Essay Writing Guide

Writing an essay
Points to remember as you write.

  1. There are three main components to an essay: The introduction – a separate paragraph that states what your essay is about. The Body- several paragraphs each outlining a different main idea. The Conclusion – the final paragraph that sums up the essay and brings it to a close.
  2. The introduction should address the focus of your analysis – you should use such words as: describe, discuss, explain, compare, contrast and analyse. These words will direct the type of information that is required. Note: For NCEA -Describe is a basic level response. Explain is a merit level response when written in conjunction with description. Analyse is an excellence level response when combined with Describe & Explain. You should expect that a Compare and contrast essay will expect a Merit – Excellence level response if you are to do justice to the essay.
  3. The Introduction is the statement of your main point to be argued in your essay as well as an indication of other minor points you consider necessary to support your argument.
  4. The Body is a series of paragraphs that expand on the points you wish to make as part of your argument. Each paragraph should discuss one idea or point, have a topic sentence and include additional sentences offering evidence in support of the topic sentence.
  5. How do you link one paragraph to the next in an essay? The last sentence of a paragraph should lead smoothly and logically into the idea or point being discussed in the next paragraph.
  6. Guidelines for writing a draft: Start by listing the main ideas – write the introduction and conclusion then slot the body paragraphs in between.