How to Write an Essay

The hardest part of writing any essay can be how to structure it! There is a large step from writing at a level 3 standard to then moving up to level 4, so here is a basic guide that may help you out!


Before starting to write, plan out what needs to be included within the essay (Fastweb, 2017). I start by taking my word count and then dividing it up into sections. I normally assign 10% of my word count to my introduction and then another 10% to my conclusion. I then see how many points need to be included within my main body and work around them for my number of paragraphs. You normally want to writing about 400 words per paragraph. For example for my layout of a 3000 word essay would look like this:


  • Introduction 300 words
  • Paragraph 400 words x6
  • Conclusion 300 words


At the Open University essays can be 10% under and over the word count. Be sure to check with your tutor how much leeway you have for your essays as this can help a lot!

When writing your essay, focus on your main body, then conclusion and finally introduction!


An introduction is a gateway to any essay and must give the reader an idea of what if on the inside. When writing an introduction, ensure you have included everything you are going to be talking about within your essay (Niemtus, 2017). At the end of your introduction, remember to include a thesis statement. This is only one or two sentences that directly address the question you are answering.

Main Body

The main body of an essay is separated into paragraphs. I normally set a word count for each paragraph, taking into consideration, the length of the essay and how many points I need to make. On average you should write about 400 words for each paragraph. This will then give you a good idea of how many paragraphs you should include. The best way to structure a paragraph is to start with the main idea. This is called a topic sentence and will easily show the reader what you will be discussing in that paragraph (UNSW, 2014). Follow this by finding your evidence to prove what you will be saying. This must include a reference! And finally follow this on with points and comments to explain in detail what you are trying to get across.


The conclusion is the last part of your essay and is a final overview. Be sure not to repeat everything that you have included in your essay and to not include anything new at this point (University of Leicester, 2017). It is a vital part of any essay as it gives you a chance to bring all your ideas together and to remind the reader of the strengths you have presented.


Fastweb (2017) Essay Tips: 7 Tips on Writing an Effective Essay [Online] Available at (Accessed:13/05/2018).

Niemtus, Z (2017) How to write better essays: ‘nobody does introductions properly’ [Online] Available at (Accessed:13/05/2018).

University of Leicester (2017) Writing essays [Online] Available at (Accessed:13/05/2018).

UNSW (2014) Writing Your Essay [Online] Available at (Accessed:13/05/2018).

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