Table of Contents
- What is an essay?
- Essay Structure
- Types of Essay
- Essay Topics
- 5 Steps to a Good Essay
What is an Essay?
In its simplest form an essay is a way for you to express your academic opinion. An academic opinion is based on the analysis of all available facts and multiple points of view. Before you start writing you have to have a clear idea of what you think about your topic, but more than just having a position, you have to have arguments to defend your position from people that think differently. Every essay is a battleground and your words are the weapons that you use to make sure your thesis statement is still standing after every academic in the building has taken a swing at it.
There are three parts to every essay. The introduction, the body and the conclusion. The introduction is where you present your thesis statement, where you explain why your essay needs to exist and where you provide the reader with a road map to your entire argument. The conclusion is where you tie together all of your information with a pretty bow, summarising all of the points you have made in one place. They form that frame of the essay that you have to paint inside with the body. The body is where you have to do your real work.
Types of Essay
Back in High School they probably told you that there were two different types of essay divided down the middle into “persuasive” and “argumentative.” As usual the reality is a little more complex than your High School understanding. All good essays should be persuasive to your point of view and all of them should address arguments against that point of view. Beyond that I have seen narrative essays that tell the reader a story, descriptive essays that paint a pretty picture and expositionary essays that claim to stick to nothing but the facts. Choosing the right type of essay for your subject matters.
When we divide essays up even further based on their topics we start getting into very specific niches. Wherever there is a specific niche there is usually a preferred format and language for that niche that can help you to achieve success. Learn to identify essay topic niches:
A descriptive essay would have a subject like, “The Experience of Scuba Diving.”
A process analysis essay would have a subject like, “How to Play Checkers.”
A definition essay would normally have a one phrase subject like, “Disability.”
5 Steps to a Good Essay
Step 1. Analysis
This is the most vital part of writing an essay and more often than not, it is where students stumble. Work out what is being asked of you and make your essay into an answer for whatever question is being posed.
Step 2. Planning
You should spend 80% of the time involved in creating an essay researching and planning it.
Step 3. First Draft
Get your ideas down on paper as quick as you can without pausing to make it pretty.
Step 4. Revisions
The first draft is to get the words down, now you have to make sense out of them.
Step 5. Check and Polish
Check, check and double check all of your facts before you hand the essay in. If it is well written but fundamentally wrong you won’t be passing.