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College writing

A Comprehensive Guide To College Writing For First Year Students

Navigating through the first year of college can be intimidating and challenging for a wide array of reasons. Getting acquainted with the new environment takes time, energy and patience. From getting to know your new classmates and lecturers to becoming familiar with the campus and classes, starting college is a major event in any student’s life. This is a new chapter filled with a lot of essay writing. However, first-year students can prepare in advance for their life on campus by researching classes and extra-curricular activities and reading mandatory books in advance.

Possibly the biggest change first-year students have to face is the type of writing they are expected to produce and hand in for different classes. College writing has to be complex, structured and backed up by research. No college paper is complete without quotes and references. Few first-year students are prepared to tackle this type of writing. To come to their help, this ultimate guide to college writing will walk you through the fundamentals of writing an academic paper, answering some very important frequently asked questions about introductions, conclusions, outlines, proofreading and formatting.

High School Vs College Writing - What You Need to Know

Writing your own academic papers for college can seem scary, especially if you didn’t do a lot of writing in high school or if you dread the entire process. You can seek help for researching, structuring, writing or proofreading papers when you have more urgent assignments to attend to or when you’re stuck and don’t know how to get out of the rut.

College professors have higher standards than your former instructors from high school. If in high school you were expected to write either one-page essays giving your personal opinions on various topics or half-page answers to simple questions, college writing might take you by surprise.

​Your academic papers will be expected to accurately summarise and extract important information from a wide array of readings. You will need to prove a full and correct understanding of the subject matter as well as speculate about it. You might be asked to give your opinion on a topic, analyse it and support your claims with well-structured arguments. These are all essential features of academic writing and you have to master the art of arguments if you want to deliver A+ papers every time.


Defining and Understanding Arguments

An intelligent argument is the backbone of a successful college paper. It demonstrates to your professor that not only are you well-acquainted with the reading or topic that is being discussed, but that you also have your own thoughts about the matter which you can elaborate in a fluent, cleverly designed paper.

Powerful essays start with a claim. You need to state the facts but also entice the readers to keep on reading. You can then follow up with your evidence. The aim of evidence-based facts is to support the claim and make it sound plausible. Ideally, when reading the reasons for the claim, your readership should nod in agreement and want to eagerly keep on reading your academic paper.

A thoughtful essay goes further and presents the limits to the claim stated in the beginning of the text. A savvy writer goes beyond simply presenting a claim and backing it up with evidence. They think about limitations and thus prove their ability to think outside the box, embracing challenges and objections. By presenting a few objections to your claim you show a deeper understanding of the subject and you also set your paper apart from other mediocre essays that barely scratch the surface of the topic they engage in.


Understanding an Assignment

While some professors will give you a detailed account about what they expect to see in your paper, others will merely present you with a very general question and expect you to decide the structure of your essay on your own. Whichever the case, your first priority when receiving an assignment is to fully grasp what the instructor expects you to hand in. Are they expecting a summary of a reading? Do they want a one-page essay or a five-page paper backed up by a bibliography of at least three books? Answering these questions can be hard but not impossible.

Start by looking at the phrasing of the assignment and decipher what you have to do. Some assignments will be formulated to suggest opposite claims. This is one of the happiest scenarios where the requirement is clear and you have a good starting point for your paper.

However, when the requirement asks you to “discuss”, “show how” or “illustrate”, things can be a bit more complicated. These types of tasks don’t require a summary but rather a deep and thorough analysis connected to motifs, patterns and reasons. Your professor will expect you to make a claim, back it up with evidence from the text and uncover how the reading works. You will, of course, have to introduce an argument and prove to your instructor that you have thoroughly understood the meaning of the text in discussion.

Drafting and Writing Your Paper - How to Outline, Introduce and Conclude a Paper

Now that you know what to expect from college writing and how to tackle assignments so that you can ace your very first essay, we can concentrate on finding relevant information that will help you prove your point and make your readership nod in agreement.

Before drafting the first version of your paper, it’s essential to read the text, novel or book that you are discussing in a critical way. Your objective should be collecting data (which will support your claim) and analysing it (in order to reach a plausible conclusion, suitable for your essay).


The Important of Essay Outlining - How to Choose the Right One for You

Every writer is different. Whether you set out to create a one-page essay or a 20-page academic paper, you will most likely need an outline to guide you in putting pen to paper and articulating your ideas. You can either create a full-fledged detailed outline that will comprise your main ideas and sub-points for each of them or a scratch outline that lists the main topics you want to discuss.

There is no universal method of outlining your paper and since each writer has a unique process of creating, you will have to experiment with both methods in order to discover what works best for you. A detailed outline might require more prep time. You have to jot down your main points and carefully consider how to arrange their sub-points. You can, of course, change this outline later on but it’s worth spending the extra time on the backbone of your paper which will guide you through a powerful and clear analysis. A scratch outline is less structured and emphasises topics rather than a particular order. This might not be as time-consuming as the previously mentioned method of outlining but you will still have to spend time arranging your topics in a coherent order and assigning sub topics to each main point.


The Yays and Nays of Your Introduction

Many college students will agree that writing the introduction for a paper is the most difficult part of the entire essay. To come to their help, professors all around the world preach a simple solution: leaving the introduction for last. This means you can go ahead and start working on the body of your paper and leave that one or two introductory paragraphs for last. While this technique is not unanimously accepted and implemented, it does manage to put some students at ease.

Writing your introduction last means you already know the topic inside out and can write a powerful and enticing intro. That’s not always the case. Ruining an introduction is easy, even if you have the best intentions. Sure, you could paraphrase your assignment but does that succeed in putting across your point and letting your readership know what approach you’ve chosen? It’s also tempting to include an account of your thought process in the introductory paragraph. However, you will fail to announce your main subject and your readers won’t know what to expect from the essay. Finally, you could state the obvious in your introduction, but you would end up oversimplifying the matter in question and failing to encourage readers to keep on reading.

So what does a great introduction comprise of? It emphasises what you will try to achieve in the paper by explaining the whys and illustrating the hows. A gripping introduction should make ample use of key terms that let the readership know how you plan to answer a question.


How to Reach an Effective Conclusion

Unlike introductions, students find that conclusions practically write themselves. After being engulfed in the topic, after reading, re-reading, analysing, underlining, polishing, and rewriting, a good conclusion should come easily. This part of your paper should be complex and rich. You can begin your conclusion by reiterating your main idea and underlining if there are any questions that still remain unanswered. It’s always interesting to leave your readership with some food for thought that will spark their interest even more.

Classic essay conclusions often state the importance of solving a problem or answering a question. Emphasise your point once again and possibly identify any further implications that can branch out into different areas.

Dealing with Writer's Block

Everyone finds themselves in a rut every now and then whether they’re writing a one-page or a 10-page paper. Since you’re striving to achieve so many things at once in an essay, you might find it difficult or impossible to start. There might be a multitude of angles you can take and a dozen of questions to answer. Which one is the perfect one and what choice will bring you the highest grade?


How Talking to a Tutor Can Spark Your Productivity Again

Writing a college paper should not focus entirely on pleasing the instructor and achieving the highest grade possible. Instead, you should concentrate on choosing a unique approach, posing creative questions and finding interesting new ways to answer seemingly simple questions. Once you establish your intentions, you can start collecting evidence and organising it in a neat collection that will help you back up your point.

If you’re feeling unproductive or if you have writer’s block don’t wait for the deadline to be just around the corner unless you want to start panicking. Take action immediately and discuss your issues with a tutor. Talking about your intentions, the question you want to pose and your approach with someone else will help spark your creativity again and bring in new perspectives that you might have overlooked. However, don’t rely entirely on your tutor to do your job for you.

Thoroughly prepare for the appointment in advance. Be ready to talk about your progress and have the outline of the paper with you at the meeting. Bring everything you have written up to that point with you and show it to the tutor. They should be able to get the gist of your work and progress from what you show them as well as from your explanations. Don’t be shy to talk about what troubles you or what is keeping you from advancing with your paper. Offer concrete examples and details. Keep in mind that you have to be as clear as possible if you want to receive genuine and useful feedback from your tutor.


On the Importance of Taking Notes

Keep in mind that you should be taking notes all throughout your meeting with the tutor. Write down suggestions and even outline a plan of action with help from your tutor. While talking about your problems, you might feel like you clearly understand what your next steps should be and how you should approach difficult issues. But a couple of hours later you might discover your plan has evaporated from your mind and you’re back where you started. It’s essential to fully understand everything you discuss with your tutor so don’t leave any matters up in the air. Insist on getting help with the plan and make sure this is consistent, actionable and easy to follow.

About Titles and Proofreading - How to Polish Your Paper Through Formatting

An important part of any college paper writing is knowing when your essay is finished and when it can be revised, proofread and formatted. A finished paper should feel coherent, strong and thought-provoking. It should have a logical structure, look aesthetically pleasing and be easy to read – no uber-long paragraphs, no long, knotty sentences that run-on for an entire paragraph.

Your finished paper should give you a sense of satisfaction. Wait a few hours or a day between the initial revisions and the final revision. This will allow you to review the essay with a fresh mind and eyes. You will also be able to spot grammatical errors, misspellings, typos or ambiguous sentences. Once you are content with the claim you have made and the evidence you have presented to back this up, you can revise the entire text for one final time.

In this stage, you can still rewrite parts of your paper that you find unsatisfactory or bits that you feel don’t add any value to the material. You should also spend time on finding the right titles, both for your paper and for each topic. Toy around with various possibilities and decide which one is best suited for the text as a whole. Use an online proofreading tool such as Grammarly to make sure you didn’t miss anything and that your text is impeccable from a grammar standpoint.


How to Choose the Right Title

Often times underestimated, titles hold much more power than we’re aware of. A reader who will skim your paper generally looks at your main titles and sub-titles. They also notice quotes, bold and italicised words, however, titles have the biggest impact. This is why you shouldn’t dismiss them too quickly.

Try to avoid choosing a bland name for your paper that merely echoes the assignment the teacher handed out. After all, you don’t want your paper to bear the same name as those of your other 50 classmates, do you? Take a little longer to find the right title that does justice to all the hard work, effort and time you’ve poured into your paper. The title should encompass the key words you used in your text that are most likely also found in your conclusion.

It’s best to choose terms that did not appear in the instructor’s assignment. This will speak volumes about your work ethics and meticulousness. Your title should be a reflection of your paper. It shouldn’t bring something new to the table nor use terms that don’t appear throughout the entire essay. Don’t use bombastic empty words in your title that fail to anticipate the key concepts in your writing.


The Importance of Proofreading

Proofreading (or lack of it thereof) along with formatting distinguishes organised, neat, and mature writers from careless, rushed, and sloppy ones. No great paper is truly finished until it is carefully scrutinised for spelling, punctuation and formatting errors. Confusing words like “their” and “they’re” or “your” and “you’re” will undoubtedly make your paper look unprofessional, sloppy and careless.

No spell-checkers are 100% reliable, so take the time to read your paper twice or thrice looking for mistakes. If your eyes are tired, you might be able to spot mistakes faster by reading a hard copy of your paper. If that’s not an option, increase the font size in your word document and adjust your screen’s contrast so that it’s comfortable for your eyesight. You can also ask a colleague or roommate to give your paper a read and signal any undetected mistakes.


The Importance of Formatting

Just like proofreading, impeccable formatting will make your paper look professional and organised. Keep things simple and consistent. Use the same type of lists and bullet points throughout your entire paper. Unless your instructor requires otherwise, follow these guidelines to ensure proper formatting for your paper.

  • Type font – stick to consecrated type fonts that are used world-wide for academic papers. The font choice of your text weighs heavily so this is not a good time to experiment with new things. It goes without saying you should stay away from Comic Sans or other ornate fonts. Safe choices include Times New Roman, Garamond, Arial, Verdana or Helvetica.
  • Font size – the preferred font size for college papers is 12. Don’t use font size in order to make your paper look shorter or longer. In the former case, you will use a font size that is too small which will put a strain on your instructor’s eyesight. It’s hard to fool anyone about the word count of your material, so keep it professional even if you are under or above the limits.
  • Ink colour – ensure the printer you’re using yields black, clear text. Don’t experiment with the colour of the text otherwise, your paper will stand out but not in a good way.
  • Spaces – you should leave a single space for quotes and double space between regular lines.
  • Margins – keep the margins set to 1.25 for all pages with no exceptions. Not only does this look polished and organised, it also gives you ample room to staple the pages together and gives the instructor enough space to jot down observations.
  • Numbering – your pages should always be numbered in the upper right corner.
  • Personal information – add your name, date and class details on the first page of your paper in the upper right corner. Your name should appear on every page of the material. The easiest way to do this in Microsoft Word is to add it as a header. This way, if a page gets misplaced, your professor will know where it belongs.

Few first-year students are prepared to tackle the structured and complex nature of college writing. This ultimate guide to college writing will walk you through the fundamentals of writing an academic paper, answering some very important frequently asked questions about introductions, conclusions, outlines, proofreading and formatting.

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50 of the Most Powerful Quotes From Literature

Take a note out of these authors’ books and discover this collection of fifty of the most powerful quotes from literature. This collection of quotes provides a glimpse into some of the most tragic, romantic, heart-wrenching and inspirational stories ever told on paper. These quotes are still being referenced today in film, television and theatre adaptations as well. These famous literary quotes have been placed into a fun and eye-catching infographic, designed by us here at Essay Writing Service UK.

You can expect to see some classic literary quotes from the likes of Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, Of Mice and Men, Wuthering Heights and The Great Gatsby. There are also more contemporary literary quotes from the likes of Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, The Notebook and P.S I Love You.

Did you know that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published in 1997, Wuthering Heights in 1847, and To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960? Did you also know that the Game of Thrones television series was adapted from a series of books by George R.R. Martin? These fifty powerful quotes have made the cut for their wisdom, literary beauty, memorable tone, and simply by making the reader stop, think and question their own lives.

We’ve decided not to include any William Shakespeare quotes on this occasion, as he’s got another blog dedicated to fifty of his very own quotes, which you can read here.

Whether you’re in education, languages, theatre, or an avid reader or writer looking for some literary inspiration, check out fifty of the most powerful quotes from literature in the below infographic and discover your favourites.

If you like the infographic, please feel free to share the infographic with your own readers to enjoy or share with your friends as well!

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Take a note out of these authors’ books and discover this collection of fifty of the most powerful quotes from literature. This collection of quotes provides a glimpse into some of the most tragic, romantic, heart-wrenching and inspirational stories ever to be told on paper and that are still being referenced today in film, television and theatre adaptations. These famous literary quotes have been placed into a fun and eye-catching infographic…

Taking notes

How To Take Killer Notes In Class (And Improve Your Studying)

Classes and lectures are the basis to your education and learning. If you can learn to take notes in class effectively, then you’ll be able to retain and retrieve information much more easily and therefore will improve your studying and aid in successful end results.

It’s all about finding a balance between not taking any notes at all (as you may think that your brain will be able to retain all the information) to writing absolutely everything down and not actually listening or understanding any of the information being provided to you by your lecturer.

In most cases, it’s quite often that if your class features a powerpoint presentation, the teacher will usually send round a copy of the presentation after the class. Therefore you might be thinking that no notes are needed... think again! Most presentations will usually contain pointers/signposts so are a good point of reference; however most of the vital information you need will be directly spoken to you. This is where taking notes and the different methods available come down to each individual and what might work best for you.

Learn to take killer notes in class with this guide and improve your studying. The guide outlines some of the most popular methods for note taking, which includes the outlining method, the cornell method, the mapping method and others. The feature also goes through the benefits of taking notes, what you should do before, during and after your class, as well as a discussion based on the difference between physical note taking and digital note taking.


The Benefits of Taking Notes

Before we get stuck into the various different methods of taking notes within your class, let’s cover the benefits of taking notes and how it can improve your studying.

Learning to take notes effectively will help to increase your academic success and help you to make the most out of your education. Effective note-taking can help to promote active listening during your lecture or seminar, provide a framework for revision, and improve your understanding of a particular topic.


Before Your Class - Preparation

Although you might think just attending your lecture or class is good enough, it’s important to prep before your class to ensure you maximise your study efforts and use all the resources available to you.

Before your lecture, find out the topic or title of the lecture from your timetable or ask your teacher. Consider what you might expect from the lecture, how it fits into your module and familiarise yourself briefly with the topic, by carrying out any initial research or briefly reading through any corresponding chapters in your textbook.

You should always do the required readings before your lecture, having a think which themes or sections you need to listen out for.

Lastly, you should identify what you want to get out of the lecture. For example, list out some potential questions you might have regarding the topic, and whether you want to gather any further background knowledge.


Physical Vs Digital Notes

With the digital world booming more than ever and technology constantly developing, note-taking methods and study methods are constantly evolving. Both physical notes and digital notes have their pros and cons and it’s important to discover what works best for you, as we’re all different and what might work well for one classmate, might not work for another classmate.

No matter how great technology can be, some people will always prefer handwritten notes over digital notes. The act of pen on paper can increase proactive learning and physically writing something down can quite often mean that the information gets absorbed easier and gets retained for longer. Writing your notes by hand forces you to slow down and focus on what is important.

However, digital notes via a laptop or ipad can have its benefits over physical notes. Digital notes can be quicker, therefore more information from the lecture can be written down, and they can also be neater and easier to read later on. Digital notes almost cuts out the editing process as well, as most often you’ll need to write up your handwritten notes to make sense of what you wrote down. This will still need to happen for your digital notes but most likely much less.

Do you prefer physical notes or digital notes?


The Outlining Method (Effective Note Taking)

The Outlining Method of note taking is perhaps the most common form of note taking used by university and college students. This method is most useful when information needs organising from a main idea into lots of different details and points.

The Outlining Method can be a well-organised system when done right, as it reduces the editing process and is easy to review later on when you’re reading through your notes. Think of this method almost like a list of information, almost like The Sentence Method but in a more structured format.

To carry out The Outlining Method of taking notes, you’re going to be listing key points and then organising further points/details in an organised pattern based on space indentation. The information which is most general begins at the left with each more specific group of facts indented with spaces to the right. The relationship between the different parts is carried out through the indentation.


The Cornell Method (Effective Note Taking)

Invented in the 1950s by Walker Pauk, The Cornell Method mixes both visual and written aspects to form a well-organised note system. The idea of The Cornell Method is to divide your piece of paper into three sections, the ‘Cue Column,’ the ‘Note-Taking Column’ and the ‘Summary.’

To prep your notes for The Cornell Method, take your paper and draw a vertical line down the left-hand side of the paper to form the ‘Cue Column’. This section will be used for your key points and key questions, where words and phrases can act very useful. Vertically adjacent to the ‘Cue Column’ is the ‘Note-Taking Column’ which acts as the largest section for your general notes, best written in a sentence format.

Then draw a horizontal line all the way across the paper at the bottom to from the ‘Summary’ area. This pretty much speaks for itself but it’s a good section to refer to for reviewing your notes in a week’s, two week’s or a month’s time.

This method may sound quite complicated but once you’ve got the hang of it, it can be a great tool for organising your notes into different sections and areas to re-visit when doing your revision.


The Mapping Method (Effective Note Taking)

The Mapping Method of note taking is particularly effective for visual learners, as you can record all your notes in a handwritten way but in a visual format – it’s a popular method for many students and a go-to option for revision.

The advantages of using The Mapping Method are that this format presents the information at a glance, providing a great overview of a specific topic in a fun and visual way. Mind maps encourage you to take fewer yet more meaningful notes and are designed to trigger the brain with mental references such as images, icons and colours.

When creating your mind map notes, you really can be creative as you like. The aim is to start off with a central bubble (which will resemble a topic as a whole) and then have sub-bubbles which lead off from the central point but all relate in some way or another. You can also have as many central bubbles as you like.

With your mind map, you could start off with a physical version in class and then you might want to expand and develop your mind map electronically where you don’t have the limitations of paper size.


The Charting Method (Effective Note Taking)

The Charting Method of note taking is quite self explanatory and comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Particularly effective for visual and organised learners, The Charting Method is systematic, presents the most relevant information and is easy to review at a later date.

Not one for the faint-hearted when it comes to organisation, this note method requires you to set up your paper into columns with appropriate labels.

After dividing the paper up, write down your notes in the relevant column. This method is most useful for content-heavy lectures where there’s simply too much information to write down, and therefore brief but organised notes will be the most effective.

Although incredibly useful, the disadvantages to The Charting Method is that it can be tricky to set up and you need to know the content which is being covered beforehand, so that you know how many columns you’ll need.


The Sentence Method (Effective Note Taking)

The Sentence Method of note taking is simply writing notes in a sentence structure and then filling in the gaps later on. The benefits to this note taking method is that it’s more organised than writing in paragraphs, and it gets more or all of the information spoken out to you in the lecture.

This particular method is useful when the lecture is quite content-heavy and information comes at you quickly.

To carry out The Sentence Method of taking notes, write every new thought, fact or topic on a separate line, numbering each line as you progress. This means you can hear the different points and then review your notes immediately after your class to organise them and fill in the gaps.

It’s recommended to take the time to edit the notes and organise them into headings, sub-headings and main ideas.


Tips For During & After Your Class

Now that you’re aware of the different methods for effective note-taking, there are also a couple of key pointers to remember for both during your class and when your class has finished.

Once you've had your class or lecture, you should try to do the following to improve your studying:

  • Write up your notes straight away, whilst they're fresh in your memory.
  • Store your notes correctly so you can refer back to them if you need to.
  • Ask your lecturer for a copy of the powerpoint presentation (if there was one).
  • Carry out any additional reading on the topic.

Depending on what kind of learner you are will depend on which method of note taking is most effective for your personality. During your study, classes and lectures are an essential learning tool for making the most out of your education and gaining results. Therefore it’s important to learn how to take killer notes in class effectively to retain and retrieve information much more easily.

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What Does Your Handwriting Say About Your Personality?

Ever wondered what your handwriting says about your personality? Maybe you didn’t realise that it was a thing, well it really is. Just like a fingerprint, your handwriting is unique and no two people can have the same. This is why graphology, the study of handwriting, is such an interesting and popular topic for research and discussion.

The study of handwriting is now an accepted and increasingly used technique for assessment of people in organisations, from recruitment and management selection to security checking and historical profiling, and can also determine the psychological traits behind that particular piece of writing.

Although most people still often choose handwritten processes over computer-typed processes, it’s no wonder that Universities and businesses alike prefer computer-typed writing when it comes to professional documents such as CV’s, portfolios, personal documentation, contracts and dissertations for example, as not everyone’s handwriting is clear and readable.

Whether you have the neatest handwriting, scruffiest handwriting or perhaps somewhere in between, take a look at our infographic below and see just what your handwriting reveals about your own personality. Letter sizing, spacing, dots, crosses and curves all come into play...

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Intrigued in what your handwriting says about your personality? Whether you have the neatest handwriting, scruffiest handwriting or something in between, check out our infographic and see what your handwriting reveals…

five paragraph essay

The Five Paragraph Essay: A Useful Tool for Your Essay-Writing Repertoire

The unfortunate truth is that teachers, professors, examiners (or whoever else is marking your essay) all have their own ideas as to what makes a good essay; and their opinion will likely differ from the next marker. However, there are a few things every student can do to almost guarantee a top grade – or at the very least ensure they don’t get marked down for things they could have easily implemented or amended. One of the key ingredients that makes up a great essay is a great structure and that’s where the ‘the five paragraph essay’ comes in.

The Benefits of the Five Paragraph Essay

Though absolutely not suitable for a university dissertation, the five paragraph essay has many merits.  It’s certainly suitable for high school level work, being simple yet effective. As a student begins to develop her or his composition skills it’s important to have a system in place for them to work from, a sort of blueprint for formatting a winning essay.

The method might also prove useful when it comes to taking exams at any academic level. Having the five paragraph method to fall back on in such a high-pressured situation might just be the key to great success and, wait for it, outstanding grades!  Examiners certainly place as much emphasis on the structure and stylistic points of a student’s essay as they do on the arguments the student is presenting. If they didn’t, you’d just be able to write a long bland list of bullet points to get an A grade.

So, even if your ideas and arguments are a pile of codswallop, you will indeed get brownie points from the examiner for the super structuring of your essay. Though this is true, it’s unlikely that your arguments will be rubbish. By using this method your line of argument will likely be much stronger. In essence, you will be giving a clear response to the question at hand. And a good structure will make sure that you provide a transparent line of argumentation backed up by examples and sources. In most instances you can argue whatever you want to argue, as long as you use evidence to support your thesis.

Five Paragraph Essay

How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay

Remember when you started writing stories when you were a little kid? You were told that all you need is a beginning, a middle and an end. This is also true of the five paragraph essay. It comprises an arresting and informative introductory paragraph, three detailed supporting paragraphs with examples and evidence, and finally, a strong conclusion to convince the reader of your argument. Here’s the layout of the five paragraph essay in a little more detail:

Five Paragraph Essay

Here’s some sound advice on how to complete each segment of the five paragraph essay:

1. Introduction

  • Outline your thesis – The introductory paragraph should set the tone for the rest of your essay and summarise your main argument.
  • Use the active voice – This will make your words much more powerful. Avoid using ‘I’ as in ‘I believe’ etc. at all costs.
  • Grab the reader’s attention – Make the reader want to carry on reading. You can do this by starting with a controversial statement or proposal.
  • Summarise the body of your essay – Briefly mention what each of your three main body paragraphs will cover i.e. the subtopics, themes or theories.
  • Introduce your evidence – This might mean mentioning some key statistics or the books you will be discussing for example.

2. Body

  • Use one theme per paragraph – Each paragraph should discuss one idea only in order to cover the idea in depth.
  • Make it flow – Don’t think of each paragraph as a separate entity, make sure one paragraph flows into the next with strong transitions to make the essay easier to read.
  • Use a topic sentence – A clear topic sentence is a great way to introduce the theme of each paragraph. This can also be a way of making a transition from one paragraph to the next.
  • Use specific examples/evidence – The idea here isn’t to simply show the breadth of your knowledge; it’s to use specific pieces of supporting evidence that support your arguments.
  • Vary your sentences – Don’t be boring. Try not to start sentences in the same way, for example repeating connectors such as ‘also’ and ‘furthermore’.

3. Conclusion

  • Be original – Your argument should be fully formed by now, which means re-emphasising your main thesis from the introduction. Don’t simply repeat it however; be unique in your description.
  • Summarise your argument – Make sure the reader has no doubt in their mind as to the point you’re trying to make.
  • Write with confidence – In essence your conclusion should be like an ‘I told you so’ to the reader.
  • Add a final statement – A strong final statement lets the reader know that your discussion on the topic has come to an end.

4. General Points

  • Plan your essay – Know the direction you’ll be going in before you start and make a mind map of all of your ideas.
  • Check your essay – Leave yourself time to go over your essay, checking for spelling and grammatical mistakes because there’s nothing worse than this kind of sloppiness.
  • Be concise – Don’t waffle! In many instances examiners prefer the student to make their ideas clear in as few words as possible – now that’s a skill to have.
  • Be consistent – Give enough weight to each of your arguments/themes/ideas.
  • Consider the order of your paragraphs carefully – In order to make your argument you might want to split paragraphs into pros and cons for example.

It’s clear therefore that the five paragraph essay provides beginners with the means to create strong essays. And there is an opportunity for this formatting tool to be expanded upon for longer essays that require greater detail too. Instead of writing three paragraphs, you could choose three themes and write three paragraphs for each theme. 

Five Paragraph Essay

Sources: Infoplease, Commnet, Studygs, Bookrags, Freepik