How to Write an Academic Essay - Full Guidance

Writing an academic essay is a common task that college students face in their studies. An academic essay is a type of writing that presents a clear and well-supported argument. It requires critical thinking, research, and analysis, plus writing skills. Writing academic essays follows a standard structure that includes an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

In this article, you will learn how to write an academic essay step by step during your academic career. 

You will learn how to:

  • Draft a suitable topic and narrow it down to a research question.
  • Conduct a literature review and find credible sources.
  • Develop an excellent thesis statement and outline your main points.
  • Write clear and coherent paragraphs with transitions.
  • Cite your sources using the appropriate referencing style for your text.
  • Revise and edit your essay for clarity and accuracy.

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Writing essays

What is An Academic Essay Writing?

Academic essay writing is a formal way of expressing ideas and arguments. These arguments are used by scholars and educators in publications. It is complex, accurate, impartial, and clear. It supports claims with evidence from reliable TV sources. Likewise, it also uses a third-person perspective to show the writer’s competence and authority. It also uses cautious language and logic to reach a balanced position.

  • Formal Tone: Academic essay write-ups maintain a formal tone throughout. They use precise language and avoid colloquial expressions or personal anecdotes.
  • Clear Structure: The final draft will follow a clear and organized structure after careful steps to plan your essay. This will include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Each section serves a specific purpose. Thereby contributing to the overall readability of the essay.
  • Evidence-Based Arguments: Excellent academic essays are built on evidence and scholarly sources. They require critical analysis and logical reasoning. The integration of supporting evidence to substantiate claims is needed.
  • Objective Approach: Academic writing maintains an objective stance in the writing process. It relies on rationality and impartiality rather than opinions or emotions. This ensures the work presents arguments and counterarguments. It must also be a valid explanation based on the available evidence.
  • Citations and Referencing: Proper citation and referencing are crucial in academic writing. It also helps to acknowledge the primary and secondary sources of information text used chronologically. Thereby allowing readers to locate and verify the evidence presented, plus prevent plagiarism.

And that's it, and you've got the basic steps of writing an academic essay. Note that you should revise your essay once you're done with this writing. Doing so will allow for avoiding typos, misunderstandings, or grammatical errors, so proofreading is necessary.

Types of Academic Essays

When discussing academic writing, we can point out that many types of college essays are related to various subjects. That's because each has its purpose and educational goal to achieve. Most students face four standard types with an academic writing assignment.

These include narrative, expository, persuasive, and argumentative academic essays.

Narrative Essay

These types of papers can be described with one word — story. Essentially, a writer must disclose a story, most often related to humanities studies like literature. The writing is done in the first person. These longer essays' goal is to entertain a reader through a story.

Expository Essay

They are meant to explain a concept about a case or provide a piece of evidence to support a claim/opinion. These expository essay papers require a writer to use someone else knowledge or thoughts about a specific matter. 

Descriptive Essay

This kind of essay is a genre of essay writing that aims to vividly describe a person, place, object, or event. It employs sensory details, figurative language, and vivid imagery to show a clear idea in the reader's mind. The purpose of a descriptive essay is to evoke emotions and represent a sensory experience for the reader. By using detailed observations and carefully chosen words, the writer engages the reader's senses. This enables them to immerse themselves in the described subject. 

Argumentative Essay

They are written to provide an argument over an opinion. They are often seen in humanities studies and social sciences. Argumentative essays and academic papers require writers to express their thoughts. This is done from a third-person perspective. They also include a thesis statement backed by factual data from relevant sources that serve as evidence.

There are other types of essays like process, definition, and persuasive texts. These four, though, are what you'll see in most educational institutions.

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How to Write an Academic Essay

These academic papers assess students' ability to think and research. It evaluates their writing skills on critical pieces on a particular topic. They are given as final assignments in college-level courses. These contribute a significant part to your final grade.

Many students wonder things like “How to write my essay” because writing one is tricky. However, that doesn't mean they can't. You must first understand the given assignment. This will ensure you can produce such academic writing and make it perfect. That means you have to dwell on its title/topic and comprehend its meaning. Like that, you'll be able to get factual background information.

Once you do that, you can organize all your thoughts in order. Note that if you structure your ideas well, you can progress easily. Follow a set order and create a flow in your paper. Lastly, you will have to revise the text, ensure it's clear and concise, and follow the topic. Also, ensure there are no errors and have a good transition between all paragraphs.

These essays assess students' ability to think, research, and write critical pieces on a particular topic. They are typically given as final assignments in college-level courses as a significant part of your final grade.

Understand Your Assignment and Plan Ahead

The first step is understanding a topic's meaning before you start writing. For an academic essay, that's even more important because that will determine what type of write-up you are to write. That will dictate all requirements and ensure you don’t confuse yourself.

After you have understood the topic, you'll have to start gathering facts about it. The information can be from many reputable sources!

Start the Research as Early as Possible

Starting the research process as early as possible is crucial. It helps in successful academic endeavors. Early research allows ample time for gathering information. It also aids in developing a well-rounded understanding of the essay topic before the publication date.

As a writer who offers custom essays for sale, the early beginning allows you to explore various sources. This will ensure comprehensive subject matter coverage. Moreover, it allows for deeper engagement with the draft material for the identification of knowledge gaps.

By initiating the research process early, one can reduce time constraints by enhancing their work's overall quality and depth.

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Write Comprehensive Outline

Once you finish your research, next is the planning. Among the key steps to planning an academic essay is to section the outline first.

An basic essay outline serves as a roadmap, guiding the writer through the organization and structure of their work. It outlines the main ideas, supporting points, and the logical flow of the essay.

A well-structured academic essay follows a typical introduction, body, and conclusion outline, with each contributing to the overall coherence of the work.

Academic Essay Introduction

An introductory paragraph is one of the most important parts of every academic writing. That is because these are the first words every reader will see after your title. From there, they will get impressions of your whole paper. Therefore, if you know how to write a title in an essay, you should be able to pen down an intro.

A first sentence should know how to hook the audience and capture the reader’s attention. It can be an introductory paragraph with a funny joke, statistic, concise, strong statement, quote, or fact. One thing is that all must relate to your topic sentence and statement.

Your introduction's second sentence should provide background information. One that can further guide your readers into the case you are writing about. The third will be where you introduce your statement, and this should be followed by a brief overview of what the people will see in your whole paper.

GOOD: Let us assume an essay discussing the impact of climate change on biodiversity. The following can be seen as a good introductory paper could be as follows:

"Climate change poses a growing threat to the delicate balance of ecosystems. The rich diversity of life on our planet isn't even left out. As global temperatures continue to rise at an alarming rate, the consequences for biodiversity are becoming increasingly evident. This essay aims to explore the relationship between climate change and biodiversity loss from existing knowledge. It will also investigate the various factors and mechanisms at play. We will be examining scientific research, case studies, and expert opinions. This will shed light on climate change's direct and indirect connections to species extinction. Ecosystem disruption and the overall health of our natural environments will also be considered."

BAD: A possible example of a bad essay introduction while writing an academic essay can be

 “This essay explores the impact of climate change on biodiversity, emphasizing the urgency to address the issue. It highlights the environmental harm caused and stresses the interconnection between climate change and biodiversity loss.”

Thesis Statement

This is the next stage and must be concise, have a precise meaning, and address the main point. It should stay within your main point; it must be debatable and serve as a roadmap to guide all readers.

Writing a strong thesis statement is easy if you focus on your topic sentence and gain a key idea before starting the process. Understanding the essence of your assignment and conducting research based on these will allow you to write a strong thesis. Good research will allow you to identify the primary argument and form your statement. An adequate study will provide enough evidence to support your thoughts throughout the paper.

Another thing you must do is to write it engagingly. This way, the reader will not get bored by it, will be impacted by a lasting impression, and will be willing to explore them. Write your points based on relevance and public opinion; also, use appropriate terms that will be easy to understand.

Something you must learn is to start writing meaningful information in your statement. Avoid cliches, general points, and everything that can ruin the essay flow or imply wrong ideas. Eventually, you can craft a good statement if you conduct proper research and aim toward the major arguments.

Example of a possible good thesis statement:

"The implementation of comprehensive recycling programs at the community level is crucial for reducing waste, conserving resources, and mitigating the environmental impact of consumerism."

This statement is strong because it clearly states the argument and provides a clear roadmap for the essay. It highlights the specific focus on comprehensive recycling programs at the community level and identifies the key benefits: waste reduction, resource conservation, and environmental impact mitigation. The thesis statement sets a specific and achievable goal that captures the reader’s attention. This allows for a more focused and cohesive essay that can effectively explore the topic.

The Text Main Body

After your introduction, follow the sections with the paragraphs that form most of your essay. Note that everything should be structured and follow an order. You must explain it to write about one point and jump to another.

Every first sentence of each section should be like a small intro explaining what you are writing about in a specific paragraph, just like in the descriptive type of an essay. After it, you should present evident information backing it up. If you use any reputable sources, cite them.

Evidence plays a crucial role in validating claims and supporting evidence of the essay. It helps to establish credibility, demonstrate knowledge of the subject matter, and convince the reader of the writer's viewpoint.

When incorporating evidence, it is essential to consider a few key factors. Evidence should be relevant and directly related to the discussed topic or argument. Additionally, evidence should be reliable and sourced from reputable academic sources. These include peer-reviewed journals, books by experts in the field, or reputable research institutions.

When writing evidence, it is essential to provide proper citations and references to acknowledge the primary source of the write-up.

Examples of evidence:

  • Good: We can take the following quoted write-up as an example of evidence used well. "According to a study conducted by Smith et al. (2020) in the Journal of Psychology, regular physical exercise has been found to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety among individuals significantly."

  • Bad: In the same breath, lousy use of evidence would involve relying on personal anecdotes or unsubstantiated claims. For example, "I know someone who exercises regularly, and they always seem happier and less stressed."


Writing an academic essay conclusion is important. The conclusion will form the final overview of your paperwork. No matter the type of educational writing, you must restate your thesis statement. It should also summarize your opinion, its main points, and briefly the whole paper. Your conclusion must provide your audience with an answer and a final sentence that concludes the whole write-up and leaves them with a thought to ponder about.

In writing a conclusion for an academic essay, it is important to avoid certain mistakes that can weaken its effectiveness. Here are common errors to steer clear of in your conclusion:

  • Introducing new information: The conclusion of an essay should summarize existing content rather than introduce new arguments or ideas.
  • Repetition of the introduction: Avoid representing the introduction verbatim; instead, summarize the essay's key points concisely.
  • Clichéd phrases: Avoid generic phrases like "in conclusion" or "in summary" for a strong conclusion.
  • Unsupported statements: Don't include unsupported claims or personal opinions; ensure all statements are backed by evidence from the main body.
  • Abrupt ending: Provide closure by summarizing the main points and reiterating the topic's significance.

Example of a conclusion:

In conclusion, evidence supports the numerous benefits of regular exercise for physical and mental well-being. Studies consistently demonstrate improved cardiovascular health, increased cognitive function, and enhanced mood. Exercise can positively affect mental health while reducing anxiety and depression symptoms. By promoting physical activity, individuals can improve their quality of life and contribute to societal well-being.

Starting Key Points

The starting key point in an academic essay sets the foundation for the entire discussion. The thesis or central claim will highlight and represent the subsequent analysis and arguments. This key point should be concise, clear, and specific, previewing the main ideas to be explored. It acts as a roadmap of careful planning for the reader, outlining the direction of the essay from the start.

Reference List

This is a crucial component that provides detailed information about the sources and academic journals cited within the paper. It is typically located at the end section of the essay and follows a specific citation style, such as an essay in APA format, MLA, or Chicago. The reference list includes full bibliographic details for the source academic journals, allowing readers to locate and verify the information. The proper format ensures that the essay maintains a no-plagiarism stance and acknowledges the contributions of other scholars.

Your Essay Must Flow

It is critical to ensure that your article flows smoothly for good communication and comprehension. A well-structured and logical essay outline allows readers to easily follow your ideas. To establish a fluid flow, organize your thoughts rationally, take notes, and utilize clear subject sentences between paragraphs. Additionally, to get good results while writing an academic essay, keep the tone and style consistent throughout the article. Avoid rapid swings in thought or abrupt changes in direction. Your essay will interest readers and express your views with clarity and coherence. This is done by offering a comprehensive and integrated narrative in logical order.

Pick your Own Words

"Picking your own words" is an essential part of effective writing. It entails using accurate and proper wording to communicate your message. Choosing words with care improves clarity, engages readers, and elicits specific emotions or behaviors. To choose the best terminology for your writing, consider the context, audience, and purpose. The careful selection of your words demonstrates your command of the write-up's subject matter.

Use Academic English

Academic English is essential for effectively presenting your thoughts in a classroom context. Academic English refers to the formal English, precise, and specialized language used in scholarly writing. It is characterized by clarity, objectivity, and a focus on evidence-based arguments.

  • Proper grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure are crucial when using academic English.
  • Avoid colloquial language, slang, or informal expressions.
  • Discipline-specific terminology and vocabulary should be employed to showcase knowledge and understanding.
  • Academic English establishes credibility as a scholar and facilitates clear communication with readers.
  • It allows participation in academic discourse and engagement with other researchers and scholars.
  • Academic English improves the clarity and professionalism of your writing.

Stay Focused

Maintaining focus is crucial for productivity and achieving goals. Here are three tips to help you stay focused:

  • Set clear goals: Define specific, achievable goals for your task. Having a clear target in mind provides direction and helps you stay on track.
  • Manage your environment: Minimize distractions by creating a dedicated workspace free from interruptions. Turn off notifications on your devices and keep non-essential items out of sight.
  • Practice time management: Break your work into manageable chunks and allocate time for each task. Use techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, where you work for a set period and take short breaks.


Proofreading is among the key steps in the essay writing process. It involves carefully reviewing your work section by section for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and clarity errors. By proofreading, you ensure your writing is polished and error-free, enhancing its professionalism. Take your time during the editing process, or consider using proofreading tools or asking someone else for feedback. A thorough proofreading ensures that your message maintains accuracy.

Academic Essay Formatting

When working on academic writing, follow your institution's proper formatting guidelines. We've brought forth the most important information to brief you on the basics. This explains formatting academic institutions' texts correctly.

The Structure is Followed by Proper Formatting

  • Set page numbers in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Maintain one-inch margins on all sides.
  • Use double-spacing and 12-point Times New Roman font.
  • Align the text to the left.
  • Format headers and footers.
  • Include your name, instructions, course names, and the date in the upper left-hand corner.
  • Use a larger font size for the title text.
  • Maintain consistent font formatting (Times New Roman).
  • Follow proper capitalization standards (APA, AMA, AP, and MLA format for an essay).
  • Use parentheses for citations, including the author's name, year, and page number.
  • Revise and ask to edit essay mistakes, check spelling mistakes, and take notes before submission.

Note: These formatting requirements can change based on your educational institution. Always make sure to check them before you start writing!

An Example of An Academic Paper

Taking inspiration from examples is invaluable when writing an academic paper. Our provided example serves as a starting point, but a vast array of examples can be found for any subject. Analyzing well-crafted samples offers guidance on structure, content, and formatting, thus enhancing the quality of your work.

Final Thoughts

In this article, you were able to see everything about academic papers. We've shown you the main types, their specifics, and how to write them, and even given you some valuable tips.

Considering all that, you can easily pen down the best essay. If you still need clarification, contact us, and we will assist you with your assignment. Otherwise, keep your focus, follow our tips, and you will write the best academic essay that will impress your professors.


How do you start an academic essay?

To start an academic essay, begin with an attention-grabbing introductory paragraph that provides background info. This is to help outline the main argument or purpose of your essay. You can use a compelling hook, such as a thought-provoking question or a relevant statistic, to engage the reader.

How do you structure an academic essay?

While writing an academic essay, ensuring you take notes is essential for clarity. It typically consists of three main sections. The introduction sets the stage by presenting the topic and thesis. The body paragraph will provide an explanation and develop the main ideas or arguments. Finally, the conclusion summarizes the key points.

What is in an academic essay?

An academic essay contains several key elements. The introduction provides an overview of the topic. They will contain section arguments and analysis to support the thesis. The conclusion summarizes the main points, restates the thesis, and offers final insights or recommendations.

What are the four types of essays?

The four different types of essays are: narrative essays tell a story or recount an experience; descriptive describes details to evoke specific emotions; expository explains or gives information about a topic, and it provides evidence, examples, and logical reasoning; argumentative aims to persuade readers to adopt a specific viewpoint or take a particular action.

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