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An Ultimate Essay Writing Guide for Students

How to Write an Essay - Expert Guide with Examples

High school and college students have to write a lot of essays and other papers in their academic years. Writing academic essays means coming up with a coherent set of ideas that develops into a solid argument.

Sitting down to prepare an essay can be a very daunting task at any academic level. Coming up with an effective piece of writing requires a strong combination of planning, research, analysis, writing, and revising.

Follow the steps and stick to the basic guidelines for writing an essay worth A+ grade.

An essay is a piece of writing addressing a single subject matter. It is typically written to try to persuade the reader about an idea or explain an event as with the case of descriptive and reflective essays.

If you are a student, the most common assignment is a 500-word essay that you will most likely deal with.

The Essay Writing Process

The essay writing process consists of the following stages:

  1. Preparation
  2. Writing
  3. Revision


An essay writing is based on original research, analysis, and interpretation from the author. It can be a bit of an overwhelming task to start with. That’s why here is a step by step guide of the preparation stage of an essay that you can follow.

Understanding the Assignment

To complete an essay successfully, a student needs to gain a thorough understanding of the topic, requirements, and assignment instructions. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Read it a number of times and look for anything confusing that you might need to clarify with your instructor.

  • Identify the purpose of your assignment, length specification, required format, and the method of submission.

Choose a Topic

There are several ways to come up with an idea for your essay. Whether you prefer to brainstorm ideas or talking help from your professor on how to decide on a topic.

You can also try freewriting to choose a topic for your essay. It involves taking a broad topic idea and writing on it until you identify anything relevant that could be interesting.

Once you have decided on the main idea, narrow it down and select the topic that is:

  • Interesting
  • Original
  • Possible to research
  • Fulfills your assignment requirements

Conduct Initial Research

After deciding on the topic, conduct initial research. For this purpose, you can use different sources which include hooks, journals, and reliable websites. In this way, you will not miss any important information that might be helpful to establish your point.


At this stage, you are required to write your main argument in the introduction, develop and explain in the body section, and conclude the information in the final paragraph.

Revise and Edit

Editing the document approximately takes as much time as producing the first draft of the essay. The purpose of editing is to ensure that the essay is as accurate as possible by completing all the outlined tasks.

Some writers edit the document as they write. Some writers prefer to save the editing process once they are done with the writing. No matter what option of editing you choose to revise your document, consider the following:

  • Make sure the essay completes every task that you have mentioned in the outline.

  • Check for the logical connection between paragraphs and sections.

  • Is there a topic sentence in each body paragraph?

  • Do the supporting details fit the topic sentence?

  • Look for redundancies in phrases, clauses, and sentences. If the sequence of words is repeating information, remove it.

  • Make sure to provide evidence from credible and reliable sources.

  • Make sure you have provided clear transitions to help your readers follow you along the path of your thoughts.

Once you are done through the above list, leave the document for a day or two. After that, proofread the entire paper for the final time. In this way, you can look at the paper with a new perspective by taking a break of a few days.

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Different Types of Essays

There are different types of essays that you write as a student. The content and length for each type may vary depending upon the subject, level of difficulty, and specific course.

However, all essays share the same goal of persuading readers of a particular position through solid arguments based on evidence.

Here are the following types of essays you will encounter during your studies:

Descriptive Essay

The purpose of writing a descriptive essay is to provide a vivid picture of the selected person, object, location, or event. This type of writing provides all the details enabling the readers to imagine the item described.

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is an important academic essay that aims to describe a certain course of events from a subjective viewpoint. Narrative essays are written in the first-person perspective and do not necessarily follow a chronological order.

When writing a narrative essay, you might consider it as telling a story. These types of essays are often based on personal experiences allowing students to express their stories in a creative way.

Expository Essay

An expository essay is a type of academic essay in which a student investigates an idea. It involves analysis and evaluation of evidence to come up with a solid argument.

To write an expository essay, the writer must have extensive knowledge of the subject. There is no scope of the writer's emotions and feelings in an expository essay.

Argumentative Essay

In an argumentative essay, the writer uses the solid evidence and examples to convince the readers of their viewpoint. For writing an argumentative essay, explain why your point of view makes sense and why readers should agree with you.

Persuasive Essay

In a persuasive essay, the writer tries to convince the readers to believe in a certain idea and to do an action. In persuasive essay writing, it is the writer’s responsibility to convince the reader to accept a certain viewpoint or take specific action.

Writing a persuasive essay requires good research and an understanding of both sides of the issue.

Analytical Essay

An analytical essay breaks down something into parts and provides a claim on what you are analyzing. The main purpose of writing an analytical essay is to explain something point by point for the reader’s better understanding.

The analytical essay is usually written about the analysis of a text, process, or an idea.

Reflective Essay

A reflective essay is a type of essay in which the writer examines his/her life experiences. The writer then discusses how he/she has changed or grown from those experiences.

Unlike other types of essays, a reflective essay focuses on personal experiences and does not require much research and references.

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Essay Writing Topics

Below are some essay topics you can use for your next essay writing assignment:

  • Why should Facebook be banned?
  • Smoking in public places should not be allowed.
  • PC or Mac: which is better?
  • What are the positive and negative effects of dieting?
  • The consequences of earthquakes.
  • Globalization: Pros and cons.
  • Monarchy and its pros and cons.
  • Are people becoming technological zombies?
  • Cross-cultural marriages and racial tolerance.
  • Is online dating safe?

We have also compiled various essay topics based on their types for easy reference. Simply use the link below to select from a variety of essay topics.

Descriptive Essay topics

Narrative Essay topics

Expository Essay topics

Argumentative Essay topics

Persuasive Essay topics

Reflective Essay topics

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Essay Writing Format

Almost all types of essays follow a 5 paragraph essay format. It consists of an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Compose a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the central argument of your essay. The aim of writing a thesis statement is to establish the purpose and position of your essay.

A perfect thesis statement is the one that should briefly summarize the argument of your essay in a sentence or two. It should be concise, coherent, and contentious.

The thesis statement is most likely to change as you conduct more research on the topic. But it should serve as an effective guide for the whole writing process. Each paragraph in an essay should further develop and support this main claim.

Check out these thesis statement examples to compose a clear and perfect thesis statement for your essay.

Create an Outline

An essay outline works as a guide for the whole writing process. It helps in making writing more efficient and less time-consuming. So, creating an outline is worth dedicated time and energy.

For an essay outline, make a list of the main points, evidence, and arguments that you will include. It is divided into sections with headings so that all the elements of an essay are planned before you begin writing.

Write the Introduction

The first paragraph of the essay where you need to introduce your topic and the central idea of your essay. The essay introduction should grab the reader’s attention and provide an idea on which the essay focuses.

Here is the information that you need to cover in your essay:

  • Start with an attention grabber to catch the attention of your readers.
  • Some background information on the topic.
  • End the introduction with a strong thesis statement that sets up the focus and main purpose of your essay.

There are different ways that you can consider to start an essay with, such as hooks. These include quotes, questions, anecdotes, etc. used in different types of essays and other research papers.

Learn more about starting writing an introduction with different hook examples for a compelling start of an essay.

Compose Body Paragraphs and Outline Your Arguments

This is the most time-consuming part of an essay that comes between the introduction and conclusion. So, the most important and crucial information will go here. There is a minimum of three body paragraphs in the body section. But the number of paragraphs can be increased according to the complexity of the selected topic.

Each body paragraph starts with a topic sentence that identifies the central idea to be discussed in the paragraph. The topic sentence is followed by relevant explanations, examples, and supporting details to explain your topic further.

Here is how you can write an impressive body section of an essay:

  1. Start a topic sentence that summarizes the main point to be discussed in the paragraph.
  2. After that, write your argument and provide supporting details to prove it.
  3. Finally, present your evidence that is in the form of quotes, facts, examples, and statistics to support your argument.

All body paragraphs should also provide transitions. These transitions are required in between the individual sentences of paragraphs and also from one body paragraph to another.

Refer to the exclusive list of transition words for essays to make connections between ideas. In this way, you can ensure a smooth flow of information making it easy for the readers to understand.

Write the Conclusion

It is the last paragraph that summarizes the whole essay. Writing an essay conclusion takes a lot of time and often the most difficult part to write. No matter what type of essay you are writing, here is how you can create a strong conclusion paragraph.

  • Draw a connection between the arguments made in the body paragraphs.
  • State the outcome of your arguments.
  • Focus on the relevance and significance of the thesis statement
  • Focus on providing the broader implications of the topic.

In summary, below is the most popular format for essays:

  1. Introduction Paragraph
    • A Hook statement
    • Some Background information
    • Thesis statement
  2. First Body Paragraph
    • A Topic sentence
    • Supporting details
    • Example(s) to prove the thesis statement
  3. Second Body Paragraph
    • A Topic sentence
    • Supporting details
    • Example(s) to prove the thesis statement
  4. Third Body Paragraph
    • A Topic sentence
    • Supporting details
    • Example(s) to prove the thesis statement
  5. Conclusion
    • Restatement of the thesis
    • Call to action

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Essay Writing Examples and Samples

As mentioned above, there are different types of essays written for different purposes.

One of the best ways to learn different types of essay writing is by reviewing essay writing samples from experts.

Sample Essay

Essay Example

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Best Essay Writing Tips

Whether you are writing an essay for a class or a contest, it can be an overwhelming task. To ease the whole process, here are some expert tips to help you draft a successful essay.

  • Choose an interesting topic for your essay. It will help you grab the reader’s attention and piques their curiosity from the start.
  • If the length of your essay is not mentioned in the assignment instructions, keep it between 300-500 words. This is the ideal length but you can increase or decrease the length depending upon the complexity of the topic.
  • Try to write your essay in a simple and easy to understand language. Unnecessary and complicated writing will make it difficult for readers to comprehend your essay.
  • Make sure your essay does not contain any grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistakes. Otherwise, it will confuse and distract the readers from your paper.
  • Before writing your essay, organize your thoughts and ideas by creating a rough outline. In this way, you can ensure that you are submitting an organized and well-structured piece of writing.
  • The right balance of words and sentence structure also plays an important role in composing a readable paper. So learn the basic types of sentences and identify which type is appropriate to use in an essay.

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Get Help From a Professional Essay Writing Service

There are many essay writing problems that students deal with and often find themselves unable to write anything at all. Some lack time, some lack good essay writing skills, or some do not like writing in the first place.

If you find yourself in such situations, get custom writing help from the best essay writing service online.

You can also get help for the following academic papers:

  • College essays
  • Term paper
  • Dissertation
  • Thesis
  • Personal statement and much more

Ask our academic writers to craft any kind of essay or academic paper for you. We also have the option of free revisions until you are satisfied with the final draft.

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