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Guide to Essay Structure

Writing a mature academic essay is very different to the normal book reports and personal essays that you might write in high school. It involves a much more coherent and flowing set of ideas that work to form a complete argument. One of the most important aspects of a high grading essay is the perfection of the structure, and this is sometimes something that students can find very difficult to master. If you are one such student who struggles with giving your academic essay a proper structure, then follow the simple tips in this easy guide to set you on the right path.

  • It is incredibly important when writing a high standard essay that you address the three key questions for any convincing and thought out argument, what, how and why. Addressing these questions involves having a detailed knowledge of your subject matter, secondary sources to back up your point, and finally an explanation of why these particular points are vital to the argument that you are constructing. With every opinion that you give in the essay, you should always have both a line from your text and a supporting line of evidence from a valid source to add strength to your discussion. Being able to back up your opinions with academic and scholarly examples can be the different between a C grade and an A grade.
  • One of the best things you can do to structure your essay before you have even started to write it is sit down and draw out a detailed plan that will help to guide you through the writing process. The more detailed a plan you have, the more structured and focused your essay will read on the page. One of the best aspects of having a plan is that it will keep you on track in terms of your argument, and help you to refrain from going off on unnecessary tangents that will do nothing except eat up valuable word count space.
  • Make sure that you write your essay divided in to defined and logical paragraphs. For example, if you are writing something like a character analysis of a certain fictional character, then it makes sense for your paragraphs to be divided by the discussion of each individual trait. It is bad structural form to begin a new point at the end of one paragraph and then continue to address it in the next new paragraph. Keeping your individual points separate from one another makes more of an impact at the conclusion of the essay when it is time to weave them together to showcase the strength of your argument.
  • It is always good structural practise to answer your question briefly in the opening paragraph, for example writing something like "this essay aims to...", and then using the rest of the word count to provide evidence for your initial claim. The reader should not be left confused as to what your motivation is as they read through the essay.