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How to Write an Essay

Essays are sometimes the most daunting assignments in school (and later on in the professional world). To students, the phrase runs, "You either have it or you don't." Writing skills. Some people can take an hour to write a masterpiece, while others slave over a page assignment for weeks.

While they may be terrifying, they are manageable, controllable tasks that anyone can accomplish. There are just a few steps to take and you will find yourself complete with essay in hand and time in the future.

Essays come in many forms: standard Five-Paragraph essay, Compare-Contrast essay, Application essay, Research/Term paper, Essay Exam, and so on. Many teachers and professors will design a specific essay questions for you, that you will then have to answer in their designated fashion.

Regardless of the style, follow the following general steps and you will be able to write an essay of any sort. Writing is not a simple deed. However, as opposed to tests, you will not be forced to memorize data for a single hour. Rather, you can research and formulate your own thoughts, expressing your knowledge in a personal way. This latter example is a major reason many people prefer essays to other forms of factual testing.

  1. Read and comprehend the essay topic/question
  2. Reread the question several times to make sure you truly understand what it is asking. People often write an essay that has nothing to do with the topic. Discuss it with your teacher or other students.

  3. Research the topic
  4. Go to the library, internet, read some books, look over your notes. Hone in on the specific question at hand and read information pertaining to it.

  5. Write an outline
  6. As elementary as it seems sometimes, outlines are the scaffolding for all successful writing. It does not have to be a formal outline, but just sketch out the order of your essay in some method that you understand.

  7. Write a thesis statement
  8. The thesis statement is the foundation of your essay. Write that one sentence that argues the point, the debate, the crux of your essay. It will be the final sentence of your introduction and the starting point for the rest of the writing.

  9. Write the paper
  10. Just write. It does not have to be a masterpiece as you write that first draft. Just get something on paper that you can eventually mold into a final product.

  11. Edit the paper for content
  12. Edit the paper to make sure you are staying on target, following your thesis, and have enough supporting evidence to prove your thesis.

  13. Edit the paper for grammar
  14. Give your essay a quick look solely for grammatical problems (spelling, punctuation, transitions, and so on).

  15. Have someone else read over the essay
  16. Even the most accomplished writers have editors. Sometimes you can become "immune" to your own writing and are unable to see what makes sense and what does not make sense. Let someone else read over it to make sure that your argument is cohesive.

  17. Print the paper
  18. Printers can sometimes distort your paper, no matter how well written. Print it out a day or so in advance in order to take care of any last minute errors.

  19. Turn it in!