Before you begin writing a paper, especially an academic paper, it is a good idea to create an outline. An outline will help you gather your research and thoughts and to organize the information in a logical and sequential manner. Outlines are also useful in revealing whether you have enough information to back up your topic or points in the paper. They allow you to see how everything fits together.
- State the main idea for your paper. This will help you organize it and give it a title.
- Write down the main categories or subtopics under your main idea. For example, a paper on the benefits of sports for children might include types of sports available, effects on character, and research on the health benefits of sports participation. Highlight the key points in your introduction.
- Notate the introduction and the key points in your outline. Notate the introduction with the Roman numeral number I. Identify each point with a capital letter beginning with A, and each subcategory with a number, beginning with 1.
- Explain the first point that you would like to cover. For the example above, list the types of sports that children can become involved in. Describe whether the activity is a team sport such as baseball or an individual sport such as gymnastics. Include information that you would like to research.
- List the remaining points in a similar manner to complete your outline. The last section should be the conclusion and include a summary of your key points.
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An illustration essay is a piece of writing that illustrates a point, object or situation in such a detailed manner that the reader can see what the writer is talking about just through his writing. A lot of times, an illustration essay tries to prove that something exists by painting a picture through words for the audience. An illustration essay goes beyond describing something. If the essay is composed correctly, the audience will understand the writer’s subject in as much detail as the writer himself.
In the school setting, the teacher often chooses a topic for an illustration essay for students. However, if it is not already given to you, choose a topic that you are passionate and know a lot about. For example, if you decided to write an essay about how dog breed discrimination occurs in your town, make sure that you know enough about this topic to prove your point.
Don’t just tell your reader about your subject. Sticking with the dog breed discrimination example, don’t just describe what it is. Instead give detailed examples of situations that you feel illustrate the discrimination. Perhaps landlords don’t allow certain breeds of dogs on their properties. Give the audience lots of detail so that there is no doubt in their mind that a certain situation or thing exists. The more examples you can write in your essay, the easier it will be to illustrate that something exists.
Vary Example Types
Not every reader will respond to the same examples. By including different types of examples in your essay, you can better illustrate your topic to more people. Give examples from your own experiences with the topic as well as examples that anyone may come across. These may overlap or your experience with a certain topic may vary substantially from the normal experience with a topic.
Analyzing a situation should be left for an analysis essay, which seeks to prove why something exists rather than just proving that it does exist. Illustration essays should stick to illustrating your point. In longer, more complex writing assignments — like ones assigned in college — students might have the chance to combine these two types of essays. However, in lower grade levels, combining these essay types may result in a lower grade for not fulfilling the assignment properly.
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AP classes are college-level courses offered at high schools across the United States. These classes are recognized by more than 90 percent of colleges and universities. In order to receive credit for a class though, students must take an AP exam at the end of the course, which includes an essay for social science, history and English courses.
Students need to show that they have a deep and broad understanding of the subject they are writing about. As a result, students should start studying for the AP exam several weeks in advance so that they can review all of the material that was previously covered in class. The people who review AP essays are looking to see that students can provide specific facts and evidence to support their arguments, and not just general ideas.
Writing a strong essay requires more than just knowing the right facts. AP essays are timed, and students should accustom themselves to writing under these strict constraints. The amount of time for each essay depends on the test, but students should prepare to write most essays in 30 to 45 minutes. Writing practice essays also helps prepare students for the types of questions that they may be asked. The College Board, which runs the AP exams, offers sample essay questions through its website.
Carefully Read the Question
In an effort to begin writing as quickly as possible, students often fail to read the essay question carefully. In order to receive full credit, students need to make sure that they answer all parts of the question completely. Taking the time to reread the question and think about what the test is asking can help students write better essays.
Even though the test is timed, taking a few minutes to write and craft a plan for the essay is time well spent. Students who plan out their essay can help ensure that their writing is clear, organized and detailed enough to answer all parts of the question. This is also a good time to think about the evidence needed to support the essay’s thesis or argument.
Students should begin with an introductory paragraph that clearly states their thesis for the essay. Following paragraphs should make their points clearly and early on in the paragraph to avoid confusing the reader. Each paragraph should directly support the thesis and provide specific evidence instead of broad generalizations. Writing a short conclusion helps sum up the essay’s points and re-emphasize the thesis.
Although students have little time to execute their essays, it’s still a good idea to proofread quickly if time permits. Doing so helps catch spelling and grammar errors that may detract from the essay.
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