THE ESSAY STRUCTURE THAT GETS YOU AN A+
Here’s the essay structure that always gets me an A!
1. Start with a short impactful sentence.
“I was born in the driveway of a country house.”
“The past few decades have seen a growing focus on the study of gender and language.”
“When I was young my dad told me that once he was a tree.
2. The first paragraph in a well structured essay is your introduction. I usually write about my motivation for choosing the topic.
“Over the past year, I’ve become aware of my attachment to Hopeness. Thus, I’ve set out to examine….”
3. The last sentence (or series of connected sentences) is your thesis statement. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE ONE SENTENCE! I will often include a list of three in my thesis statement, which allows me to then have three essay body paragraphs or sections (depending on the length requirements).
“Through a close reading of chapter six, considering the elements of poetic technique, symbolism, and third person narrative, we see that Chopin has foreshadowed the entire plot of The Awakening.”
4. Make sure to have a minimum of three body paragraphs. In a good essay structure, every paragraph transitions to the next one smoothly. For example, if your first paragraph introduced the concept of identity and your thesis talks about exploring facets of self-identity, your first body paragraph can start with “Identity is…” The shift from identity as your topic to exploring self-identity in your thesis to defining identity in your first paragraph offers a smooth transition.
5. If you wrote your thesis with a list, each body paragraph or section can cover one of each of your list items. Consider my example thesis: body section one can be about poetic techniques, body section two can be about symbolism, and body section three can be about third person narrative.
6. Use a personal example to prove a key point. In an essay in which I did an analysis of feminist definitions of power dynamics, I used my position as a woman in a corporate setting to illustrate how ‘men’s language’ is employed in such settings. This example showed that I understood the theory I was describing in a practical and applicable way. (But be careful because if your example is shallow and doesn’t prove your depth of understanding, you could lose marks instead – so only use a personal example if it matches exactly to your argument).
7. Start your conclusion paragraph by summarizing your key points. I find a good way to summarize is to write a sentence about each of your thesis list items.
8. In your concluding paragraph, follow up your summary by restating your thesis. Begin with a word or phrase like “Thus,” “Therefore,” or “As a result.”
9. End with a short, impactful sentence.
“Feminism will only go backwards if feminists do not find common-ground.”
“I’ll continue to dream about Hopeness in the internal landscape of my mind, and feel better.”
“In the end, Edna commits suicide but gains freedom.”
10. Do not forget to add your references section at the end. This is an important part of your essay structure. You’d be surprised at how many people forget. (Pro tip: use Microsoft Word’s “References” section to help you. It’s way easier!).
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*This article was originally published on February 18, 2018 and was updated March 3, 2021.