Need to write an essay for class, but you just can't figure out the exact format? Sometimes just figuring out how to start is the biggest problem. Simply follow these steps and you'll find that you can apply this to any future essay that you write.


Things you will need:
  • Paper and Pen
  • A computer
Step 1

Begin with a pre-write. This can be done in any way, shape, or form as long as it gets your ideas together.

Create an outline, a circle graph or just brainstorm a list of your ideas on your topic. You should make some kind of an is like a map or directions to "get somewhere". You wouldn't attempt to drive from here to New Hampshire without a map so why would you expect to write an essay without a "map" or outline.

Step 2

Now take those ideas and transfer them over to a rough draft.

In your rough draft you don't need to worry about spelling, grammar, or flow. The point of the rough draft is to get from beginning to end in a sloppy format. Later you will fix it up.

Use the following steps to format your rough draft:

Step 3

To start a paper, you must have an interesting, well written introductory paragraph. The introduction consists of a topic sentence, a hook, and a thesis statement.

Depending on the length of your paper, you may or may not need a topic sentence or hook. However, these work together to introduce the idea of the paper, as well reeling in the reader.

The thesis is a statement of your opinion about a the topic of your paper. This should be an overall umbrella that encompasses everything you will talk about in the following paragraphs. You must have a thesis sentence in your opening paragraph.

Step 4

In a typical essay, you should have five paragraphs (one introduction, three body paragraphs, and one conclusion).

In your body paragraphs, be sure to have a separate idea for all of them. You do not want to repeat yourself in each of the three body paragraphs.

Step 5

Start with a topic sentence in the beginning of each body paragraph.

The topic sentence will let the reader know what the following paragraph will cover. After each topic sentence, follow with supporting details. The meat of the body paragraphs should support what you stated in your topic sentence as well as support your thesis statement.

End the body paragraph with a sentence that will lead into the next paragraph. This will create a nice flow for the reader.

Step 6

In the conclusion, do not write "In conclusion..." because that shows a lack of creativity.
Wrap up by summarizing your main ideas you wrote, as well as the hook, looping the paper back around from the beginning.

The reader should feel compelled to agree with your opinion which you stated in your thesis.

Step 7

When you are finished with your rough draft, you should read through and start editing.

The best way to edit your rough draft is to print it out and use a pen to mark any changes you would like to make. Try reading your paper out loud- this will help you catch mistakes you would normally look over.

What doesn't sound right?

Are the grammar and punctuation correct?

Have a friend, parent, or even your teacher read it as well for a different opinion.

Step 8

Now take those notes you or your peer have made and begin writing your final draft.

The final draft should be easy to read, void of spelling and grammatical errors, and should represent your opinion of your topic to the fullest. Your teacher might also expect a title page with his/her name, class, date and other important bits.



Tips & Warnings

  • It may take several drafts and several peer edits before you get it right.
  • Remember to stay on topic. In your editing, ask yourself "Does this support my thesis statement?" If the answer is "no", then you still have some editing to do. However, if all points in the essay relate, support or expand on your thesis statement AND if you have proof in the form of quotations from the work, then you are FINISHED
Last modified: Monday, 7 May 2012, 10:57 PM