How to Write an Excellent Essay

Writing an essay is a task that many students dread. However, it is not as overwhelming when you plan well and understand what is required of you.

This article covers the basics of how to write a good essay.

Analyze the Assignment Prompt

The first step to writing a good paper relates to understanding the essay questions. Regardless of how compelling your essay is, you will still get a lousy grade if it does not adequately address the question.

The essay prompt will provide:

  • The essay topic
  • The type of essay
  • The length of the essay
  • The type of sources you should use
  • The academic style to use, which could be APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard, among others

In addition, the prompt will indirectly direct you on:

  • The type and scope of research you need to perform
  • How you will relate the essay to what you’ve learned in class
  • Research the topic

Understand The Type of Essay You Should write

Your teacher might directly guide you on the kind of essay to write. In some cases, you need to identify that on your own.

The following are the common types of essays:

  1. Narrative essay: this essay requires you to narrate a life experience to communicate a given message.
  2. Persuasive essay: in such an essay, you convince a reader of your point of view on a given topic.
  3. Argumentative essay: similar to a persuasive essay, only you present both sides of an argument.
  4. Descriptive essay: requires you to describe an event, experience, person, or thing.
  5. Expository essay: requires you to expose the facts on a given topic.
  6. Compare and contrast essay: you explore the similarities and differences between two things.

Brainstorm the Topic

Figure out what you are going to write about. The prompt should give you an idea of what topic to write about. However, you need to narrow it down to one idea.

First, note down every idea that comes to mind. Then, pick a few topic ideas you deem best.

When choosing a topic, you should pick one that is neither too broad nor too narrow.

Let’s say you are writing a narrative essay, and you choose to write about your school life. 

A topic such as “My experience in junior high school” is too broad; it could fill a short novel.

However, something like “My first day in junior high school” is manageable.

Research Your Topic

After settling on a given topic, the next step is research. Find as much information about your topic as possible.

Read books and journals in the library. Find more information on credible websites on the internet. You can also interview people who are experts on the topic.

Remember, you will have to back up your points and cite your sources. So, note down relevant information and the source of information.

Come up with a Thesis

What claim or point of view will you make in your essay? Let us say your topic is gun ownership. Your thesis statement should state your point of view. It could read:

There should be strict laws on gun ownership, especially considering the rise in gun violence, mass shootings, and gun-related homicides.

Your research will guide you on what stand to take. You cannot make a claim that you cannot back up with substantial evidence.

Create an Outline

Before you start writing, you need to organize your thoughts. An essay should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. The body has three paragraphs.

To create an outline, write the words introduction, body, and conclusion on a blank page, leaving enough space between them.

Under each section, briefly state what you are going to write.

For instance, under the body section, write the three strongest points that support your thesis.

Write the Introduction

The thesis statement is an integral part of the introduction. However, to capture the reader’s attention, start with a hook.

For instance, you could start with an interesting fact, a rhetorical question, or a quote from a famous person. Just make sure your hook is related to the topic. 

After the hook, provide some background information on the topic. Then end the intro with your thesis statement.

Write the Body Baragraphs

The body of an essay is where you support your claim. This section has three paragraphs. Each paragraph should discuss one point. Therefore, you should have at least three points that support your claim.

Start each paragraph with a topic sentence, which is your point. Then provide evidence, mostly a direct quote lifted from your source. The sentences that follow should simply expound on the topic sentence.

Do not forget to cite your references.

Write the Concluding Paragraph

The concluding paragraph should restate the thesis. It should also provide a summary of the main points.

The conclusion is also your chance to show the reader why your essay is relevant. You can do that by relating it to the real world. You could even ask the reader to take action.

Edit and Proofread

Typos and grammatical errors will score you low marks. Some lecturers will not bother reading a paper riddled with grammar errors.

So, make sure you proofread your word. Do not rely entirely on the inbuilt spell checker of your word processor.

You are not only looking at spelling and grammar but also word choice, repetition, and complex sentences.

Read it aloud helps you identify run-on sentences and sentences that are too complex.

Consider having a friend proofread your work. Another person is likely to spot the mistakes that you did not notice.

Finally, correct all the mistakes and save your final draft.

Writing a good essay is not a complicated process. However, planning is critical.

Proper planning involves you understanding the assignment, conducting adequate research, and creating an outline. From there, you write your essay and proofread it thoroughly.

Check on Narrative Essay, persuasive essay topics, expository essays, and how to write a conclusion paragraph.

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