How to Write a Standard Five Paragraph Essay

     You will be writing essays in high school. When you begin writing, you will be starting out with a standard five paragraph essay. This will help you understand the development of thought processes that leads to a greater depth  of research and new ideas you will articulate and explain  about the topic. You will more than likely be required to write on literature including books and poems, along with other extraneous topics your teacher may choose. You will also be required to write five paragraph essays on standardized tests and you will more than likely have to take an entrance exam in college requiring five paragraph essays. When you are given a prompt, stay calm and focused. As you approach analyzing the topic, make sure to read through it several times underlying key phrases and ideas. Focus the most on the last statement because that will be the main point your thesis will be answering. You can annotate in the margins interrogating the main issues that ask yourself questions about the topic you would like to explore, Once you have decided to focus on one main idea that specifically answers the last statement of the prompt, write a brief outline before starting on your essay. The outline should include the main points you will introduce in the thesis that answers the prompt followed by a thesis statement that contains three main points interrogating the main point you are making. You will begin the statement with “therefore” or “in conclusion.”  You will then state the three main points that will be the basis for the next three paragraphs you will write. Each main point will be explained in every paragraph. The outline should proceed to ask questions and interrogate each main point you will make. These main ideas will build your argument and will lead to the end of the paragraph. Once you have completed an outline, begin writing your introduction. Think of an attention getter that will draw the readers interest into what the topic is you are writing about. You can begin with an interesting question or perceptive statement that will lead into the main ideas in the paragraph. Write one sentence describing each main point and then conclude with the thesis. The introduction should not contain any material that should be used to support your main ideas later in the paper. Make sure to define all of your terms if you are using any terms that need to be explained for the reader to understand your topic. This should be done specifically, if it is a topic most readers would not be acquainted with.

     When you begin the first body paragraph, along with the other two paragraphs you will be writing make sure to introduce the point you are making. Use an interesting lead in that addresses the topic in an open ended way that lead to more detailed thoughts in the rest of the body paragraph explaining the topic. In the other two paragraphs, make sure to transition by connecting the main idea in the last paragraph to the next main point you are making. Make sure to have a sentence introducing at least two to three main ideas that argue the main point you are making in each paragraph. Make sure to make your arguments clearly stated before you use logical appeals to substantiate and explain your ideas. Make sure that you do not get off topic and only discuss the one main idea using sub points to explain your idea. You should have at least three sentences per sub point within the paragraph. Your main points that describe your argument should build to the final conclusion you reach at the end of each paragraph. You will then conclude by linking the main idea that you discussed back to your thesis.

     The conclusion should present an overview of the main ideas discussed. Do not repeat the introduction. Go into more detail that was illustrated in the body paragraphs. Make sure to call to action. Offer an explanation as to why your research is of useful in a larger context such as your field of research or how your research is useful to the world. Then make sure to conclude. If you follow these steps, you will write a well developed essay.

About Julie

Julie is a tutor and featured blogger with Academic Advantage Online Tutoring who enjoys Reading, Writing, Studying the arts, humanities, and sciences.


Preparation for AP Exam Essays

Six years ago, when I was in an AP English Language and Composition class in high school, in-class essays were the bane of my existence. The difficulty stemmed from the intense and frequent AP English Language and Composition practice test essays that we completed in class. There were so many, and we had to complete these practice essays at least once a week! However, as much as I despised doing these weekly practice essays, I completely understood why my teacher imposed these assignments on our class. The assignments were necessary to us to become fluent writers.

Six years later, I recommend to my students that they write as much as possible. I tell my students that it doesn’t matter what he or she is writing about at first. My goal is to have my students become comfortable processing their thoughts through the written word. The practice of writing habitually—in a journal, blog, or a letter to a friend—will furnish the student with the ability to apply thought to the page. When the student becomes   used to string-of-consciousness essay writing, the essay portion of the exam would not seem as frightening or insurmountable.

I also advise students to regularly write about the subjects they are studying in school, as writing out the ideas on paper will help them to remember information that could appear on tests. Keeping a journal or detailed notes about what is going on in class will definitely help the student to be able to work out intricate ideas and analysis through writing. Later on, this experience with analysis will also help students to ace their exams.

When a student takes an  AP exam with a writing component, they should prepare before writing. Some teachers and tutors suggest that students follow formulaic pre-planning steps, such as creating bullet points or clustering ideas. Both of these methods involve brainstorming. In the bullet points method, the student can jot down ideas and  keep these ideas in order by putting a bullet point in front of each separate idea. In a similar exercise, a student can create a cluster of related ideas separated by circles. After this brainstorming exercise, the student can then begin the outline for the paper with a thesis and a topic sentence for each paragraph.

Despite the importance of pre-planning, the ability to process thought into words is arguably the most important step to achieve high marks on the AP Exam Essays. Pre-planning can only take the student so far; if a student knows how to turn thought into prose, he or she will most definitely succeed. Writing practice will prepare the student to answer all necessary components of the essay prompt with style and efficiency to well in their preparation for AP Exam Essays.

Blog Post by Rachel S. Stuart a Tutor and Featured Blogger for Academic Advantage Tutoring

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About Rachel

I have always been a proud “nerd.” When I could, I always helped my friends with their homework because I just loved to teach them how to think about the world differently. In particular, history and writing have always been my specialties. When I was a little girl, my aspiration was to one day be a history professor! I hope to begin Master’s classes in the field of education and continue to be fascinated by changing technology in the classroom and different ways of engaging my students’ creativity!
Honors and awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Highest Honors in History Honors Program at Emory, Recipient of the Theodore H. Jack Award, Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha, Dean’s List at Emory.