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How to Write an Academic Essay – Full Essay Wrting Guidance

Written by Bonnie Adair
Posted: February 14, 2023
Last update date: June 20, 2024
15 min read

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.

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.

The Main Types of Essays

An essay is a analytic, short, interpretative document on a chosen topic. The author can express their opinion or point of view on a situation, problem, or phenomenon through the different essay styles

The main feature of the essay is brevity: in the process, you learn to separate the main from the secondary, analyze information, and draw conclusions. Therefore, you should understand the different types of essay writing as early as possible.

Globally, the types of written texts can be divided into two big categories: fiction and non-fiction. In the first case, it is supposed to convey thoughts by creating characters, situations, and stories. In the second case, it is about concisely presenting factual information. However, it is also worth noting that genres are practically not used in their pure form in the modern world. For example, to create a persuasive essay, you should understand the subtleties of structure and writing. But you can meet artistic elements even in a serious text built on facts. Thus, there are different genres of essays, and each of them has certain features.

What Are the Different Types of Essays?

Every text a student prepares has a specific purpose. Depending on the task, the following are selected essay structure types. Below, we will consider the main types most often encountered in educational practice.

Expository Essay

The main task of an expository essay, which commonly uses a 5-paragraph essay structure, is contained in its title: to explain and to tell. The author must disclose the topic in detail without argumentation and criticism. Through a dry presentation of facts, the author gradually explores the topic. Such a work’s advantage is the absence of unambiguous author’s conclusions. Readers, having studied the facts presented, can form an independent opinion. Later on, it stimulates the development of in-depth, comprehensive discussions, which allows for opening a new perspective on the topic.

In medicine, this type of essay tells about discoveries. Statistics and research are not enough for conclusions, but a fact is. Science, in general, gravitates more toward this type of information presentation. A new cure for cancer has been found: then such essays develop into scientific articles, which provide a basis for reflection and action.

Descriptive Essay

The next type of essay writing involves a narrative format. Here, the author should maximize the use of skills to create visual images. The main feature is to connect sensory and emotional associations in the reader. A simple example is a comparison with advertisements: “gingerbread-cinnamon flavor will envelop your whole house”, “creamy texture that melts in your mouth”. The same techniques are often used in classic literature.

It is the main advantage of this is to enrich and strengthen the story, the author needs to use metaphors. It is often necessary to refer to classics, which makes the author more well-read and enriches their vocabulary. Such texts are often the main category for future literary scholars, philologists, writers, and editors. If you are just starting to learn about styles of writing essays, this one will make the most sense to you because of its obvious distinguishing features.

Narrative Essay

It is one of the types of academic essays favored in first-year courses. Here, the emphasis is on conveying thoughts through emotions and feelings. But there is a difference: a story based on the author’s personal experience lies in the center. It gives you full freedom of creativity and the opportunity to write based on your feelings. Sometimes, you may need to write an admission essay for college, which is closely related to this type.

Different essay types involve distinct structures. Thus, a narrative essay is built on the storytelling principle: there is a plot, main action, outcome, and afterword. Dialogue plays a special role and becomes part of the story. As experienced writers say, “This conversation is appropriate here only if it moves the narrative forward.”

Argumentative/Persuasive Essay

The different kinds of essays are easy to understand from their names. In this case, fictionality is replaced by arguments, which may cause difficulties for students. To solve them, a special editing service can help you write a quality argumentative essay.

It is about the ability to maneuver between facts and terms and then describe them in understandable language. Often, students miss another important aspect. Indeed, arguments are not just statements. Every idea must be supported, either by its explanation or by reference to a verified source that can be trusted. You work out your opponent’s possible objections through your story.

Compare and Contrast Essay

If you want to write something really deep and interesting, you should study not only stylistic features but also types of essay structures. It will help you unmistakably choose the most appropriate format for a particular assignment.

When writing a basic academic essay, you will have a clear structure. In the case of contrastive and comparative, it may vary. The main point is to compare the characteristics of the objects (characters) of the narrative, often to highlight a particular point or theme. To write this type of essay effectively, you need to choose two comparable subjects. They should belong to the same category (e.g., two books, theories, historical periods).


Paris, often celebrated for its historical charm and romantic ambiance, contrasts sharply with New York’s fast-paced, modern urban environment. While Paris’s architectural landscape is dominated by iconic structures like the Eiffel Tower and quaint cafes, New York boasts towering skyscrapers and a bustling cityscape. This juxtaposition highlights the unique cultural and architectural identities of each city.

Cause-and-Effect Essay

When discussing popular types of essay formats, it’s worth mentioning separately the so-called cause-and-effect compositions. It will take some practice to write such texts successfully. As the name suggests, with this essay type, you will have cause-and-effect events. Writing an essay becomes a completely understandable set of actions. There are facts, ─ there are their results. However, because of such a strict attitude to the material, such an academic paper looks “dry” and boring, like a statement of fact. Thus, students often need help understanding how (and whether it is possible) to add their author’s note.

To make the text more interesting, writers recommend adding elements of intrigue. By abandoning the linear narrative (event-action-conclusion), you will make the story more interesting for the reader. Your cause-and-effect essay will become rich and engaging if you keep the suspense until the finale. For example, you can describe different events at first, and only towards the end should you explain their interconnection and the cause of their occurrence.

Critical Analysis Essay

Critical analysis is one of the essay writing styles that’s extremely difficult.  As we mentioned above, genres often exist in a mixed format. This format assumes the author will put aside artistic imagery and personal (subjective) opinions. Critical analysis implies the ability to approach the issue as objectively as possible.

The facts come to the fore here. The author needs to choose the main and key thoughts in the context of the given topic. Criticism leaves room for reflection and creativity. However, the author should create the illusion of “looking from the outside.” Future law students, especially, often use this technique. Remember the lawyer at the meeting: they voice the facts but cast doubt on them. If there is no evidence, the fact loses its significance. Maneuvering between arguments, the lawyer achieves the main thing: acceptance of their position. Surely, you can use different formats for essays. However, this particular one will be an opportunity to tell a story, share an opinion, and call for discussion simultaneously.

What Else: Another Types of Essays

It’s hard to cover all types of essays at once, but we’ve covered the ones you’ll encounter most often. If you understand the features of the main ones and master the writing skills, it will be easy for you to create a text in any genre. Below are also a few more types of academic essays you may face:

  • Informal. Assumes a free statement of the author’s thoughts without being bound to a format.
  • Scholarship. The primary role is to motivate a college or university to award a scholarship to you.
  • Personalized. It may be challenging for beginners: the narrative is in the first person, and you need to interest the reader from the first lines.

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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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