In this guide you will learn with following simple steps how to write an essay based on a question or topic given by your college or university teacher. You can also create it from a theme that you have defined.
Let’s start by briefly defining what an essay is.
What is an essay and what is it for?
An essay is a personal interpretation on a specific topic. It must be written in prose and in a formal and respectful tone. In a brief and clear way.
The word “essay” is derived from the Latin “exagium” and means “Presentation of a case”. And unlike the scientific essay, it does not always demand that your opinions be supported by quotations or sources. Although doing it enriches it.
An essay serves to present an introduction to a deeper topic, based on a critical evaluation of it. Its main goal is to convince the reader – or at least to suggest it – about the author’s ideas on a particular topic.
The essay should be written always thinking of a reader who does not know (but understands) in depth the subject on which it is based.
What to do before starting an academic essay?
We recommend you pay special attention to this first step because it depends on the success of the other steps and above all, achieve a job well done.
Analysis of the question about which you will write the essay:
Test questions are questions that pose a problem or situation.
Its character can be literary, scientific, academic, social, political or artistic, among others. They are usually made up of three fundamental parts (although some may not expressly carry an interrogation):
- An affirmation
- A question: what, how, where, what, why …
- An application: explain, define, give examples, support, express your opinion …
- Normally in the affirmation is the key issue. Pay special attention to this part.
A good strategy is to copy the question on a piece of paper or on your computer and highlight the most relevant words: names, verbs, adjectives:
We share this example taken from the English page Oxford Dictionaries of the post “how to understand the essay question”:
Evaluate the risks of the world war during the Cuban missile crisis.
The verb to evaluate is the request they are making to the author.
World war, crises, risks and Cuban missiles are nouns that stand alone within the phrase. They are the theme.
Extract from the question the subject on which the essay will deal.
Understand what you are being asked to develop from that question.
The Analysis of the topic:
It is very likely that the topic on which you are going to write your essay is a topic that you have previously seen in class or that you have read or studied on your own, which will make the process easier.
But, if it is a topic that you do not know in depth, informing yourself before starting to write is going to be crucial.
Do not worry! You do not have to be an expert or an expert on the subject, but you must focus on what is most important for the question you have been asked.
Remember the previous point. The topic that you are going to analyze is the topic that you extracted from the analysis of the essay question.
Take again the example mentioned:
The crisis of the Cuban missiles is one of the issues that you will have to investigate. And the emphasis you must make is to establish the risks of a third world war due to this situation.
It is about making a thorough analysis of the words that make up the essay question in order to understand it in its entirety.