Posts Tagged ‘writing your thesis’


Key Ideas for a Strong Essay

Developing competent writing skills and learning to effectively express yourself is an important part of your educational career. Writing an essay or preparing for an essay exam may seem like a daunting task. A strong, effective essay shows a clear understanding of a topic and makes a firm, supportive case for your ideas. Knowing how to write a strong essay using basic, key ideas can make the difference between a persuasive, powerful essay and a weak, borderline or even mediocre essay.


Your thesis statement sets forth the key idea or ideas in your essay. The thesis statement should support or refute the main idea – or prompt – set forth in the essay instructions. You should not simply repeat the prompt provided in the instructions. In structuring your thesis statement, use clear, active language that lets the reader immediately know the stance you plan to take in the rest of your essay. You must be able to say whether you agree, disagree or only partly agree with the prompt given in the instructions.


Brainstorming and free associating can help you come up with ideas to support your thesis statement. After writing your thesis statement, take time to organize your thoughts. Jot down any ideas that come to mind regarding possible supporting statements for your thesis. You need to be able to back up your argument in a clear, well-organized manner. Write down whatever ideas come to mind – you don’t need to use them all, but it’s helpful to have a list of ideas to refer to when writing the body of your essay. At this point, you may also wish to come up with an outline to guide you during the rest of your essay, such as including specific ideas for the body paragraphs.

Support Your Thesis

The body of your essay provides support for your thesis statement. Based on the topic, you may choose to have two or more paragraphs. Each paragraph must begin with a topic statement that clearly defines your standpoint and what you will be discussing in that paragraph. In “CliffsAP English Language and Composition,” author Barbara V. Swovelin states that you must be able to provide relevant information to support your thesis and somehow connect your ideas to the thesis statement. Use examples from the prompt if necessary.


Having a strong conclusion ties your ideas together in a coherent manner and can help to confirm your main argument. Your conclusion should restate your main argument. The College Board states that your conclusion should “summarize and make sense of the evidence you presented in the body.” The conclusion acts as the exit point from your essay where you reflect on the information you presented in your introduction.

Search terms:
  • In a compare-and-contrast character analysis a paragraph providing _____ goes between the introductory paragraph and the first body paragraph
  • In a compare-and-contrast character analysis a paragraph providing relevant information about each character goes between the _____ paragraph and the first _____ paragraph
  • Which of these would be an acceptable thesis statement for a compare-and-contrast character analysis essay?
  • A ____________ should summarize the main idea of a body paragraph and support the thesis statement in some way
  • In a compare-and-contrast character analysis a paragraph providing relevant information about each character goes between the introductory paragraph and the first body paragraph This is known as the _____
  • How does the topic sentence in a body paragraph differ from the thesis sentence in the introductory paragraph?
  • It is a good idea to repeat or paraphrase a key word from the essay\s thesis statement in a body paragraph topic sentence
  • _ is the multistep process by which you rethink and improve the ideas and arguments of your essay

Guide to Essay – Writing Skills

As with anything that you can practice, the more you practice the more your essay writing will improve. However, while you are practicing, some specific areas exist on which you should be concentrating to achieve optimum results.

Maintain Clarity in Your Thesis and Arguments

First, have a clear idea of what you want to write about and sum up this topic in a single statement (your thesis). You can have this idea from the very start of the essay writing process, or you can start your research into a topic or brainstorm to help you to get an idea for your essay. The best way to practice writing your thesis clearly is to write and rewrite your thesis statement and arguments until they can be clearly understood by somebody else (a friend, a colleague, etc.) who does not know much about your topic.

Concentrate Your Preparation

After you have created a clear and easily understandable thesis and arguments, you also need to be able to keep your essay writing preparation focused on that thesis and those arguments. If you are writing a research essay, concentrate your research on your thesis and arguments because otherwise you run the risk of being overwhelmed or distracted by all of the information that may be available to you. If you are writing an essay that is supposed to be more personal, then make sure that your outline is written so that you concentrate it around your thesis and arguments. The best way to practice this skill is to review your notes or outline after having taken a break from writing them. Then highlight the points that are the most relevant to your topic.

Think Laterally

Think laterally. This kind of thinking means that instead of approaching your topic directly you approach it from a related topic or point of view. For example, if you are writing about Shakespeare’s writing, then you could start your essay with a section on Chaucer’s influence on Shakespeare’s writing. Thinking laterally will help you to write things that your reader will not expect, and this will help to keep your reader interested in what you have to say.

Write Concisely

Writing concisely requires you to have a careful plan in place before you start writing your essay. Having a strong, clear idea of what you want to write from point to point will help you to avoid writing sentences and sections that are not relevant to your topic. A good way to practice this skill is to plan and to subplan (that is, plan your sections, and then plan out how you will write the points that you have made for each section).

Closely Scrutinize Your Own Writing

To practice closely editing your own writing, take your time while editing your papers to build a working understanding of grammar and style and read the work of others, whether this means reading published collections of essays or helping your friends, relatives or others edit their essays.

Search terms:
  • Before you start writing your research essay you must complete the final stage of the research process This is: