Let’s accept the fact that essay writing is a rather laborious process and not the easiest thing to do. It is a bitter truth. Essays are very frequently assigned for homework. It is another bitter truth.
What is the way out? You can’t change or annul the academic requirements (at this very moment). On the other hand, you can read the article below and find all necessary elements to provide a good essay, even if it is your first one.
1. 10 STEPS TO WRITE A BRILLIANT ESSAY
Planning is everything.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
We should all heed the words of the 34th President of the United States. If your academic skills are not perfect, you have to plan all steps to writing an essay, and that is the first thing you should do.
– Choosing a topic for an essay
The fact that you need something to write about is obvious and undeniable. Everything becomes much easier if your teacher has provided you with a topic. Anyway, you may check our article “Original Essay Topics.” In the first place, your essay is more likely to be brilliant if you are really interested in the subject you write about. Choose wisely!
- Dig deep!
So, the next step is profound research. No matter what topic you choose, probably you’ll find enough material provided by well-educated specialists, experienced journalists, and famous writers. You should not choose some random sources; make sure that they are credible and trustworthy.
- Give yourself time
Good ideas do not always come first. Try to look at your theme from different angles, and then look again, and again. Have a rest. And look again. Your mind needs some space to imagine all possible variants of the argumentation and approaches. Organize your personal “brainstorming” session with tea and cake!
- Structure your thoughts
Creating the diagram or outline for your essay is one of the necessary steps to writing an essay. The outline has to be detailed and well-organized. You should also include some keywords or references for every point of your plan. If you are prone to creativity and imaginative thinking, you may draw your diagram in the shape of a pyramid, sun, house, or any other appropriate object.
- The thesis statement is the root of everything
On the internet, you can find specific lectures and guidelines about writing an A-level thesis. In few words, it has to be understandable, narrow, and exhaustive. A thesis statement determines the structure of your essay, so strive for the ideal.
- Just do it
Now you should start writing. Begin with the introduction, then move to the main body, and, finally, come to a conclusion.
- All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Have a rest. No joke. Take a nap or go for a walk. Remember that you are not a robot that can just plug in a wall socket and be OK. You need a fresh mind to add the finishing touches.
Read your essay one more time. If you feel that you can do it better, now is the right moment. If you see unnecessary phrases – delete them. Tautologies? Use your dictionary, and find a synonym. Spelling and grammar mistakes are also not allowed.
- Fresh perspective
Getting feedback may also be considered as one of the steps to write an essay. Consult your parents, friends, or teacher before writing a final draft. Two heads are better than one. Even the greatest writers of all time shared their ideas with their wives, husbands, and close friends before publishing their books.
- End of the road
After you assure yourself that everything is done correctly, write a final draft for your essay. And read it one more time. Just in case.
Formula of the Perfect Essay
Lots of educational sources compare essay writing with the process of cooking a burger. We think that this is just not right. How dare they compare this amazing and delicious masterpiece with homework? We are not saying that the essays should be your worst nightmare, absolutely not. Anyway, you can’t create a brilliant essay without a proper recipe as well as a tasty burger, soup, or lasagna. Now, let’s throw light on all the tiniest parts of the essay structure.
2. HOW TO WRITE AN INTRODUCTION FOR AN ESSAY?
Firstly, let’s figure out the main task of the introduction. The first paragraph is aimed at grabbing the reader’s attention and making him or her continue reading. What usually draws our attention? Something interesting, mysterious, funny, and unusual. It’s a pity, but you can’t draw a beautiful flower or fluffy kitty instead of your introduction paragraph. So, how to write an essay introduction to “wow” readers?
Laughing is one the easiest ways to comfort your readers and to prepare them for a further perception of the text. Be careful with jokes! This method is not very appropriate for the essays about serious social, economic, or political issues, like homelessness, hunger, and revolutions. Moreover, make sure that your anecdote is funny not only for you, otherwise it may embarrass or confuse an average person.
Professional magicians have a simple but really effective rule: diversion is half of the success. Your topic is on gender inequality? Start your essay with a question about apples and oranges. You wonder what’s the point? It means your readers will wonder too. That’s the point.
Tell a story. Life is a collection of stories: fairy tales, cartoons, novels, comic books, etc. Why won’t you offer another one for your reader? Of course, it shouldn’t be too long or complicated. The main idea of the tale has to be relevant to your essay theme.
Predictability is boring. An irregular approach is exactly what you need in order to amaze your reader. Speak in a roundabout way, ask questions, and tell stories. Use your imagination and creativity, because you have only one attempt to attract your reader. Don’t waste it!
Jokes and stories are not enough for a good introduction. You should also include a thesis statement in the first paragraph. The thesis statement is one, perhaps two sentences at the beginning of your essay that summarizes your ideas and sets a direction and steps for your writing.
There are four major stages of writing a perfect thesis statement:
1. Answer the question.
What function does an admissions essay have in the application process, and why is it important?
An admissions essay allows the colleges to learn more about the candidate.
2. Answer the WHOLE question.
An admissions essay is the only way for the colleges to learn what kind of person the candidate is.
3. Provide examples.
An admissions essay is the only way for the colleges to learn what kind of individual the candidate is; it has to demonstrate his or her personal qualities, career aspirations, and life goals.
4. Perfection: make sure your thesis statement is immaculate.
An admissions essay is the only way for a candidate to demonstrate his or her personal qualities, career aspirations, and life goals; it is also an opportunity for colleges to hear the candidate’s personal voice.
3 HOW TO CONSTRUCT THE MAIN BODY OF AN ESSAY?
A burger without meat is worth nothing. It is the same for an essay and the main body.
The body paragraphs are the part of your essay between the introduction and conclusion. Text length depends on your word limit and your own writing energy. Every paragraph has to loosely consist of a similar number of words. This should be obvious for every conscious mind, but we’ll repeat a simple truth: one paragraph is NOT ENOUGH! Phew. It had to be done. Let’s move on to less obvious statements.
All body paragraphs should include:
- Topic sentence
- Coherent structure
- A clear connection with the thesis
- Sub-conclusion (optional)
Every paragraph represents only one sub-point in order to let your reader easily follow your reasoning. The most important, or strongest, arguments you should place at the beginning of the essay main body or save for the last paragraph because they will make a first impression and form a fine aftertaste.
All parts of the main body should be connected with proper transitions. A coherent text is more convincing and readable than a range of random arguments. You should enforce all points with one or more supporting details. Your statements will sound unreliable without facts, real-life examples, quotes, statistics, etc.
Remember that not only the general length of your writing matters. Every paragraph should be about 5-7 sentences. It is impossible to make a statement and prove it in one sentence. On the other hand, a reader loses his or her concentration while reading a long paragraph. That is why there is no need to elongate your speech artificially. You’d better think about different approaches to enhance your main idea.
One of the most popular models of writing is the five-paragraph essay. It is not always appropriate, but useful for beginners who have just started their way to academic success. The structure of this draft is simple: introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion. There are two different strategies of the disposition of the arguments. The first method suggests putting your weakest point in the middle in order to circle it with stronger ones. The second approach is like a downward staircase: the first paragraph includes the cleverest argument, and the last one – the weakest argument.
A good example is the best way to explain how to write a body paragraph correctly. We will analyze a sample on “Canterbury Tales” written by Geoffrey Chaucer. The task question is: “What are the main reasons which make all the tales fantastic?”
4. HOW TO WRITE A CONCLUSION PARAGRAPH FOR AN ESSAY?
The open-ended movie intrigues; the open-ended book makes you think; the open-ended essay raises the question, “So what?” Sounds uncertain, right?
In your conclusion, you have to remind your audience why they have read your essay and why it was not a waste of time. The concluding paragraph is more likely to stick in your reader’s memory than any other part of your paper. That is why it has to be the best part of your writing. Here is a list of four good strategies to complete your conclusion properly:
- As we mentioned above, a bad conclusion frequently raises the question, “So what?” You won’t believe, but the easiest way to avoid this question is to give an exhaustive answer in the last paragraph. Restate the most significant points in the concluding paragraph and put a period. Great job!
- The reader wants to have a feeling of completeness. Your conclusion may repeat your thesis statement. Now the cycle is completed. Sure, you should not repeat it verbatim, just use paraphrasing.
- Give your reader a hint about the further development of your topic or mention other aspects that could be interesting to him or her. For example, if you analyze the influence of Impressionism on European culture, in your concluding paragraph you may remark that it also had an effect on American culture.
- You may quote or reference one of your sources. A quotation helps to specify and confirm your final point. If your essay is dedicated to a book or movie, this strategy is perfect.
- Use the Socratic method – ask a question. It may motivate readers to think over your topic or even to provide their own research. It is a brilliant strategy for those who want to stimulate thinking of their readers.
Now it’s time for some bad strategies that you SHOULD NOT use for your conclusion:
- More data, more facts, more ideas. That’s enough! Your concluding paragraph is not a good place for the information you’ve forgotten to mention in the main body. Just let it go!
- As a rule, a conclusion doesn’t exceed the limit of a few sentences. It has to be short and clear without unnecessary details.
- No doubt, you can offer new ideas and perspectives in your essay, but don’t do this in the last paragraph! If the moment of epiphany has come too late, you’d better write another body paragraph than try to square the circle.
- A conclusion is not a summary of your paper but a synthesis of your main points. If you don’t have more than one sentence to write, it is not bad. Don’t expatiate by adding the information that your readers already know.
- Stay away from the phrases like “to sum up,” “in conclusion,” etc. Your readers understand perfectly well that the last paragraph is a concluding one. Don’t irritate them!
- Don’t apologize! It is not your fault that the word limit doesn’t allow you to present all the information you have found. Avoid phrases like “this is just one side of the problem,” “you can find much more information,” etc. Don’t show that you are not sure about the quality of your essay; your readers will think the same way.
- You should follow the same style through your essay. If your tone is serious and logical, don’t try to surprise readers with an emotional or motivating phrase. It will be a more confusing than entertaining move.
5. TYPES OF ESSAYS
Do you really think that reading and understanding your topic is enough? Ha. Think again. Do you know how many types of essays exist? A gazillion. Let’s talk about them a little to figure out what you have to do with different types of essays.
As a rule, a topic for this kind of essay is a general question. Your task is to answer this question and to persuade your reader that your opinion is the most immaculate and accurate. The argumentative essay belongs to the essay types that are frequently asked as a writing assignment in both schools and colleges.
Mention well-known sources and real-life examples for your arguments to be more compelling.
“Can social networking replace real life communication?”
The main goal of the analytical essay is – what a surprise – to analyze a tendency, behavior, event, etc. This type of essay is all about logical reasoning and structure. A reader should follow your thoughts naturally and easily.
Use linking words to give a reader the right direction of thinking.
“Why do teenagers often dye their hair?”
Problem Solution Essay
This type of essay is often asked in IELTS. You state a problem and offer your solution. Mention also your expectations about the consequences that will follow.
Your personal problems are not always interesting for readers. This is not meant as an offense, but only the truth.
“How to cope with apathy after a personal tragedy?”
Using this essay, you explain an idea in a clear and simple way. You don’t prove anything: your goal is to present all the sides of the topic for your audience.
NO emotions and NO opinions. Only facts and logic.
“Explain why music is used as a medicine by psychiatrists.”
In this type of essay, you provide your readers with a step-by-step guide. In short, you write an exhaustive and detailed instruction.
Start a new paragraph for each step in order not to confuse your readers.
“How to choose a topic for a killer essay?”
Descriptive or Description Essay
You describe things, people, nature events, or your grandma’s perfect cake. You should not write about your general impression. You have to describe all the aspects of your subject: how it looks, how it smells, how it feels, etc.
Use your imagination skills in full force. Remember that you have five senses to describe the object you’ve chosen!
“Describe the best circus performance you have ever seen.”
After reading your essay, everyone has to agree with your viewpoint. Compelling arguments, eloquence, and confidence are the fundamental tools for providing a brilliant persuasive essay.
Persuasive and argumentative essays are similar but not the same! You have to change your reader’s opinion in a persuasive essay using your power of conviction.
“The death penalty must be replaced with organ donation.”
This type of essay defines a certain term, concept, or phenomenon in a very detailed way. You should investigate the origin, the usage, and the meanings.
The dictionary definition is not enough; provide deep and comprehensive research on your topic.
Compare and Contrast Essay
You have to list the differences and similarities of two events, devices, tendencies, celebrities, etc.
Push the boundaries! Compare unexpected objects: gadgets, brands, websites, etc.
“A marriage of love vs. a marriage of convenience.”
College Admissions Essay
This essay is a crucial part of the application process. The admission board wants to know more about you through your writing. For certain, you wonder how to choose a college essay topic. They are so various that it is difficult to explain in a few words. Anyway, you’d better stay away from the worst essay topics for college.
Show the admissions officers that you are not merely a handful of accomplishments but a perfect candidate for their college.
“How does my name define my destiny?”
Cause and Effect Essay
Your primary goal is to specify the reasons and consequences of a certain problem or event. You may investigate the cause, suggest effects, or do both.
Don’t skip from one aspect to another without a proper connection.
“Social networking addiction: the causes and effects.”
Advantages and Disadvantages Essay
Unlike the argumentative essay, this type of essay doesn’t defend any point of view. In fact, it represents opposite opinions on a particular topic.
Be careful with your task! Sometimes, you should also provide your own opinion as a conclusion.
“Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the industrial revolution.”
In general, a narrative essay is a first-person story about a personal experience. However, it should have some kind of point or purpose. In that case, your narrative essay is a compelling and moving example to prove your main idea.
Include all necessary parts of the story (introduction, plot, characters, conclusion, etc.
“BFF and other lies.”
Here is more narrative essay topics for your consideration.
This paper is your verdict. You evaluate and criticize an art piece or a project in order to reveal its weaknesses or underscore its strengths.
Write some general data about your essay’s subject, because your readers are not necessarily well-informed.
“Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and the concept of true love.”
Your main goal is to separate objects, ideas, or things into particular groups. You have to explain your classification in a proper way and provide examples.
Look for an unpredictable approach to the classification of usual concepts. Regular things may shine in new splendor in the right hands!
“Five types of weekends.”
Note to consider:
The descriptive essay and the narrative essay don’t require strict formatting or structure. Sure, you should be consistent and logical, but let your creativity come in full force while writing these essays. Feel free to show your creative side! We hope our tips will help you a bit with creating every type of essay.
(to be cont…)