A lot of students mistakenly assume that an essay assignment is only for conveying thoughts and ideas about a subject in the humanities. The reality is that an essay assignment might be given for any subject (e.g., biology or chemistry), and the formula for crafting a great paper is pretty much the same across all disciplines. There are three essential parts to a great paper: an introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion. Here’s a simple format for making a great essay on any subject:
The introduction paragraph serves as a starting point to your written piece that tells the reader exactly what it is you will be discussing. Generally, these elements should be included in this order: an opening sentence or hook to catch the reader’s attention, some background information on your topic that provides some context, and a thesis statement conveying your position on the topic.
There are several strategies for achieving each of these elements. A hook, for instance, can be a quotation or a thought provoking question. The background information can be informative or instructional. The thesis statement should be clear and concise, and leave no question as to what it is you will be trying to prove.
Similar to the introductory paragraph, each body paragraph should follow a basic structure or format. Start with a topic sentence that tells the reader what will be discussed in the paragraph. You should follow the first sentence with one or two sentences that provide evidence or gives an example of that topic taken from researched material. This is then followed by one or two sentences in which you present your ideas of what this all means in support of your thesis statement. Finally, the last sentence should transition into the following paragraph. Follow this format for each of the body paragraphs in your assignment.
The final paragraph is your conclusion. This is where you rap up your paper and provide the reader with a sense of closure. The conclusion should be more than just a summary; it should be a synthesis of the information you have provided throughout the paper. You should restate your thesis statement, discussion topics, and supporting evidence in different words. Don’t assume the reader will automatically understand how the information works together to prove your argument. You should explain it clearly and directly. Finally end the paragraph with a closing statement so the reader knows you’ve reached the end.
After you have written a solid first draft of your paper you should set it aside for a few days – or hours if you are working on a tight deadline – so that you can return to it with a clear mind and fresh perspective. The last steps to composing a great assignment require you to actively revise, edit and proofread.
It’s important that you do each of these steps with a critical eye and at several levels. For example, start at the paper level, then move on to the paragraph level, and finally do the same at the sentence level. You may find this to be tedious at first, but it makes a world of difference in crafting a high-quality paper.
Keep all of the above parts in mind when you write your paper. With enough practice and hard work you should begin to see your grades skyrocket to the top of the class. Pretty soon you’ll find composing great papers will come more easily and you’ll no longer have trouble expressing your ideas in a clear and concise way.