How to Write an Essay
The Writing Resource Service provides you with help in getting started on your essay. has compiled this guide based on essays that we have edited. Often essays on excellent topics simply lack focus or fail to answer the essay question. Following basic plan can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your writing.
Think about an essay topic...
Before you write anything be sure to know what you are writing about. Choose a topic which provides you with ample resources and information and which you understand well. Be sure to specify exactly what you want to write on. Often students fail to answer the entire essay question because they get sidetracked at this stage. The essay question provides clues about what you are expected to write on. Make sure your topic is relevant and answers all the main questions.
Here is a sample essay topic:
Describe the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since its inception to the present. How has the IMF impacted the world economy?
Understand the essay topic...
First understand the topic. Draw on notes and research to gain a good understanding of the topic you have been given or have chosen. Although the factual content of an essay topic may seem easy, read the material very carefully to be sure that you are not missing relevant points. It is crucial that you understand the topic material fully. Second, be sure you know what to do with the topic. The sample question presented above asks you to do two processes simultaneously. You must give a factual account of what the IMF has done and also provide an analysis of how those actions have effected the world economy. For the descriptive part you should first gather evidence and facts about what the IMF has accomplished. Only after you have presented the factual data can you effectively evaluate that information. Reserve your personal ideas about what impact the IMF has had until after you have presented the facts. You personal evaluation should come through in your analysis of those facts.
It is often helpful to first generate a page of evidence and facts. This provides you with an overview of the topic and gives you a guide from which to draw inferences and information.