How to Write

How To Write An Essay: Expert Tips and Tricks

An essay is a common writing assignment for high school levels and above. It expounds on a particular topic to...

How To Write An Essay Guide
Eric Stelee
Last updated:
Jun 5, 2024
Published:
Feb 17, 2021

Imagine essay writing as a thrilling adventure, where each sentence is a stepping stone into uncharted territory. But let's face it, sometimes it feels like being dropped in the middle of a maze with no map.

Don't worry, though, because within this maze lies the ability to perform essays that make sense and leave a lasting impression. So, buckle up as we dive into the world of essay writing – a place where words become your trusty companions on an unforgettable journey of expression and discovery.

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how to write an essay

STEP 1 – Understand the Prompt

Before actual essay writing begins, carefully read and understand the prompt or question. Identify key terms and requirements to address them effectively in your essay.

PRO Tips:

  • Read the prompt carefully.
  • Identify keywords and key tasks.
  • Consider the prompt's purpose.
  • Highlight any ambiguities and seek clarification if needed.
  • Brainstorm ideas aligned with the prompt.
  • Ensure your essay stays focused and relevant to the prompt's requirements.

Examples

Prompt: "Discuss the impact of climate change on biodiversity."

Understanding: Identify the main topic ("climate change") and the task ("discuss"). Recognize the focus on the impact of climate change on biodiversity. This prompts you to explore and analyze the relationship between climate change and biodiversity loss or conservation efforts.

Prompt: "Compare and contrast the themes of love and friendship in Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'."

Note the action verbs ("compare" and "contrast") indicating a comparative analysis. Identify the specific themes ("love" and "friendship") within the context of Shakespeare's play. This prompt directs you to examine similarities and differences between how love and friendship are portrayed in the text.

Prompt: "Evaluate the effectiveness of social media marketing strategies in reaching target audiences."

Recognize the task ("evaluate"), which requires an assessment of effectiveness. Identify the subject matter ("social media marketing strategies") and the objective ("reaching target audiences"). This prompt prompts you to analyze and assess the success of social media marketing tactics in engaging and reaching specific demographic groups.

Prompt: "Reflect on a personal experience that significantly impacted your worldview."

Note the directive ("reflect") indicating a personal response. Identify the topic ("personal experience") and the focus ("impacted your worldview"). This prompt encourages you to introspect and narrate a specific event or encounter that profoundly influenced your perspective on life, values, or beliefs.

Prompt: "Analyze the causes and consequences of urbanization in developing countries."

Recognize the task ("analyze"), which requires an examination of causes and consequences. Identify the subject ("urbanization") and the context ("developing countries"). This prompt guides you to investigate and dissect the factors driving urbanization in developing nations and its socio-economic, environmental, and demographic impacts.

STEP 2 – Research and Gather Information

Similar to a synthesis essay or any other short-form composition, you have to conduct thorough research to gather relevant information, facts, and supporting evidence. The essay writing process demands credible sources such as books, academic journals, and reputable websites to strengthen your arguments.

PRO Tips:

  • Choose credible sources.
  • Utilize library resources.
  • Conduct keyword searches.
  • Evaluate sources for credibility.
  • Take concise notes and cite sources.
  • Organize information systematically.
  • Synthesize findings.
  • Maintain organization with citation tools.

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STEP 3 – Create a Thesis Statement

Any composition, like a narrative essay or a compare and contrast one, must have a thesis statement. It articulates your essay's main argument or central claim. Here's how to do it:

  • Identify the Topic: Clearly define your essay's topic or subject matter.
  • Narrow Down the Focus: Determine the specific aspect or angle of the topic you want to explore. Consider what you want to say about the topic.
  • Take a Position: Formulate a clear stance or position on the topic. Your thesis statement should express your opinion or perspective.
  • Make It Specific: Your thesis statement should be concise and specific, avoiding vague or broad statements. It should provide a clear direction for your essay.
  • Make It Supportable: Your thesis should be supported by evidence and argumentation throughout your essay. Make sure it's something you can convincingly defend.
  • Consider the Audience: Tailor your thesis statement to your intended audience and the purpose of your essay. It should be relevant and engaging to your readers.
  • Revise and Refine: Once you've drafted your thesis statement, review and revise it as needed to ensure clarity, coherence, and effectiveness.

Example: “The impact of technology on modern education.”

Thesis Statement: "While technology has revolutionized the educational landscape, its overreliance in classrooms may hinder critical thinking skills and interpersonal development among students."

STEP 4 – Create an Outline

Outline your essay structure by organizing your main ideas and supporting points. This helps to establish a clear roadmap for your writing and ensures logical flow and coherence throughout the essay.

Write the Introduction

Start your essay with a compelling introduction that grabs the reader's attention and provides context for your topic. Include a thesis statement that presents your main argument or purpose of the essay.

Example

This introduction sets the stage for the essay by presenting the overarching theme (the impact of technology on human connection) and articulating the essay's purpose (to explore how technology affects our ability to form meaningful bonds). It also establishes the topic's significance and hints at the key points discussed in the essay.

Introduction: “In an era defined by rapid technological advancements and shifting societal paradigms, the question of whether technology enhances or diminishes human connection has become increasingly pertinent. As we navigate a digital landscape where virtual interactions often supersede face-to-face communication, the implications of this digital transformation on our interpersonal relationships merit thoughtful examination. In this essay, we delve into the complexities of human connection in the digital age, exploring how technology both facilitates and complicates our ability to form meaningful bonds. By dissecting the multifaceted nature of human interaction within the digital realm, we aim to shed light on the nuances of modern communication and the evolving dynamics of human connection.”

Develop the Body Paragraphs

In the body of your essay, elaborate on your main points and provide supporting evidence to bolster your arguments. Each paragraph should focus on a single idea or aspect of the topic, with clear transitions between them.

Example

These body paragraphs present a coherent argument by discussing technology's benefits and drawbacks in facilitating human connection. They provide specific examples and evidence to support their claims, offering a nuanced perspective.

Main Body: “In examining the role of technology in shaping human connection, it is essential to acknowledge its undeniable contributions to communication accessibility and efficiency. One significant benefit of technological advancements is instantaneously connecting with others, transcending geographical barriers and time zones. Platforms such as social media, messaging apps, and video conferencing have revolutionized communication, enabling us to stay in touch with friends, family, and colleagues regardless of distance. For instance, a student studying abroad can effortlessly maintain regular contact with loved ones through video calls, fostering a sense of closeness and connection despite physical separation.

However, alongside these conveniences come inherent challenges that warrant scrutiny. The prevalence of digital communication platforms has led to a shift in the quality of our interactions, with face-to-face encounters often overshadowed by screen-mediated exchanges. In a digital landscape dominated by curated profiles and filtered images, the authenticity and depth of our connections may be compromised. Studies have shown that prolonged reliance on digital communication can erode interpersonal skills, hinder empathetic understanding, and contribute to feelings of isolation and disconnection. Furthermore, the constant barrage of notifications and distractions inherent in digital communication platforms can impede our ability to fully engage with others, detracting from the richness of face-to-face interactions.

Thus, while technology undeniably facilitates communication and connectivity on a global scale, its impact on the quality and authenticity of human connection is nuanced. As we navigate the digital age, it is imperative to balance leveraging the benefits of technology and preserving the essence of genuine human interaction.”

Offer a Strong Conclusion

Summarize your key points and restate your thesis in the conclusion. Leave the reader with a thought-provoking closing statement that reinforces the significance of your argument and encourages further reflection.

Example

This conclusion effectively summarizes the key points discussed in the essay while offering a thought-provoking reflection on the broader implications of the topic. It emphasizes the importance of balancing technology and human connection and offers a call to action for fostering meaningful relationships in the digital age.

Conclussion: “In conclusion, the future of human connection lies in our ability to harness the power of technology while remaining attuned to the fundamental human need for genuine connection and belonging. By embracing technology mindfully and nurturing authentic relationships, we can forge a path toward a more connected and empathetic society in the digital age.”

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STEP 5 – Manage Time Effectively

Proper time allocation is crucial in the essay writing process to ensure sufficient time for each stage, from research to revision. Here's how you can manage your time effectively:

  • Plan Ahead: Break down the essay writing process into manageable tasks and set realistic deadlines for each stage, including research, outlining, drafting, and revising.
  • Prioritize Tasks: Identify the most critical tasks and allocate more time to them while ensuring that you also dedicate time to less urgent but essential activities, such as editing and proofreading.
  • Use Time Management Tools: Use calendars, planners, or task management apps to schedule your tasks and track your progress.
  • Avoid Procrastination: Resist the temptation to procrastinate by setting specific goals and holding yourself accountable.

STEP 6 – Always Edit and Proofread Your Essay

To edit and proofread your essay effectively, take a break after completing your draft to gain a fresh perspective. Then, read your essay aloud to identify any awkward phrasing or grammatical errors.

Next, focus on one aspect at a time, such as grammar, punctuation, clarity, or coherence, to ensure a thorough review. Finally, consider seeking peer feedback or utilizing grammar-checking tools to catch any overlooked mistakes before submission.

If the clock’s ticking too fast and the sands of time run too low, drop us a line, saying that you need to ‘edit my essay,’ and one of our experts will address your issue.‘

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FAQs

How Do I Start Writing an Essay?

To begin writing an essay, understand the prompt or topic. Then, brainstorm ideas, create an outline, and craft an engaging introduction introducing the topic and presenting your thesis statement. From there, develop body paragraphs that support your thesis with evidence and analysis, and conclude your essay by summarizing your main points and restating your thesis.

What Are the 5 Parts of an Essay?

The five parts of an essay are the introduction, body paragraphs, topic sentences, supporting details, and conclusion. The introduction presents the topic and thesis statement, while the body paragraphs develop the main ideas with supporting evidence and analysis. Each body paragraph begins with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea, supported by relevant details and examples. The conclusion summarizes the main points and restates the thesis to leave a lasting impression on the reader.

How Long Is an Essay?

In general, the length of an essay can vary widely depending on the assignment and the level of detail required. For most academic essays, a typical length might range from 500 to 2000 words. However, following the guidelines provided by your instructor or the assignment requirements is essential, as they may specify a specific word count or page limit.

Summing Up

Once you become familiar with the basics of essay writing, it can actually make the whole process faster and less stressful. When you understand how to structure your arguments, organize your thoughts, and put together coherent paragraphs, you're not starting from scratch every time you sit down to write.

Plus, when you're not stressing over the basics, you can focus more on polishing your ideas and making your writing really shine. In the end, having a good grasp of essay writing essentials lets you tackle your assignments like a pro.

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