A Complete Guide on a 5 Paragraph Essay Writing: Outline, Writing Tips, Examples, and Topics

A Complete Guide on a 5 Paragraph Essay Writing: Outline, Writing  Tips, Examples, and Topics

A five paragraph essay is a short academic writing that is most common for standardized tests. Five paragraphs is a length, but the type of essay can be any,  either descriptive essay, cause and effect, rhetorical analysis, etc. If you have never faced such essays or have already written such papers but want to improve your writing skills, this article is what you need. It will show you the peculiarities of the structure, writing process, as well as give tips and outline limitations of 5 paragraph essays.

What is the format for a 5 paragraph essay

The term five-paragraph essay refers to the paper length, meaning an essay should consist of only five paragraphs.  Given their size, they are often included in standardized tests.  Regarding the content and format, it all depends on the instructions given to you. Five paragraph essays are rather short and easy, but also tricky. 

The format of this essay type is 5 paragraphs; in particular, introduction, three main body paragraphs, and concluding paragraph. In terms of formatting style, you should check the instructions or clarify this question with your professor because it’s individual. However, the most common formatting styles are MLA, APA, and Chicago.

Five-paragraph essay outline

Look at the 5 paragraph essay outline sample, to have a general idea of how such essays look like.


  • Hook
  • Introduce the topic
  • Provide general information on the topic
  • Add a strong thesis statement

  2. Main body paragraphs

  • Introduce all the main ideas and arguments in the body paragraphs
  • Discuss only one idea per paragraph
  • Do not repeat the ideas
  • Each idea discussed in the body should be develop or contribute to the thesis statement

3. Conclusion

  • Restate your thesis statement
  • Give an analysis of the main ideas discussed in paper
  • Provide a general conclusion for the paper

How to write a 5 paragraph essay 

A five paragraph essay is not a difficult process. However, it might get a bit more complicated if it is a part of a test, and you are pressed for time. In such a situation, you should have a clear and effective time not to miss a minute. Try the following algorithm.

hands on the table writing a checklist

1. Understand the instructions and the essay type

 As has already been mentioned, five paragraph papers can be any essay type. So, before starting writing, read the instructions attentively to understand which essay type you need to complete and the other requirements. It is important because the content and possible topics of say comparative essay and argumentative paper will be absolutely different.

2. Choose the topic for your essay

If the topic to be discussed is not specified, you will have to create it by yourself. But be careful, as you should choose the subject that is not too broad and which can be covered just in five paragraphs.

3. Formulate the thesis statement for your paper

Start writing your paper by creating a thesis statement. It is quite logical to define the main idea and then to develop it. Make sure that your thesis statement is concise and specific.

4. Draft an outline

Spend a few minutes on outlining the main ideas that you want to present and organizing them in a logical sequence. It will be an outline for your paper. When you have an outline, you have a specific plan and you do not need to worry what to discuss next in your essay.

5. Start with a hook

A good essay starts with a catchy hook sentence that triggers the reader’s attention. You may start with a joke, a question to the reader, a relevant quote, an interesting fact or statistic. Choose the option that is the most pertinent in your case. However, remember the main rules of a hook sentence. It should be catchy, relevant and concise.

 6. Write the introduction, main body, and conclusion

Draft your paper keeping in mind the compulsory structural components of any paper, that is an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and  a concluding paragraph. If you miss any of these parts, the essay will be incomplete

7. Create a pertinent title

When you are done with your paper, create a pertinent title for your paper. It is recommended to title your essay after completing it because you are already aware of what your essay is about and will be able to create a better title. Remember, it should be relevant, eye-catching, and concise

8. Proofread your paper and check for plagiarism

The last step of essay writing is editing your paper. Always leave yourself a few minutes for proofreading your paper. Also, check it to avoid any types of plagiarism.

 Tips and limitations from professional writers

To improve your paper and make it flawless, follow the below tips

  1. Understand the type of essay you need to complete first
  2. Choose the topic that is interesting for you and relevant to the course
  3. Make sure that the topic is not too broad and that you’ll be able to cover it i 5 paragraphs
  4. Create an outline and a thesis statement before writing you paper
  5. Keep to traditional essay structure: introduction, main body, conclusion
  6. Make sure each paragraph is balanced and has a topic sentence, supporting and controlling ideas
  7. Develop your ideas logically and use linking words for smooth transition
  8. Leave yourself few minutes for editing and proofreading the essay

5 paragraph essay template

If you need to visualize it, we have prepared a five paragraph essay sample for you. Check it out.


5 paragraph essay topics

If you need good ideas for your essay or for the inspiration, check the list of ideas we have created.

  1. Are same-sex schools effective today
  2. Traditional vs online education
  3. The results of the global lockdown 2020
  4. The real causes of obesity in the US
  5. Is vegetarianism that healthy?
  6. Main causes of stress among college students
  7. For or against marijuana legalization
  8. Is abortion  a crime
  9. A day in life you would like to change
  10. What is happiness to you
  11. Animal testing should be stopped
  12. The ways deforestation contributes to global warming
  13. How recycling helps to sustain ecology
  14. Social networks should be blocked in educational establishments
  15. Your biggest achievement in life

How many pages should be in a 5 paragraph essay

The length of the paper depends on several factors. These are the word count, font size and style, and spacing. It takes about 275-300 words to complete 1 page using Times New Roman, 12, double spaced. Thus, it would take about 1.5 pages to write 500 words. However, always check and follow the professor’s guidelines. The paper can be both shorter and longer than 500 words.

How to write a 5 paragraph essay in an hour

The time it takes  to write an essay depends on several factors. These are your writing skills, understanding of the topic and motivation. On average, it takes students 25-30 minutes to write 150 words. It means that you should be really good in essay writing. If you are not such a pro yet, leave it to the experienced professional writers. They know all the tricks that will help to complete a great essay fast.