The Beginner’s Guide to Writing an Essay

There are a few certainties in this life. Death, taxes, and students writing essays. Essay writing has gotten some much bad rep that students who have written one before have assumed they can’t do it unless they get an essay helper. Admittedly, that bit is true. A beginner does need help if they are going to write articulate essays.

For those who dread essays, we understand the sentiment. Writing essays isn’t easy. It requires work, but it isn’t pure brute effort. Refinement must be put into that work, or the results would be less than optimal. More students have fallen into the trap of putting in efforts without guidance.

They end up getting frustrated and join the bandwagon of cursing at essays. That doesn’t have to be you. That won’t be you. For one, you are here, and here, you will get the beginner’s guide to writing an essay. Now, we aren’t saying essay writing will be fun, work isn’t fun, but your essay determines, in part, your grades. What we are saying is that your grades will significantly improve. So, shall we?

What is Essay?

As a beginner, there would be some head-scratching moments where you will ask yourself. ‘What is an essay, and what is the point of it?’

An essay is academic writing which requires you to provide detailed information on a given subject. Notwithstanding the type of essay, there is usually a main idea and writings that support that main idea.

There are different kinds of essays:

  • Narrative essay. Here, you narrate an experience or a story that could be your experience. As a narration, you must show and not tell to succeed at writing this essay truly.
  • Descriptive essays. This type asks you to describe something, which could be an event, an object, a person, an emotion, or a place. 
  • Persuasive essay. An essay of this kind requires you to persuade your reader to accept your argument about a specific subject by presenting facts logically to convince the reader.
  • Expository essay. With this essay, you are bringing multiple perspectives to your reader as you would be conducting a detailed analysis of the subject matter.

The Beginner’s Guide to Writing an Essay

Essentially, there are 3 stages to writing an essay. Everything else fits under these stages. These stages are:

  • Preparation. Choose your topic(if you aren’t given any), research, and outline.
  • Writing. Write your introduction and thesis statement, state your argument, provide evidence in the body, and conclude.
  • Revision. Edit and proofread.

Choose your Topic.

Sometimes, your instructor would provide the topic for you, which makes your burden lighter. Otherwise, you have to brainstorm and select a topic for yourself. Choosing a topic for yourself requires you to think about everything. You have to decide the areas you would want to write on and the ideas to write about in those areas. You could mind map by writing a central idea and surrounding it with similar ideas. Then afterward, when you are sure, you’ll choose your topic.


Your research is everything when writing an essay. So, you must conduct detailed research using proper sources such as journals, books, legislations, and authority websites. Failure to cite sources could get you into trouble for plagiarism.


An outline is the design or structure of your essay. It lets you picture your essay right from the introduction to the conclusion. Think of it as the skeleton of your essay.

Write the Introduction.

Your introduction determines if your reader will continue with your essay or not. This is because your introduction contains your hook sentence that draws the reader in. Your hook could be a witty remark, a controversial opinion, an exciting question, or a fact.

The introduction contains the background to your work and provides some foreknowledge the audience needs to understand your essay. It also allows the reader to know why your work is important.

Also, the introduction contains the thesis statement, which is the main idea of your essay. 

Argue in the Body

Your introduction doesn’t need to contain details, but your body has to. It is the argument of the thesis statement in your introduction. Here, the authorities you have relied on in your research come to play.


Your conclusion summarizes your essay and restates your thesis statement and how it relates to your argument. If need be, it also includes recommendations. While you may be running out of steam, you must conclude strongly.

Edit and Proofread

You must eliminate errors in your writing. Your essay is a reflection of your character, and it helps create impressions. When you proofread your work and eliminate errors, it shows that you are diligent.

Final Words

Reading this guide guarantees you would be able to write an essay as a beginner, but the true work lies with you. You have to practice writing essays as much as you can.

Huynh Nguyen

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