others are hard to recognize thereby requiring you to read your essay to identify them.
Another crucial thing is checking the structure of the essay to ensure coherence. Make sure that your ideas are well organized and that each paragraph focuses on one idea at a time. You may reorganize your paragraphs to make them flow smoothly in case you notice inconsistencies in the presentation of ideas.
When proofreading, check your citations to ensure that they are in line with the specified referencing style if any. Academic papers must include adequate citations and references to avoid plagiarism.
8. Seek a Second Perspective
Even after reading through your essay several times, you may not identify all the errors in the document because you have some kind of bias towards the accuracy of your work. It is wise to get Essay Writing Help from a professional, a friend or a tutor if possible because they will have a fresh look at your paper and are more likely to provide you with feedback that is more objective.
Provide them with all the instructions so that they can be as objective as possible but do not try to influence their perspective in any way. Once they provide you with feedback, evaluate it with an open mind and learn to take criticism positively.
9. Polish your final draft
Ensure that your essay follows all the instructions provided by your teacher. Another more effective strategy is to evaluate your essay using the marking rubric if your teacher has provided you with it to ensure that you address every measure adequately. Give yourself enough time to read the essay several times and adjust it accordingly. Submit your essay on time to avoid unnecessary penalties.
Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail!
A lot of planning goes into writing a successful essay. You must give yourself enough time to carry out the discussed steps on How to Write an Essay. This means that you should always start planning for your essay as soon as you receive the instructions from your teacher to avoid the last-minute rash. Although it is expected that you will have the time to do your essays on your own, there are times when your work schedule or personal issues may overwhelm you. In such a case, rest assured that there are professionals who specialize in Essay Writing Help and are always ready to come to your rescue.