How to Write Better Essays: 6 Practical Tips - BepalInfo

How to Write Better Essays: 6 Practical Tips

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TSI Practice Test

TSI Essay Guide

One component of the TSI test is the essay question. You will be asked to write a persuasive essay on a controversial issue or an issue of current interest. The TSI essay will be evaluated on organization, focus, development and support, sentence structure, and mechanical conventions. The good news is that your essay is only required to be 300-600 words in length. A simple 5 paragraph essay will be more than sufficient. Scores on the essay section range from 1 to 8, with 8 being the highest.

An essay that is too short to be evaluated, written on a topic other than the one presented, or written in a language other than English, will be given a score of zero. The biggest differences between the low-scoring and high-scoring essays is LENGTH and CLARITY. Aim to achieve multiple paragraphs with good organization, and this essay should be fairly easy!

TSI Essay Tips and Strategies

  • Understand that the TSI Essay will NOT require any outside knowledge. You are not expected to have any specific technical know-how or understanding of specific books or authors. The essay will be based off a provided prompt meant to spark your creativity. Everything you need to answer the question will be part of the prompt!
  • Select one side only. Unlike real life where most of our opinions are a mix of gray, the TSI essay requires you to take a strong stand on one side and one side ONLY of the issue. You won’t be able to adequately argue a middle-of-the-road approach, and you risk appearing indecisive and muddling your essay.
  • Remember that you will not be scored on your opinion. Don’t worry if you feel you are choosing a less commonly held position on the topic. The reader will NOT give you a lower score based on personal bias.
  • Don’t change your position mid-essay. Even if you feel you’re running out of steam and you’re regretting your position on the topic, stay strong and finish the essay anyway. Don’t waffle, and don’t try to take a “middle of the road” approach. You don’t have time to go back and re-write the whole thing.
  • No example is “too” specific. As long as you can argue logically that it supports your thesis, no example is “too” specific. Most essays are way too general. Aim to make the reader think, “wow, what extreme detail!” as they read. If you are using an example from personal experience, using some names, dates, places, and other concrete details can go a long way. Replace abstracts with absolutes.
  • Incorporate the opposing side. A great way to strengthen your own argument is to acknowledge that there is in fact complexity to the issue. However, if you bring up and describe the opposing side, make sure to criticize it effectively and reiterate that your side is the only one that is valid. This is a great tool to use in your conclusion, although many students include it in an additional body paragraph.
  • Keep the introduction and conclusion brief. Don’t take forever to get to the topic. The function of an introductory paragraph is to introduce the reader to the topic in the prompt, and then to clearly and forcefully state your position on it. More than 3-4 sentences is too long. In the conclusion, 1-2 sentences is great to reiterate your position and leave the essay with a closing idea. Save your writing-time for your body paragraphs!
  • Use Transition Words. Scroll down to the bottom of this article to see a good list of common transition words. Be sure to use these words as you move between paragraphs! Always make sure the reader will understand why you are moving from one paragraph to the next paragraph!

TSI Essay Template

This is a sample outline for the TSI Essay. Notice we are aiming for 5 paragraphs total. You may opt for a shorter 4 paragraph version if 5 paragraphs are too many for you to write, but aim for 5 paragraphs if you can. If you have trouble completing 5 paragraphs, see if you can streamline your body paragraphs. They can often be bloated with unnecessary wordiness. Keep the introduction and the conclusion short and sweet.

Paragraph 1 – Introduction (3-4 sentences)

You will want to begin your essay with one of the following: a generalization about the topic, a quotation, a short anecdote to set-up the correctness of your position, a historical framework, or a piece of news illustrating the contemporariness of the issue. Admit the complexity of the issue.

You have two goals in the beginning part of the essay: to introduce the topic, and to express your opinion on it. Be sure to place your thesis as the final sentence in your introduction.

Paragraph 2  – First Example (4-6 sentences)

Start with your most-powerful or relevant example. Be specific. Your example can be from history, science, politics, business, entertainment, pop culture, current events, personal experience, etc. Anything can be an example, but choose ONE only for each paragraph. It needs to be something you are knowledgeable about and also something that you believe strongly supports your thesis. You have three tasks in your body paragraphs:

  • Introduce your example.
  • Describe it.
  • Explain how it fully supports your thesis.

You should spend the majority of your body paragraph accomplishing the third step: explaining how it fully supports your thesis. Aim to convince the reader through very concrete details how your position on the issue is correct.

Paragraph 3 – Second Example (4-6 sentences)

Use a transition phrase to introduce the second example. Describe it, and explain again how it fully supports your thesis. You may refer to your first example if you need to, but prioritize a focus on your new example. Don’t mention your third example until you get to the third paragraph.

Paragraph 4 – Third Example (4-6 sentences)

Use a transition phrase again in the first topic sentence. Describe the example. Explain how it supports. Make sure you are elucidating for the reader how each example relates to the topic.

Paragraph 5 – Conclusion (2-4 sentences)

In your conclusion, introduce the opposing side. Explain their position in general terms. Refute their position. Then reinforce the correctness of your own thesis. This takes care of having to come up with a conclusion—you’ll already know what to do! Here’s how it might look:

Although ________ is demonstrably correct, some have argued that _______, believing that ________. However, this viewpoint on the present issue is negated by ________. Rather, __________. Therefore, in the long run,

TSI Essay Practice

Be sure to write at least 2-3 sample essays before your exam so you are comfortable with the format. Have a teacher, friend, or trusted relative read through your exam and give you feedback. Below you’ll find a list of three possible TSI essay prompts. Choose at least TWO of these TSI essay topics and write a practice essay, attempting to follow the above template to the best of your ability.

TSI Essay Topics

1) Do works of art have the power to change people’s lives? Some people say a book or a movie has the power to do just that. Are they exaggerating, or can art have such a large impact of individuals?

2) Is an education a requirement for a successful career? Explain the topic and either agree or disagree with the statement, offering support for your position.

3) Scientists and politicians argue over whether global warming and climate control present a real threat to human welfare. Take a position on this issue and explain whether or not you believe this to be a serious problem for humanity.

Transition Words List

Agreement Words

  • in the first place
  • not only … but also
  • as a matter of fact
  • in like manner
  • in addition
  • coupled with
  • in the same fashion / way
  • first, second, third
  • in the light of

Opposition Words

  • in contrast
  • different from
  • of course …, but
  • on the other hand
  • on the contrary
  • at the same time
  • in spite of
  • but
  • (and) still

Causation Words

  • in the event that
  • for the purpose of
  • with this intention
  • with this in mind
  • in the hope that
  • in order to
  • If
  • … then
  • in case

Example Words

  • in other words
  • to put it differently
  • for one thing
  • as an illustration
  • in this case
  • for this reason
  • to put it another way
  • that is to say
  • with attention to

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How to Write an Essay

Six Parts: Writing Your Essay Revising Your Essay Writing a Persuasive Essay Writing an Expository Essay Write a Narrative Essay Essay Help Community Q&A

Throughout your academic career, you will often be asked to write essays. You may have to work on an assigned essay for class, enter an essay contest or write essays for college admissions. This article will show you how to write, and then revise, all types of essays. Then, we’ll explore how to write narrative, persuasive and expository essays. Read on to learn how to write essays like an expert!


Part 1

Writing Your Essay

  1. 1
    Narrow your topic. Your topic may be given to you by your instructor, or you may get to choose it yourself. Either way, you need to have a topic in mind before you get started working on your essay. Otherwise, you won’t know what to write about!

    • If you’re having trouble choosing a topic, try brainstorming to reveal a topic. Jot down your thoughts until something jumps out at you, or try making a mind map .
  2. 2
    Determine what type of essay you’re writing. Your essay may be a narrative, expository, or persuasive essay. You may also be writing a research paper. While these types of writing share similarities, they also have important differences. It’s important to decide which type of writing you’re preparing before you get started.

    • In many cases, the type of essay you’re writing will be determined by an assignment. If this is the case, read the assignment sheet thoroughly. If you have any questions, talk to your instructor.
  3. Image titled Write an Essay Step 1

    Research the topic. This step is especially important if your paper is a research paper. Go online, head to the library, search an academic database, or read newspapers. You can also ask a reference librarian.

    • Know which sources are acceptable to your teacher. Does your teacher want a certain number of primary sources and secondary sources? Is your teacher picky about what’s considered reliable sources?
      • Can you use Wikipedia? Wikipedia is often a good starting point for learning about a topic, but many teachers won’t let you cite it because they want you to find more authoritative sources. Even if your teacher does not allow Wikipedia, you can still use Wikipedia articles to get a general working knowledge of your topic and find search terms. The “Works Cited” or “Bibliography” section at the bottom of the page can also be a good starting point for finding reliable sources that can provide more reputable information. However, if your teacher forbids even that much, a normal encyclopedia can serve the same function.
  4. 4
    Take detailed notes, keeping track of your sources. Record the facts and where you got them from. Write down your sources in the correct citation format so that you don’t have to go back and look them up again later. Note cards are a great option for keeping track of information.

    • If you don’t want to use note cards, you could try a digital option! For example, you might try digital note cards for an easy solution, such as the site SuperNotecards. If you’re more tech savvy, you could try a bibliographic software like Zotero. If you write a lot, you might try a writing project software, such as Scrivener. [1]
    • Never ignore facts and claims that seem to disprove your original idea or claim. A good essay writer either includes the contrary evidence and shows why such evidence is not valid or alters his or her point of view in light of the evidence.
  5. Image titled Write an Essay Step 2

    Analyze well-written essays. In your research you’ll probably come across really well-written (and not so well-written) arguments about your topic. If you’re having trouble finding these examples, try searching on Google Scholar, JSTOR, or Ebsco. The bibliographies of the well-written essays can also provide you with good sources. Do some analysis to see what makes them work.

    • What claims does the author make?
      • Why do they sound good? Is it the logic, the sources, the writing, the structure? Is it something else?
    • What evidence does the author present to you?
      • Why does the evidence sound credible? How does the author present facts, and what is his/her approach to telling a story with facts?
    • Is the logic sound or faulty, and why?
      • Why is the logic sound? Does the author back up his/her claims with examples that are easy to follow?
  6. Image titled Write an Essay Step 3

    Brainstorm your own ideas. Sure, you can use the arguments of others to back up what you want to say. However, you need to come up with your original spin on the topic to make it uniquely yours.

    • Make lists of ideas. You can also try mind mapping .
    • Take your time. Walk in your neighborhood or local park and think about your topic. Be prepared for ideas to come to you when you least expect them.
  7. Image titled Write an Essay Step 4

    Write your thesis statement . Look at the ideas that you generated. Choose one to three of your strongest ideas that support your topic. You should be able to support these ideas with evidence from your research.

    • Write a thesis statement that summarizes the ideas that you plan to present. Essentially, let the reader know where you’re going, why, and how you will get there.
    • A thesis statement should have a narrow focus include both your topic and what you plan to present. For example, “Although Eli Whitney’s cotton gin ushered in a new era of American prosperity, it also widened the gap in suffering for African-American slaves, who would soon be more in demand, and more exploited, than ever.”
    • A thesis statement should not ask a question, be written in first person (“I”), roam off-topic or be combative.
  8. Image titled Write an Essay Step 5

    Plan your essay . Take the thoughts that you brainstormed and assemble them into an outline. Write a topic sentence for your main ideas. Then, underneath, make bullet points and list your supporting evidence. Generally, you want three arguments or pieces of evidence to support each main idea.

    • Topic sentence: “Eli Whitney’s cotton gin made life harder on African American slaves.”
      • Ex: “The success of cotton made it harder for slaves to purchase their own freedom.”
      • Ex: “Many northern slaves were in danger of being kidnapped and brought down south to work in the cotton fields.”
      • Ex: “In 1790, before the cotton gin, slaves in America totaled about 700,000. In 1810, after the cotton gin had been adopted, slaves totaled about 1.2 million, a 70% increase.”
  9. Image titled Write an Essay Step 6

    Write the body of your essay. You do want to think about length here; don’t write pages and pages if your teacher wants 5 paragraphs. However, you should freewrite to let your thoughts reveal themselves. You can always make them more concise later.

    • Avoid sweeping generalizations. Statements such as “______ is the most important problem facing the world today,” can cause your reader to dismiss your position out of hand if he/she disagrees with you. On the other hand, “______ is a significant global problem” is more accurate.
    • Don’t use “I” statements such as “I think.” Likewise, avoid the personal pronouns “you,” “we,” “my,” “your” or “our”. Simply stating your argument with supporting facts makes you sound much more authoritative. Instead of writing, “I found Frum to have a conservative bias,” tell the reader why your statement is true: “Frum displays a conservative bias when he writes…”
    • Keep your focus on the topic and your thesis. It’s tempting to allow your thoughts to wander or to add additional information that seems interesting. However, this distracts from your purpose and undermines your essay. Make sure you stay on topic!
  10. Image titled Write an Essay Step 7

    Come up with a compelling title and introduction . Your title and introduction make people want to read your essay. If your teacher is the audience, then of course your teacher will read the whole piece. However, if you’re submitting to an essay contest or writing an essay for college admissions, your title and introduction have to hook the reader if you want to meet your objectives.

    • Skip obvious expressions such as, “This essay is about, “The topic of this essay is” or “I will now show that”.
    • Try the inverted pyramid formula. Start off with a very broad description of your topic and gradually narrow it down to your specific thesis statement. Try to use no more than 3 to 5 sentences for short essays, and no more than 1 page for longer essays. Alternatively, you might open with an anecdote or quote that sets up the importance of your topic.
    • Short essay example: Every year, thousands of unwanted and abused animals end up in municipal shelters. Being caged in shelters not only causes animals to suffer but also drains local government budgets. Towns and cities could prevent both animal abuse and government waste by requiring prospective pet owners to go through mandatory education before allowing them to obtain a pet. Although residents may initially resist the requirement, they will soon see that the benefits of mandatory pet owner education far outweigh the costs.”
  11. Image titled Write an Essay Step 8

    Conclude your essay . Summarize your points and suggest ways in which your conclusion can be thought of in a larger sense.

    • Answer questions like, “What are the implications of your thesis statement being true?” “What’s the next step?” “What questions remain unanswered?”
    • Your arguments should draw your reader to a natural, logical conclusion. In a sense, you are repackaging your thesis statement in your concluding paragraph by helping the reader to remember the journey through your essay.
    • Nail the last sentence . If your title and first paragraph make the reader want to read your essay, then your last sentence makes the reader remember you. If a gymnast does a great balance beam routine but falls on the landing, then people forget the routine. Gymnasts need to “stick the landing,” and so do essay writers.

Part 2

Revising Your Essay

  1. Image titled Write an Essay Step 9

    Wait a day or so and re-read your essay. Get your essay done a couple of days before the due date so that you have time to go back and revise it to make it polished. Avoid turning in a first draft that you haven’t double-checked for errors.

  2. Image titled Write an Essay Step 10

    Correct errors related to grammar, punctuation and spelling. Consult a style book if you are unsure how to properly use quotation marks, colons, semicolons, apostrophes or commas. Avoid using exclamation points.

  3. Image titled Write an Essay Step 11

    Check your statements. Look for mistakes involving than/then, your/you’re, its/it’s, etc. Make sure you know how to use apostrophes correctly. Look for mistakes involving general punctuation. Check for run-on sentences , commas and periods inside quotation marks, as well as sparely-used dashes, colons, and semi-colons.

  4. Image titled Write an Essay Step 12

    Remove any repetitive or unnecessary words. Vary your language with the help of a thesaurus . Also, consult a dictionary to make sure that you’re using unfamiliar words correctly.

    • At the same time, try to keep your language short, sweet, and to the point. A thesaurus is a great tool, but don’t just use big words to sound fancy. The best essays are clear, concise, and easily understood by a wide audience.
    • Focus on writing killer verbs for sentences. Verbs communicate the action in a sentence and drive the action. A great verb can be the difference between a bland sentence and a beautiful one.
    • Use adjectives lightly. Adjectives are great descriptive words, but when used indiscriminately, they can burden an essay and make it less readable. Try to let the verbs and nouns do most of the heavy lifting before you focus on adjectives.
  5. Image titled Write an Essay Step 13

    Avoid colloquial (informal) writing . Do not use contractions or abbreviations (e.g., don’t, can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, could’ve, or haven’t). Your essay should have a serious tone, even if it’s written in a light or lyrical style.

  6. Image titled Write an Essay Step 14

    Analyze how your essay flows. Does each sentence lead smoothly to the next? Does each paragraph flow logically to the next? Although you can analyze your essay by reading through it, it’s helpful to make a reverse outline, working from your essay to outline your thoughts. [2] Good connections will help your ideas to flow:

    • When events happen in sequence: I first started to realize that I was in the minority when I was in middle school…My realization was confirmed when I proceeded to high school.
    • If sentences elaborate on each other: Plants need water to survive…A plant’s ability to absorb water depends on the nutrition of the soil.
    • When an idea contrasts with another idea: Vegetarians argue that land is unnecessarily wasted by feeding animals to be eaten as food…Opponents argue that land being used for grazing would not be able to be used to create any other kind of food.
    • If you’re relaying a cause and effect relationship: I will be the first person in my family to graduate from college…I am inspired to continue my family’s progress through the generations.
    • When connecting similar ideas: Organic food is thought to be better for the environment . . . local food is believed to achieve the same goals.
  7. Image titled Write an Essay Step 15

    Cut information that’s not specifically related to your topic. You don’t want your essay to ramble off-topic. Any information that doesn’t directly or indirectly support your thesis should be cut out.

  8. Image titled Write an Essay Step 16

    Have someone read your paper aloud to you. Your ears are sometimes better than your eyes at picking up mistakes in language. The essay should sound like it has a good flow and understandable words.

    • As an alternative, you can record yourself reading it aloud and play it back.
  9. Image titled Write an Essay Step 17

    Rewrite any problematic body passages. If needed, rearrange sentences and paragraphs into a different order. Make sure that both your conclusion and introduction match the changes that you make to the body.

Part 3

Writing a Persuasive Essay

  1. Image titled Write an Essay Step 18

    Compose your essay with a clear purpose. A persuasive essay is designed to sway the reader to adopt your point of view about a topic. This means it’s important that your views are expressed in a clear, concise manner, which allows the reader to understand your argument. These are good examples of persuasive essay topics you might write about:

    • Whether governments should or should not fund embryonic stem cell research.
    • Whether love is a virtue or a vice.
    • Why Citizen Kane is the best movie of the 20th century.
    • Why American citizens should be forced to vote.
  2. Image titled Write an Essay Step 19

    Write your essay as though you are conducting a debate. When you speak in a debate, you introduce your topic, list your evidence and draw a conclusion for the people who are listening. A persuasive essay has a similar structure.

  3. Image titled Write an Essay Step 20

    Collect facts from good sources to justify your opinions. Support your argument with reasoned facts. A well-written essay is great, but a well-argued essay is undeniable.

    • In addition to doing research, you can perform empirical experiments including taking surveys, doing interviews or conducting experiments. Survey results or interviews could be great pieces of information to start your essay with.
    • Tell a story about the facts. Don’t just list the facts; tell a story! For example: “Since the death penalty has been reinstated, more than 140 inmates on death row have been released after evidence proved them innocent. Ask yourself: How would you like to be one of those 140 wrongfully-convicted inmates?”
  4. Image titled Write an Essay Step 21

    Discuss conflicting opinions. Present the other side of your argument and use logic and facts to show why the other side’s opinion is either inaccurate or not up-to-date. [3] This process is often called a concession or rebuttal. You’re showing the reader you are unbiased and considered the other arguments, but you concluded that your argument is the best. [4]

    • For example: “Some people argue that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to crime. Time after time, evidence has disproved this theory. The death penalty, in fact, does not act as a deterrent to crime: The South accounts for 80% of US executions and has the highest regional murder rate.”
  5. Image titled Write an Essay Step 22

    Tie all your ideas together in a gripping conclusion. Be sure to stress your thesis, or what you are arguing for or against, one last time. Use some of the information you have discussed, or a story you’ve saved, to color your conclusion a little bit.

Part 4

Writing an Expository Essay

  1. Image titled Write an Essay Step 23

    Choose a subject for your essay. You’ll be investigating a topic and presenting your viewpoint about the topic based on evidence. Research papers usually fall under this category of writing.

    • For example, you could write an expository essay arguing that embryonic stem cell research can lead to cures for spinal cord injuries and illnesses like Parkinson’s or diabetes.
    • Expository essays differ from persuasive essays because you aren’t stating an opinion. You’re stating facts that you can back up with research.
  2. Image titled Write an Essay Step 24

    Select your strategy and structure . Some common strategies and structures for expository writing include:

    • Definitions. Definition essays explain the meaning of terms or concepts.
    • Classification. Classification essays organize a topic into groups starting with the most general group and narrowing down to more specific groups.
    • Compare and contrast. In this type of essay, you’ll describe either the similarities and differences (or both) between ideas or concepts.
    • Cause and effect. These essays explain how topics affect each other and how they are interdependent.
    • How-to. How-to essays explain the steps required for completing a task or a procedure with the goal of instructing the reader.
  3. Image titled Write an Essay Step 25

    Keep your views unbiased. Expository essays aren’t about opinions. They are about drawing a conclusion based on verifiable evidence. [5] This means keeping your perspective balanced and focusing on what the facts tell you.

    • You might even find that, with new information, you’ll have to revise your essay. If you started out writing about the scarcity of information regarding global warming, but came across a bunch of scientific evidence supporting global warming, you at least have to consider revising what your essay is about.
  4. Image titled Write an Essay Step 26

    Use the facts to tell the story. The facts will tell the story itself if you let them. Think like a journalist when writing an expository essay. If you put down all the facts like a reporter, the story should tell itself.

    • Don’t mess with structure in expository essays. In narrative essays, you can twist and turn the structure to make the essay more interesting. Be sure that your structure in expository essays is very linear, making it easier to connect the dots.

Part 5

Write a Narrative Essay

  1. Image titled Write an Essay Step 27

    Tell your story vividly and accurately. A narrative essay recounts an incident that either you or others have experienced. In a narrative essay, you could describe a personal experience in which embryonic stem cell research could have helped you or someone you love conquer a debilitating condition.

  2. Image titled Write an Essay Step 28

    Include all of the elements of good storytelling. You’ll need an introduction, setting, plot, characters, climax and conclusion.

    • Introduction: The beginning. How are you going to set the story up? Is there something useful or important here that gets mentioned later on?
    • Setting: Where the action takes place. What does it look like? Which words can you use to make the reader feel like they are there when they read it?
    • Plot: What happens. The meat of the story, the essential action. Why is the story worth telling?
    • Characters: Who’s in the story. What does the story tell us about the characters? What do the characters tell us about the story?
    • Climax: The suspenseful bit before anything is resolved. Are we left hanging on the edges of our seat? Do we need to know what happens next?
    • Conclusion: How everything resolves. What does the story mean in the end? How have things, people, ideas changed now that the end is revealed?
  3. Image titled Write an Essay Step 29

    Have a clear point of view. Most narrative essays are written from the author’s point of view, but you can also consider other perspectives as long as your point of view is consistent.

    • Utilize the pronoun “I” if you are the narrator. In a narrative essay, you can use first person. However, make sure that you don’t overdo it. In all essays, you sound more authoritative if you state facts or opinions in third person.
  4. Image titled Write an Essay Step 30

    Make a point. You’re telling a story, but the purpose of the story is to make a specific point. Introduce your main idea in your thesis statement, and make sure that all of your story elements tie back to your thesis statement.

    • What did you learn? How is your essay an exploration of the things that you learned?
    • How have you changed? How is the “you” that started the essay different from the “you” now? Related to, but different from, the “what did you learn?” question.
  5. Image titled Write an Essay Step 31

    Choose your language carefully. You will use words to evoke emotions in your reader, so choose your words deliberately. [6]

Essay Help

Community Q&A


Add New Question

  • Question
    How do you begin the introduction?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Start with a great fact, story, or compelling idea, then grow from there. If you’re stuck, many writers save their intro until the end, once they know the actual direction and evidence in the rest of the essay.

    Not Helpful 27
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  • Question
    How long should a paragraph be in my essay body?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    5 – 7 sentences is an appropriate length for paragraphs in the body.

    Not Helpful 18
    Helpful 99

  • Question
    How do I know how to start an essay?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Try to start with something intriguing and promising. Questions can be really effective for an introduction. Aim for an introduction that has an explicit relation to the topic/title of your essay, and avoid analyzing the topic in your first paragraph.

    Not Helpful 22
    Helpful 104

  • Question
    How many paragraphs are in an essay?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    It depends on what the topic is about. Normally all essays have an Introduction, paragraphs explaining the most important things about the theme (about 2 or 3), and a conclusion.

    Not Helpful 26
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  • Question
    How do I conclude the body paragraph?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    You don’t have to conclude the body paragraph in any particular way. That’s what the conclusion paragraph is for.

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  • Question
    What can I do if I have to write an essay for an exam and can’t do research for it?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Know the topic well before hand. Though the essay question could vary widely, know the historical context of events related to the class. You will likely be given a document, or several, to respond to, so you will have some resources available. However it is necessary to know the historical context of the event the documents talk about, so you can interpret them correctly and provide contextualization in your essay. Contextualization is telling what led up to an event, and is often helpful to explain why things happened and understand the mindset of the time period.

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  • Question
    How do I write an essay on controversial topics?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Research several sides of the topic and form an opinion. Introduce the various arguments about it, both for and against your view. Use some evidence in the body of your essay to support your own view, and/or explain the views submitted. Summarize the concepts, and statenwhy you believe what you believe.

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    Helpful 20

  • Question
    What is the best font and font size to use?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Unless your teacher says otherwise, use 12pt Times New Roman font and remember to double-space your essay. Some teachers will prefer 10pt font, but still request double-spacing.

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  • Question
    How do I write an essay about myself?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    You can either tell a story about a moment in your life when you learned something valuable about yourself or just tell the story of your life from beginning to end.

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  • Question
    How do I write an essay on a proverb?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer

    Read the proverb several times, looking at the tone, voice and intended audience. Dissect the proverb, thinking about the intended meaning, and historical context. Why was it important then and is it still important/applicable now? Write everything down and arrange it inside the structure of the essay in a way that flows and makes sense to you.

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    Quick Summary

    If you need to write an essay, start by gathering information from reputable sources, like books from the library or scholarly journals online. Take detailed notes, and keep track of which facts come from which sources. As you start to organize your notes, look for a central theme you would be interested in writing about, or a thesis. Organize your notes into an outline that supports and explains your thesis, then write the body of your essay based on the outline. Finish your paper with a strong conclusion that sums up your important points.

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    • Don’t rush everything, but also don’t take too long to write your essay. Think about the main ideas as a priority before tackling the less important parts.
    • Do not divert your attention to other things while writing an essay.
    • Make your essay interesting, so that people understand and take a keen interest in it.
    • Remember: Don’t wait until the last minute to write your essay! You need to give yourself enough time to thoroughly follow the steps above. Otherwise, you could end up rushing through the work and find yourself with a poorly-written essay.
    • Don’t procrastinate or you will find no time to finish it.
    • Always be on the lookout for interesting information to add. Google is a good place to start your search.
    • Refer to all illustrations and diagrams as Figure 1, 2, 3, etc. You can refer to tables and charts as Table 1, 2, 3, etc. or as figures. Photos can be referred to as Photo 1, 2, 3, etc., or as figures. Avoid including a figure that you do not specifically mention in the body of the essay.
    • Ask for help at the start if you don’t understand, don’t leave it to the last minute to ask for help.
    • Avoid the following:
      • Making columns of point-form lists.
      • Making a comma-spliced list inside a paragraph.
      • Using et cetera (etc.) at the end of a list. When teachers see “etc.”, they interpret it to mean, “and I can’t think of anything else.”
      • Bullet point every idea that you have before writing each section. This gives you a good point to look for ideas, rather than being reliant on memory and risking losing useful points.
    • Starting and ending can help the most… imagine yourself to be the person who is reading and write it the way it would have impressed you.
    • Don’t rush, but make sure you are very clear and your essay makes sense.
    • Make sure that there are no grammatical errors.
    • First think for 5-10 minutes before writing.
    • Make a basic list before you do your rough draft. It helps to keep you on track and give the most basic starting place.


    • Avoid plagiarism . Parenthetically reference or footnote all borrowed quotes, facts and ideas that are not your own even if you are rewording them. Most faculty can quickly spot plagiarism, which can be verified either by a search engine or plagiarism-detection software. You can even be charged with plagiarism for reusing material that you’ve already written as you are expected to create new content every time. Plagiarism is a serious offense in the academic world; students have been expelled from colleges and universities for plagiarism, it is very risky.

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    Sources and Citations


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    Article Info

    Featured Article

    Categories: Featured Articles | Essays

    In other languages:

    Español:  redactar un ensayo , Deutsch:  Ein Essay schreiben , Português:  Escrever uma Redação , Nederlands:  Een opstel schrijven , Italiano:  Scrivere un Saggio , Français:  concevoir et rédiger une dissertation , Русский:  написать эссе , 中文:  写文章 , Bahasa Indonesia:  Menulis Esai , العربية:  كتابة مقالة , Čeština:  Jak napsat esej , हिन्दी:  निबंध लिखें , ไทย:  เขียนเรียงความ , 한국어:  글 쓰는 법 , Tiếng Việt:  Viết Bài luận , Türkçe:  Deneme Nasıl Yazılır

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    Expert Review By:


    Christopher Taylor
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    This version of How to Write an Essay was reviewed by Christopher Taylor on August 3, 2018.

    252 votes – 74%
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    74% of people told us that this article helped them.

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    Barbara Gonzalez

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