How to Write a Short Essay?

3 March 2018
How to Write a Short Essay?

How Long is a Short Essay?

Students are assigned a great number of different writing tasks throughout their academic studies. Various types of essays are one of the most widespread assignments. They differ greatly in terms of objectives, format, topics, and, of course, length. Essays can be long or short depending on what the demands of the professor are. So what is a short essay and why is it important to learn how to write one? This essay type is similar to ordinary long essays – fundamental principles common to all essay types remain the same. The main difference is in the number of paragraphs and words in the work. Short essay length is limited to five paragraphs and shouldn’t be longer than half a page (approximately 500 or 600 words). Professors are using this task to check whether students are able to provide a narrow, objective, and precise paper having a finite amount of words to express their thoughts.

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As a consequence, students may face a major challenge while writing such a paper. Several problems may arise while preparing a short essay about success, breast cancer, current political state, global warming, etc. First of all, it can be complicated for students to confine their thoughts and ideas within five paragraphs, especially if the topic is broad, controversial, or has many angles that need to be discussed. Moreover, students have to choose the most relevant facts, details, or evidence to prove their points. And sometimes it’s hard to do as all of them seem necessary to mention. If you want to meet the requirements of your professor, don’t get sidetracked from the main idea of your work and avoid any redundant information. To nail this assignment in the best possible way, students have to cut straight to the chase and present relevant information in a logical and laconic manner.

Short Essay Format and its Main Elements

Whether you need to produce a brief essay or an extensive one, the key element to success is a good structure. Spend some time arranging your thoughts and ideas to create a proper outline which will come very handy in future. It will help you to present the material in a coherent and easy to grasp way. Also, you won’t have troubles with choosing necessary arguments to support your reasoning. Structural division of a short essay doesn’t differ much from a classic essay structure which consists of five paragraphs. These paragraphs have to include an introductory part, where you should present basic information about your work, the main part, which is usually divided into three paragraphs, and the conclusions to state your final point. Here are useful guidelines on how to write every part of a short essay in detail.

  • Introductory part

Having a considerable meaning, this paragraph has to inform your readers with all essential information they should know about your paper. As the first impression matters a lot, make sure to begin your paper with an effective opening statement to attract their attention and boost curiosity. Explain what you are going to write about, what the reasons for choosing that particular topic are, the urgency of the issue you explore, and what goals you plan to achieve. But it’s wise to keep in mind that you aren’t writing a long paper – don’t make any part of it too lengthy or bungled with unnecessary details. Your introduction should consist of three or four sentences so keep it brief and informative. The last sentence has to include a thesis statement, the crucial idea of the entire paper, around which you will create your paper. The next three paragraphs should be dedicated to different aspects of your thesis statements.

  • Main body

Consider this part to be the basic core of your analysis. As a rule, it should include three paragraphs with main arguments in a form of bullet points, one argument per paragraph. You should provide your analysis of the chosen topic and reasoning of the selected issue connected with it. Keeping your ideas separate gives you enough space to present relevant supporting material in a clear and coherent manner. Every paragraph should start with a topic sentence which will explain what the paragraph will be about. Place your strongest argument in the first paragraph of the main body. But all of them have to be connected with your thesis statement – that will be a big plus if they are positioned in a way to provide a smooth and logical transition between paragraphs. Next step includes integrating of trustworthy factual information to support the idea expressed in the paragraph. You can use various facts, justifications, assumptions, or even statistics to prove your point. But don’t get overwhelmed and remember the word count and choose your backup details wisely. In case you have some doubts whether to include certain information, it’s best not to mention it at all. Concluding paragraph is written after you have mentioned all the significant points and now it’s time to wrap them up and provide a general summary. What you really need to do is to finalize your thoughts briefly and provide the results of your analysis. As this part doesn’t need just a mere summary of the main issues discussed before. It should include a profound synthesis of the thesis statements, outcomes of the research, and its objectives. Depending on the essay type, you may even include your own attitude towards the matter. You can highlight the significance of the topic, its advantages, and drawbacks, or practical applications of the whole research. The only strict rule while writing this last paragraph is not to include any new information. Make your conclusions up-to-the-point without sweeping generalizations or useless information. And you should do your best to make this paragraph memorable as it’s something that will shape the final opinion of the readers. Your final step towards an impeccable short essay is the proofreading and revision. A lot of revision, to be honest! Those students that neglect this part are spoiling their academic ratings with their own hands. In order to nail your work, you need to make several revisions and check whether everything is written according to the requirements. Small spelling mistakes, inappropriate language, grammar errors, or formatting mistakes can destroy the general impression about the paper. Even if you have dedicated lots of time and efforts to your work, it may seem unserious or sloppy due to such small inconsistencies. Don’t submit your work until you are sure that everything is in order and there are no gaps in meaning as well as technical errors.

What are the Best Short Essay Topics?

When you are assigned to create an essay with a small number of words, the choice of a well-formed and consistent topic means half of your success. As you don’t have space for expressing too many ideas, choose such a topic that concentrates on a specific problem, issue, event, or situation. Whether you are about to write a short essay about leadership or something else, you’d better find one aspect of this topic to narrow your research down. If the issue you intend to explore is too broad or debatable, you won’t have enough space to elaborate it properly. On the contrary, if the researched matter is specific, it’s more than possible to make a thorough analysis and fit the length requirements at the same time. It doesn’t matter what essay type you need to generate – be that a short argumentative essay or a personal one. To earn a positive grade, you need to conduct a decent research and follow all the demands of your professor. For instance, you have chosen to write an interesting work about your favorite computer games. It will take you thousands of pages to fully analyze everything connected with such an extensive topic. This is an example of way too broad topic for a short essay. So what can be done to turn this huge subject into something you can research in a short essay? The answer is to narrow this subject till 500 or 600 words is enough to explore its every aspect. You can select the crucial issues this topic includes and analyze its features. If you are writing about computer games, you don’t need to explore the whole gaming field. For example, you can focus on the impact of violence in computer games on children, how computer games advance learning skills or any other aspect that may interest you. This is already a pretty narrow topic that can fit into five paragraphs without losing any valuable meaning or details. One technique can be used to make an extensive subject more suitable for a short essay format. While choosing what to focus on, you should ask yourself several questions about the topic and choose of the answer of a matter of your research. These questions are who, what, where, when, why, and how. With the help of these simple questions, you can separate your subject, however broad it is, into smaller subtopics and find the most appropriate subject for research.

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