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How to write different types of school essays effectively


In grade school, most essays and papers followed a very repetitive formula. However, from their very first composition class, new college students learn that there are a variety of different types of essays with very different conventions, and they may at first struggle to effectively write these different types of papers. Here are some tips to help you write any type of essay effectively.

  • Read the instructions.
  • This sounds so obvious that it should go without saying, but the truth is, many students only skim instructions before they begin, and then find—after doing hours or even days of work—that their essay isn’t suitable because they didn’t fully understand what was required of them. It’s an understandable habit, because in high school and lower grades, instructions regarding essays and writing assignments were very consistent. College, however, changes all of that. Essay requirements, even for similar types of essays, can vary quite a bit depending on the instructor. Always read the instructions very carefully.

  • Read similar types of essays.
  • No matter what the essay type, it’s a good idea to become familiar with it in practice before formulating a thesis and creating a plan of action. Find examples of this type of essay online or in the school library; if you’re not certain of finding one, ask your professor for advice. They’ll be glad you’re actively trying to improve your writing. Read over these examples and identify the thesis statement or main idea. Consider what types of sources the author used. Take into account their tone and the manner in which the essay is organized. Take notes on these things and use them in crafting your own essay.

  • Ensure that your thesis or main idea is consistent with the type of essay.
  • Before you begin writing, make sure you have a polished and serviceable thesis statement or main idea. In fact, it’s a good idea to make a list of different ideas you’d like to use and then ask your instructor or a teaching assistant which one is the best. If you’re still not sure, ask them in what ways your chosen idea could be improved in order to work with the type of essay you’ve been assigned to write.

  • Create an outline.
  • Using the notes you made on the example essays, organize your ideas for your assignment with an outline.



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