Things You Need to Know Before Writing a High School Essay

Last updated on November 27, 2017

Many high school students struggle to write essays. In fact, there are a lot of high school students who do not even realize that there are different types of essays! Essay writing does not have to be a torturous chore! With a strategy in place, many high school students can improve their essay marks by a letter grade or more.

What Type of Essay Are You Writing?

There are argumentative essay, comparative essays, descriptive essays, the list goes on and on. If you’re not sure what type of essay your teacher is expecting, ask! An argumentative essay tries to prove a point, a comparative essay tries to establish what two or more things have in common, and a descriptive essay is, well, descriptive. Usually, you will have to write an argumentative or comparative essay in high school.

What’s a Thesis?

If you don’t understand what a thesis is, you will not get a good mark on your essay. A thesis is a statement that tells the reader of your essay what you are trying to prove. It should come right after your introduction, and should be strongly supported by your evidence. Sometimes, your thesis is right there in the essay question: if the question asks you to prove that character x is a good friend, your thesis will be something along the lines of “character x is a good friend for the following reasons…”

Structure

Having a good structure to your essay saves time and makes it easier to write. You should decide what your thesis will be, and write down points that support it. For instance, if you want to prove that character x is a good friend, you need to jot down points such as: he sacrifices his interests for his friends, he always speaks nicely about them even when they aren’t there, etc. Also, jot down evidence from the class material that you will use to support these arguments. This will save you time later, since you won’t have to search through your books every five minutes looking for textual proof.

Proofread

Write your essay with a day or two to spare, so that you can read it over before handing it in. There will usually be a few typos or grammatical errors, but you may be surprised to find a sentence or two that just don’t make sense! Sometimes, when you are really in the flow of writing, strange things come out. You’re going to want to fix those!

Remember, taking a few minutes to make a plan for your essay saves you a lot of time in the writing phase, and you will get better grades, too! Good luck!

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