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How to Write an Effective Essay (Step-by-Step)

Many students often find the task of writing essays overwhelming. It’s is a big project, with many different steps. It's crucial for students to learn early on how to write effective essays that communicate clearly and accomplish specific objectives. In this article, we’ll break this big project into smaller manageable parts. Following this process is the most straightforward way to draft a successful essay, whatever its purpose might be.

1. Topic

The first thing you need to do is to decide what you are going to write about. You may have your specific topic assigned, or you may be given a choice to write about anything! If you are given the topic, the next thing you should think about is the type of paper that you want to produce. Do you want to write a general overview of the subject or a specific analysis? Also, will it be compare-&-contrast, expository, descriptive, narrative or an argumentative essay?

If you were given the option to write about anything, you’ll have a slightly longer to-do-list. However, being able to decide on your own topic can be advantageous, because you can choose a subject that is interesting or relevant to you. After deciding what you want to write about, you’ll need to think about the type of essay you want to write. Will it be a compare-&-contrast, expository, descriptive, narrative or an argumentative essay?

The next step is to do some research on your chosen topic. Think about what it is that interests you about this topic? Write this down.

If you are writing an informative essay, it’s important to choose a subject that you have already studied. If you are writing a persuasive essay, choose a subject that you are passionate about.

2. Organize your ideas

For the sake of writing a successful essay, you have to organize your thoughts. By writing all your ideas down, you’ll be able to see connections and links between ideas more clearly. These ideas that you have written down, will be the foundation for your essay. We recommend you use a diagram to organize your ideas.

Creating a diagram is really easy. First, you write your topic in the middle of your page. Then, draw four to six lines branching off from this main topic and write down your main ideas. Draw additional lines off these main ideas and include other thoughts you have on these ideas.

3. Thesis Statement

A thesis statement offers a brief summary of the main point or claim of your essay. Look at your diagram. What are the main ideas? Now that you have chosen a topic and organized your ideas into relevant categories, you can create a thesis statement.

Your statement will have two parts. The first part of your statement needs to state the topic, and the second part needs to state the claim of your essay. For example, if you were writing about Nelson Mandela and his impact on South Africa, an appropriate thesis statement would be, “Nelson Mandela has impacted the future of South Africa through his presidential term as the South African President.”

4. Body

The body paragraphs will explain your essay's topic. Each of the main ideas in your diagram will become a paragraph in your essay. The topic you have chosen must now be explained, described, or argued in these body paragraphs. It’s important to remember, the longer your essay is, the more body paragraphs there will be.

Each body paragraph will have the same basic structure. You can start by writing a main idea as the introductory sentence followed by your supporting ideas in sentence format. Include comprehensive examples in each body paragraph and if needed, add more information that will help link smaller ideas together.

5. Introduction

After you have developed your thesis and the body of your essay, you need to write an introduction. A decent introduction paragraph is both engaging and informative. The main goals of your introduction are to attract your reader’s attention, give a little background about your topic and set up the purpose of the essay.

In order to grab your reader’s attention, it can be a good idea to use alarming information, a story, a quote, or a short summary of your topic. Remember to make sure that your introduction paragraph ties in with your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should be included as the last sentence of your introduction.

6. Conclusion

Keep in mind that your conclusion should not just be a simple summary of evidence you have provided in your main part of the essay. This is your last word as well as the most important information to your reader. It should be striking and convincing! The purpose of writing a conclusion is to bring closure of your chosen topic, conclude your ideas and provide a final outlook on your topic. It is best to try and fit your conclusion into four or five sentences.

After writing the conclusion, reread your essay, add more information and phrases if necessary, make sure you have used the correct grammar and see if your essay is making sense. You should have a smooth sentence flow

One last thing to remember is that the main idea of your essay should remain the same during the entire essay. This is really important.

Practice makes perfect! How about having your practice essays evaluated by our TOEFL writing expert? Our expert will carefully evaluate your essay and comment on your grammar, writing style, structure, argument and vocabulary. You can expect valuable feedback within 48 hours.

Our evaluation process is simple. All you have to do is make the payment of 14$ on here and email your practice essay to

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