Essays that do not have a clear structure will lose points in the area of Coherence and Cohesion. They may also receive a lower score because your lack of organisation causes the essay to become confusing or wander off topic. The following structure is most useful for Thesis essays or Report-style essays. For more about what those terms mean, Click Here.
- The first paragraph should clearly state the topic and give your opinion (assuming an opinion is needed.)
- The second paragraph should give a clear reason to support your opinion, plus examples or personal experiences to support your reason.
- The third paragraph should give a new, different reason for why your opinion is correct. Try to avoid repeating points from the second paragraph.
- You many want to have a fourth paragraph with a third distinct reason, but this is not always necessary or possible due to time limitations.
- The conclusion should RESTATE your opinion in another way. This is a necessary step.
Let's look at the structure for the following topic:
The introduction, conclusion, and main supporting reasons are given. You can see that each reason is slightly different from the others. We should include examples to support each point.
Here is a suitable introduction for this topic:
You can see that the writer clearly sees more advantages than disadvantages to studying abroad. Let's give a reason for this opinion:
First Point: Studying overseas allows students to learn about other cultures, which makes them more valuable in an increasingly globalised society.
Now we need to give an example to support this idea. Why are students more valuable after studying overseas?
Students who study overseas are often able to master a second language and learn about new cultures, both of which are essential skills in the increasingly globalised world marketplace.
Here are two more points to support the original opinion. Can you think of suitable examples to illustrate them?
Second Point: It’s true that studying abroad is very challenging. However, the ability to solve challenging problems is an important life skill.
What are some challenges that foreign students face? How might this help them in the future?
Third Point: Last but not least, when students travel outside their home country, they can have amazing new experiences and create long-lasting friendships.
What are some fun things you can experience while traveling abroad? How might having international friends help me in the future?
Now that we've given three reasons to support our opinion and given examples, we can add our conclusion:
For the above reasons, I believe that spending time studying in another country is a very valuable experience for young people. It provides them with experiences and opportunities that can improve the quality of their lives and advance their careers. As such, it is the best choice a student can make.
NZ© Andrea Holland 2014