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Writing an essay: this is how you do it!

Writing an essay: It's a piece of cake for some students, the biggest nightmare for others. Yet writing an essay is a skill that schools expect you to master as a student and is a common test method, like in the IELTS, where a part of your exam is to write an essay within a set time limit and word limit. But what exactly is an essay? And how do you choose a topic for your essay? We have several tips for the introduction and structure of your essay and we will show you how to write an argumentative essay. What are you waiting for?

What is an essay?

An essay is a text or article on a(n) (often) self-selected topic about a phenomenon, problem, or development based on your own literature or field research. The objective of an essay is therefore simple: you take the reader into your point of view and try to convince them that this is actually the case. Now that you know what an essay is, it's time to look at the topic of your essay.

Topic of your essay

Starting your essay, as with any other study assignment, is a tricky task. After all, how do you choose a good topic for your essay? We have prepared some tips for you that will make choosing your essay topic a lot easier:

  • Start by looking at the essay writing requirements of your school or specific teacher;
  • Choose a topic that you are interested in, have a strong opinion on, and can be specific about;
  • See if you can present arguments for your chosen essay topic from different perspectives.

Structure of your essay

The structure of your essay is up to you, especially when it comes to argumentation. Then when you are writing your essay, also keep an eye on the requirements of your teacher or course. However, we have listed some essay structure tips for you:

  • Place the title at the top

The title of your essay is at the top of the essay itself. Still, you may not think of it until later. It is therefore not a bad idea to add it last, as long as you do it in the right place!

  • Write a catchy introduction

When writing your essay, make sure you start with a catchy opening sentence. Further on in our article, we explain more about what a good introduction contains and how you can grab attention with it.

  • Present arguments

In your essay, you want to convince the reader of your point of view. This involves both pro and con arguments. It is important here that you always back up your point of view with evidence and conclude with a concluding sentence. When writing your essay, you should also present counterarguments and then refute them with evidence.

  • Write the conclusion of your essay

In the conclusion of your essay, you confirm your position based on your arguments. To make this easier for yourself, you can ask the "And so?" question.

Introduction to your essay

Obviously, you start your essay with an introduction. But how do you write a catchy introduction for your essay? An introduction contains the following elements:  

  • A catchy opening sentence

For the introduction of your essay, always use a catchy opening sentence. This is because a catchy opening sentence immediately grabs the reader's attention and ensures that they are engaged and captivated. A catchy opening sentence can be a question, quote, proverb, statement, or definition, but in some cases, it can also be your thesis statement.

  • Background information

When writing your essay, make sure you always give information about your topic in the introduction. After all, the reader needs to know exactly what your chosen topic is so they can understand what the rest of your essay is about. Here, you can assume that the reader has the same level of education as you have: so only present information that will be new to the reader.  

  • Your chosen thesis statement

In the introduction of your essay, formulate the thesis statement that you adopt and that you want to convince the reader of, that it is actually true. It is advisable to place the thesis statement after your opening sentence and background information: this will draw the reader into your story and convince them faster.

Argumentation essay

Now that you know how to choose the topic of your essay, how to structure it, and how to write an introduction, it is important to focus on the most important part of your essay: the argumentation.

With the argumentation of your essay, you defend your thesis against possible criticism. By gathering both pro and counterarguments, you convince the reader that the thesis you have adopted is correct. The arguments you show the reader are based on facts stemming from your own research.

When you write an essay, you introduce your argument to the reader through a (short) key sentence. In this sentence, you introduce the argument that the rest of the paragraph is about. An argument about your chosen thesis statement answers the following questions:

  • Why is your proposition correct?
  • What evidence do you have to support it?
  • What is your conclusion?

Then you conclude this with a short summary that answers the question: what is the main point that the reader should take into consideration when considering whether your position is correct? By answering the above questions and concluding with a short summary, you convince the reader of the argumentation in your essay: the reader will then be convinced of your point of view.

With a counterargument, on the contrary, you emphasize refuting the argument: after all, you want the reader to believe your pre-arguments. So consider what counterarguments the reader might have and convince them that this is incorrect. You can formulate your counterargument by answering the following questions:

  • What is a logical counterargument?
  • What is the evidence for this counterargument?
  • Why is this counterargument incorrect?
  • What is the evidence for this?
  • What is your conclusion?

By following all the tips in this article, you can be sure that writing your essay will be a great success.

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