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