How to Write an Essay: The Ultimate Guide for Writers

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Students have to write an academic essay at least once in their academic career. Despite being a fairly simple piece of work, it does require some serious skills.

A good essay should be comprehensive, cohesive, and factual. So, what’s the main trick about it? The topic needs to be covered in a logical manner throughout the narration. And this can be quite hard for students who might feel very passionate about this or that subject matter. Now, let’s get deeper into details. How to write an essay? What concept hides behind an academic essay?

1.How to Write Essay: The Basics

The main thing about academic writing is the ability to organize information into a cohesive essay. While some students have a natural talent to writing, most of them need to develop this skill. If you are one of those who need to master this skill, you should read this guide till the end. Whether you are provided with a topic or you select it yourself, you should follow the general elements of construction. How do you write an essay? Here is the answer.

1.1.Pre-Writing Tactics to Try Out

You may have a lot of ideas in your head, but you still don’t know how to start an essay. This is why a pre-writing stage can’t be ignored. By doing some extra routine at the beginning, you will save time for the future writing process. Let’s analyze three common tactics to be used before you write an essay.

  • Brainstorming: It’s not a new writing method, but it’s surely one of the most effective ones. It will make it possible for you to put all your ideas together. Eventually, you will notice that some of them are interrelated, which will help you develop an outline of your future essay.
  • Freewriting: If you have a general vision of the future topic but you are not sure what particular aspects of it you want to discuss, freewriting will help you with it. Within the fixed time, you will be writing your thoughts in full sentences as they come into your mind. Thus, you will get a bunch of completed ideas.
  • Clustering: Unlike freewriting, clustering features a different format. It needs you to write just keywords, not the complete ideas. Once you are done with it, you start writing your associations with the keywords by creating a visual map. In the end, you will be able to pick up the most reasonable ideas that suit your topic.

1.2. Researching your essay topic

Depending on the type of essay you are up to, you will use specific information. If you need to write a personal essay, your narration will be purely based on your personal experience, feelings, and opinions. If you need to write a research or analytical essay, you will need to check academic and scientific sources. Thus, before you learn how to write essays, you will learn how to conduct thorough research. In order to strike a balance between different points of view, you need to refer to multiple sources. It won’t hurt to create an alphabetical list of all books and journals used during your research stage. You can organize the list in the requested referencing style at the very beginning. This can be APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, etc.

2.How to Write an Essay: The Writing Process

Even if you are familiar with academic writing, you will need an outline when you write an essay. There are standard structural elements to be included in an essay. Let’s check them out.


In the introduction, you need to mention a topic to readers. This way, you give them some hint on what to expect from your essay. The size of introduction can’t cover more that 2 or 3 paragraphs. Make sure to keep the narration simple and easy to read.

2.2.Body Paragraphs

Now that you have made your topic clear to readers, it’s time to provide sufficient evidence. This is where you proceed with body paragraphs. Depending on the initial instructions, you will need to write an essay by sticking to the requested size. An average research essay has at least three supporting arguments to reveal the topic, defend and prove arguments, and explain your main sentence. To keep readers’ interest till the end, make sure to introduce your points from the least to the most important ones.


Your conclusion will be more or less similar to the introduction. But instead of your plans, you will mention the results of the conducted work or the future intentions of yours. In other words, you will summarize your main points and restate your thesis. Make sure to fit all this information into 2-3 paragraphs.

2.4.List of References

When you are learning how to do an essay, you shouldn’t forget about the list of references. While a personal essay doesn’t need references, a research essay won’t be complete without them. It’s highly recommended to make up a list of references before starting a writing process in order to have foundations for every single point. There is no standard requirement for the number of references to be used in an essay. It usually depends on the size, type, and complexity of work. By the way, don’t forget about the requirements set by your professor. Make sure to read the assignment carefully not to miss a single detail.

3.Final Check

Once you are done with an essay, it’s time to clear it out from the tiniest mistakes. Thus, you should read it thoroughly once, twice, or even thrice to make sure it is grammatically, structurally, and contextually perfect. Ideally, you make a pause between checks. It will let you have a fresh look at the written content. When you write an essay, you often overlook even the most obvious mistakes. This is why it can be useful to ask your parents, friends, or teachers to proofread and edit your essay. You can also try reading your essay aloud to have a clearer understanding of what you have written.

4.Write an Essay: Useful Tips

How to write an essay? Apart from the general information on the structure and organization of personal and scientific content, there is something else you need to know. By following the following tips, you will increase your chances of achieving an excellent result:

  • Avoid contractions. Depending on your type of essay, you can write in a formal or informal style. While a personal essay can have a free narration, a research essay can’t be willed with contractions.
  • Avoid clichés. Clichés will make your essay look less serious and less convincing. While it can be fine for a personal essay, it can be destructive for a research one. Even if you use them, make sure that they are suitable for the covered topic.
  • Spice up the narration. In case of an informal essay, you can try to add some bright colors to the narration. By integrating an antagonist character, an unpredictable twist, or a funny joke into the plot, you can make your essay more interesting and engaging for readers.
  • Choose an academic vocabulary. By using academic vocabulary in your essay, you make your point sound more convincing. Ideally, you avoid or minimize the use of such words as think, seem, and look.
  • Make your arguments clear. Having a clear point, idea, or opinion is what makes your essay academically correct. By using strong words in your argument, you will be able to persuade readers.
  • Use main sentences to keep the content cohesive. Every paragraph must be started with a topic sentence as it states the main concept or idea of a paragraph. Thanks to transition sentences, you enable a smooth sequence of your thoughts and ideas within a single paragraph and the whole text.
  • Use the requested format. When you are done with the writing process, check the formatting instructions. Every tiny inaccuracy in a format can cost you an excellent score.

Now that you are ready to write an essay, you should keep the above information in your head. Of course, telling an engaging story is not something that everyone can do. But with some practice, quality samples, and little imagination, you can do it perfectly.