So, you have to write an essay. That sucks. What’s the good news, you ask? Once you know the secret to writing a great one, it’s easy to nab an amazing grade every time around.

The following method is tried and tested, and exactly what your teachers are looking for. What’s even better is it can be used through secondary school, college and even into university.


Step one: Planning

Once you understand exactly what you’re being asked to write about, grab a blank piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side, write ‘main ideas’ and on the other, ‘examples’. Write your paragraph ideas in the first column, before finding examples from the text you’re writing about, or the idea you’re trying to prove or disprove. Depending on how much research you’ve done, this could take a few hours. The more time you spend on it the better.


Step two: Actually write the essay

Right, you’ve put this step off for long enough; now’s the time to actually write your essay. Start with your first paragraph rather than the introduction – after all, how can you introduce something when you don’t fully know what it is?

Luckily, by this point you should have the first sentence for each paragraph in your ‘main ideas’ column, along with all the examples you’re planning on using. Once you’ve written the topic sentence for each paragraph, let the words flow and support your arguments with the examples and references you’ve already found.


Step three: Write the conclusion

The conclusion should be around six to eight lines, and should simply wrap up all the topic sentences in your essay using slightly different wording, with one concluding sentence at the end that drives your main point home once and for all. Try and make the final sentence the strongest so you leave your teacher with a lasting impression.


Step four: Write the introduction

By now, you should have a pretty solid idea of what you’re writing, making the introduction easy. Keep it short and sweet – at around six or seven lines, and map out your essay. Start by rewording the essay question, before launching into a similar structure to the one used in your conclusion. Allow one sentence for each paragraph, along with another for your conclusion.


Step five: Clean everything up

Done? Great! Now you just have to make sure you’ve introduced all your quotes properly, written fleshed-out sentences and used impeccable grammar. Proof, proof and proof your essay some more. If you’ve got enough time, save your work and leave it for around a day before returning to it with fresh eyes.

Read it over so many times you’ve basically committed it to memory? Excellent! Now it’s time to submit the sucker. Well done!