Step 3 - Writing the Essay
Once the outline is filled out, the essay is quite easy to write. Your ideas are organized. It is important to have good transition words between each main paragraph, such as first, second, third, also, furthermore, hence, etc. The five paragraph essay includes an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion.
Another tip is not to start the essay with "my essay will be about" or "I am going to write about." These are boring and not interesting essay beginnings. Think about interesting facts about the topic or famous quotes about the topic to put in the introduction. Make sure to include a thesis statement to inform the reader about the essay's topic. The introduction can be the hardest part to write; however, it is very important that it is strong.
Another part of the essay that many students forget to write is the conclusion. An essay must have one that wraps up the essay. A good way to get the reader to remember your essay is to leave the reader with an interesting thought. Do not give any new information in this section.
It is important to write a rough draft to share with a friend or parent to edit. When editing, ask someone to check that you stayed on topic and used proper writing conventions, such as good spelling, usage, mechanics and grammar.
Last, you want to write a final copy. This should be error free. It can be written in pen or typed. Most teachers like a typed copy; however, neatly written essays in pen are acceptable as well. Teachers generally grade an essay on the following criteria: interesting content, organization and writing conventions.
Writing a good five paragraph essay can take some time. Do not wait until the last minute and make sure to have someone edit it before you turn in the final copy to your teacher.
This post of is a continuation of my first post on the SAT Essay Section. If you’re preparing for the SAT Essay, you may want to first start there.
In my last post I talked a little bit about the Essay and some of the superficial things that matter.Basically what I wrote about yesterday is how to get an average essay – one that’ll pretty much assure you a score of 8.Today I want to talk a little bit about how to get your essay to the 10-12 score range.So what makes a good essay??
First Things First: Your Position
Let’s get some of the obvious out of the way first.The first thing you’re going to have to do is decide your position on the topic.Each topic has an inherent yes-side and a no-side.For example, turn to page 283 of the Official SAT Study Guide (the Big Blue Book).The essay prompt first brings up the debate as to whether or not technology has made our lives better.Then the assignment asks, “Do changes that make our lives easier not necessarily make our lives better?”So, for this prompt, you’re basically going to have to take a positions as to whether changes that make our lives easier (or more specifically advancements and technology) do or do not make our lives easier.
Whatever position you decide to take – the yes side or the no side – doesn’t really matter.It’ll be entirely up to you.This decision will be based mostly on which side your sources/evidence more naturally supports, but we’ll get a little more into this later.
The Most Important Part: The Motive
I know that in high school they teach you that the thesis is the most important part of an essay.However, when you get to college, most good expository writing classes will focus heavily on an essay’s motive.
So what is an essay’s motive?The motive of an essay is too complicated of a topic to cover entirely in this one post, but I can at least show you how to superficially produce a decent motive – since we know the superficial things matter on the SAT.While an essay’s thesis answers the question of “What,” its motive address the question, “why.”It’s what makes your essay significant, and any serious writer should address this question first.
The average high school student will jump into the essay with a thesis, something like “Technology makes our lives easier because…”This will make for a very bland and boring essay.Readers, especially SAT graders, want something interesting to read.They’ll have read thousands of essays that say the same thing before they even read yours. That’s why you need to first engage the reader by addressing why he or she should care in the first place, or why your essay is different.You can only do this by getting by the obvious. This is what the motive is all about.
Show the grader something more than the obvious (or at least pretend to).
You may be wondering, “How can I do this if I don’t know more about the topic than the average high school student?”Ah, this is where the superficial part comes in.Once, you’ve decided the position you’re going to take on the topic, you want to introduce a special word into your essay: ostensible.If you don’t know what ostensible, or ostensibly, means, look it up right now and add it to your vocabulary knowledge base.It’s a good SAT word to know anyway.Put simply, it means outwardly seeming or appearing to be.Applying this one word to your introduction will help for two reasons: first, it’ll show that you have a command of SAT vocabulary and second, it’ll make your essay appear more interesting because you’re offering something more than the obvious, meaning better than the average SAT essay.
So, again, here’s the average student’s introduction to the essay:
“Technology does (or does not) make our lives easier because…”
Notice, there’s no motive.Now here’s how you’ll apply a motive:
“While ostensibly technology makes our lives better, in reality technology only makes our lives more difficult.….
Which introduction appears to be a more interesting read?
Notice that not only does your sentence have a motive, but it also has an added level of structural sophistication with two different clauses and applies some SAT vocabulary.The best part is that it also leads naturally into a solid thesis.Your next sentence could now introduce the examples or sources you’re going to employ in the essay and reiterate your main point: “The climactic ending in the Great Gatsby, the protagonists anguish in the Catcher in the Rye, and the inevitable conclusion of the Bay of Pigs fiasco all attest to the fact that technology that promises to make our lives easier, do not necessarily make our lives better”….or something like that.
This method can be applied to any essay topic. Notice that there’s no flowery prose or unnecessary filler?It cuts straight to the point but does so in a more appealing way.It also guards against writer’s block because it provides a methodical way in which you develop your introduction without wasting time brainstorming.
Now I’ll briefly talk about your body paragraphs and sources…
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