How to Write an Essay in 6 Simple Steps

Published 2/27/2013

Having received an assignment for essay you should understand that inspiration alone is not enough for success and it’s not only because of the fact that inspiration doesn’t come on demand. Moreover, rich imagination is also not a necesserely key factor of an effective essay writing even if you are the next Shakespeare and of course if you are not.

Good news, however, is that even without an especial rush of inpiration and flight of imagination you still can write an excellent essay and receive a high grade. How? Just by using some pretty standard patterns and best practices. Actually, schoolary essay is intended to test not your writing talent, but your ability to express your thoughts coherently and follow the rules.

In this article we’ve putted the rules in an order and organized them into simple six-step sequence that helps to simplify and stremline the essay writing process.

1. Choose Essay Type and Essay Topic

The first thing you’ll want to do is to focus on one type of essay. There are many commonly used types of essays like “Cause and effect”, “Classification and division”, “Compare and contrast”, “Descriptive”, “Narrative”, “Argumentative”, etc. Oftenly you teacher instructs you to use a specific essay type, but if not then choosing the right type greatly affect the rest of your work. Starting from a certain type you won’t be able to change it without complete re-writing of your essay, so take your time and choose the most suitable type of essay for your assignment.

Now is also the time to choose a topic for your essay. Choosing an appropriate topic can be not simple, but crucial if you want to write an essay well. On one hand, your essay topic should be compatible with the chosen type of essay and on the second hand it worth to choose something that you are interested in. Writing on an interesting topic will be both more pleasure and more successful.

If you don’t have a good idea initially, you can find a list of topic suggestions for you essay type in the Internet, something like one the following resources:

100 Argument or Position Essay Topics

100 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

100 Cause and Effect Essay Topics

Even if you don’t find your topic there, these lists provide some good topic examples that can finally help you to invent something yourth.

2. Choose Essay Structure Pattern

Each types of essay have several standard patterns of essay structures. The chosen essay structure will determine the order of the paragraphs in your essay and their content.

For example, there are three simple patterns for for argumentative essay called “PRO-CON Pattern”, “CON-PRO Pattern” and “3-CON Pattern” which are recommended for short school essays, and two more complicated patterns called “Claim / Counterclaim Pattern” and “Alternating” which are recommended for advanced school and college essays (see the article “How to Write an Argumentative Essay on any Topic” for more information).

Dependent on your assignment, you should choise an appropriate pattern and then stick to it while you write an essay.

3. Outline the Essay

If you think about skipping this step because you don’t know what essay outlining is, or you want to save time, please DON’T.

How many times you were stuck on the first paragraph, not knowing what to write? It was because you started writing before thinking about what you want to write. This is “outlining”, and it’s the only way you’ll write a high grading paper, fast.

When doing an essay outline, you should plan your essay paragraph by paragraph, starting from the strong thesis statement in the essay introduction, down to the essay conclusion, according to your chosen essay pattern.

For more information refer some good outline samples with explanations in the following links:

Types of Outlines and Samples

Writing an Outline

Sample Essay Outlines

4. Write the Essay

Great! Now you can focus on writing the essay text itself. You’ll have a much easier time since your outline is ready and you know exactly what you want to write in each paragraph. Just elaborate on each point from your outline, and if you did your essay outlining well, it will produce a well written essay.

If you need to change something in your outline because you found a better way to make your point – do it. Just remember to use the updated outline in your writing.

5. Formating Style and References

It’s one of the most hated, but necessary steps. Your essay has to comply with MLA, APA or Chicago/Turabian standard, dependent on your educational institution and course.

The standards inlcude detailed requirements of the formatting and layout for the first page and the rest of pages of your essay, use of footnotes or endnotes, abbreviating, short and long quotations borrowed from secondary sources, etc.

In the following links you will found some helpful guides:

MLA Formatting and Style Guide

MLA Documentation Guide

APA Formatting and Style Guide

APA Documentation Guide

Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition

Chicago/Turabian Documentation Style

The most difficult task, however, is preparation of the reference list or bibliography. There are about sixty different types of sources, from the Bible up to E-Mail, and citation from each one of them must be formatted accordingly to very strict and complicated rules which are almost impossible to keep in mind.

Fortunately, we are living in the era of Internet where you can find a number of excellent free online bibliograhy and citation tools like BibMe, Citation Machine or EasyBib and we wormly recommend using them to save your time and avoid mistakes

6. Finalize your Work

This last step is strongly required if you really want to receive a high grade.Review your essay and make sure everything’s OK. You’ll be amazed how much this improves your essay quality, as we tend to find many mistakes (and correct them) at this step.

Read and reread your essay to make sure that there are no vague or spoiled phrases in it.

Use a spell checker tool. It’s very sad to see your score lost because of any spelling or grammer error!

Take a look at the title page. Don’t you see any stupid typo mistake here?

If all the above recommendations seem you to be too simple, remember: the ninety percent of students get significantly reduced grades because they didn’t listen to the advice of Captain Obvious.

Now you are ready to submit your work and get your well-deserved high appreciation!

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