How to structure your essay


There are lots of contributing factors to writing a good essay and an essay that could mean the difference between a 2:1 mark and a 1st. You must have a good plan – both in terms of how, when and what you are going to write but also the structure of your essay.

The same can be said for all writing – you need to have a good introduction, a good middle and a good end.

So what rules can you apply to help you with this? We have given you some tips to help you but there are other useful sources out there which offer services such as an essay writing service click the link to check out Oxbridge Essays, one of the leading UK providers for model essays (though they make a firm point of their content being used for study purposes only!)

Let’s start at the beginning

The introduction sets the scene, this is your chance to get the readers interest so make sure it does exactly that. Ensure that you explain how you have interpreted the set question and identify the issues that you will be exploring. It will also help you to outline how you will deal with each issue and in what order. This will show the reader that you have thought about how you are going to explore the subject matter.

The middle – the main part of your essay.

In terms of time this is going to be the bulk of your writing. You may want to separate this into a few sittings rather than going for it all at once. Make sure you take regular breaks. It will allow you time to process a few things and may give you inspiration to include something that may not occur if you cram it all in.

The main body of your essay will include the points that you outlined in your introduction but you must not muddle everything up into one long paragraph. Divide each point into paragraphs. Here is an example –


Paragraph 1

This will the cover the first thing that you outlined you would address in your introduction and begin with a sentence introducing the main focus of the paragraph. Then you will develop the topic and include any relevant examples, references, evidence etc

Paragraph 2 and subsequent paragraphs

On each new paragraph it is important to link to the previous one and then introduce the focus of this paragraph.

It sounds silly as most of us have spell checker but check each paragraph as you go for punctuation, and the things that spell checker won’t pick up on such as muddling up words like from and form! Make sure the sentences make sense and that it flows. If you do each paragraph as you go you can then spend less time at the end correcting the whole essay. Quite a mean feat if it’s long.

Now to conclude

Before you start your conclusion it may be good to take a break, reflect on what you have written and sit down again with a fresh head. Even 5 minutes of fresh air will do you good.

This is where you draw everything together. You need to summarise the main points and your conclusions ensuring that you are clear in why these conclusions are significant. Don’t start introducing anything new at this stage. Link your closing sentence to the title, summing up your argument briefly.

Ensure to check everything through again and perhaps come back to it a final time to check before you hand it in.