Essay Structure – Basic Standards & Rules

Essay Structure – Basic Standards & Rules

Writing a school or college essay means evaluating the skill set and knowledge of each student. It would be more complicated for the teachers to test the knowledge of every student one by one during the lecture time. Thus, all academic assignments were developed in order to check individual:

  • Writing skills
  • Research skills
  • Communication
  • Analytical skills
  • Reading skills

Anyway, there is one criterion that defines a successful essay structure: attending to the target audience’s logic. The essay structure is almost the same regarding paragraphs. There should be:

  1. An introduction
  2. 3-5 body paragraphs
  3. Conclusion
  4. Bibliography

It is a regular formula no matter which writing style you choose. If you are not assigned one by your teacher, then it’s better to stop on MLA style. It requires a minimum of your efforts.

Which Paragraphs Should I Include?

A common academic paper usually includes a lot of pieces of information, but usually, it is dedicated to one particular topic. The essay can be logically divided into the following parts.

The first paragraph, which stands for the introduction, comes along with the strong argument and ends up with a thesis statement. Introduction, as well as the conclusion, has its fixed location in the essay: while the first one always goes in the beginning, the second one appears in the end just any summary.

On the whole, be ready to:

  • Introduce arguments
  • Analyze different data
  • Develop counterarguments (or simply find them)
  • Concluding/summarizing

Often, some sections are established out of the paragraph. E.g., a counterargument may be presented as a free-standing section. It may be recalled in the beginning or closer to the ending paragraph of your essay. Such a statement may also enclose some paragraph.

Not to get lost when writing your essay, it is better to come up with a clear outline or table of contents. There you should include the main idea of each paragraph or simply its title. By having a plan like that, the student will never get lost in the academic bushes.

Please mind that your thesis should be based on some studies or facts. Search for valuable statistics that is no older than five years old. Use such primary sources as:

  • Textbooks
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Journal
  • Newspapers
  • Official reports
  • Videos
  • Audios

As for the secondary sources, such elements may be helpful:

  • Interviews
  • Polls
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Other documents

First of all, it is critical to respond to the question “What?” What is your paper about and why you decided to highlight this specific issue? Examine your evidence and collected sources to find the answer to that essential question. The introduction does not have to take more than one-third of the entire essay. Conclusion paragraph should be the same size. If you have an abstract, do not confuse it with the last paragraph. It’s a bit different.

Sometimes readers are also interested in how the author wrote the essay. Explain it in the body paragraphs. Your paper does not have to look like some kind of instructions, but it should give hints to how you discovered each fact to serve as evidence. You must have at least one “how” section. When we talk about the research paper, this section is titled Methodology: student explains which tools and techniques were used to find the necessary evidence or solutions.


Mapping an essay should be done with accordance to the reader's logic and expectations. Your thesis statements must convince the reader in the importance of studying the existing problem. So, from the beginning of your essay, you have to point to its significance. Close your first paragraph with the sentence that will motivate others to read from cover to cover.

Body paragraphs must include background information. It’s the place to type in the details of the study. Do not go into many details in the first and last paragraph of your essay. Also, avoid wordiness everywhere (even in the body part).

It is often difficult for a student to start the first body paragraph. You may look for various samples of essays online to have several ideas. Anyway, one of the ways to begin the first body paragraph is the line like this: "To be convinced by my claim, the first thing a reader needs to know is . . ." Then interpret your first argument and its meaning for the whole study. Do the second and third body paragraphs the same way. Use in-text citations or indirect quotes to support your arguments, but do not overwhelm your essay with the thoughts of other people. After all, it’s not scientific research.

The final point of the map is to develop an excellent conclusion where you just have t restate the thesis and sum up everything said above. Include only the key sentence from each body paragraph. It’s better to paraphrase each.

Proofread and edit your essay after writing. Scan it for plagiarism with the help of efficient online tools.

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