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Three Tips on Writing a Good Essay for High School Students

Date published: | Lisa Barlow

Students sitting on the stairs and dicussing writing tips with classmates and getting ready to write an essay

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Writing essays should not be a frightening task. Almost all the high school essays should follow a simple 5-paragraph structure containing an introductory part, three main body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. Here are three key tips that will make you equipped to come up with an A-grade high school essay.


Follow David Lean’s “Rule of Three”

Have you ever heard of David Lean? It is not surprising if no. The film director behind movies like Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago is not known for his contributions to critical writing. However, his “rule of three” on film making can be easily applied to essay writing. He advises:

  • Tell your audience what you are going to do.
  • Do it.
  • Tell them that you have done it.

This is a pretty short way of describing the process of writing a paper. In the introduction, you have to make a clear statement of purpose: a thesis that you are going to explore further. In the body section, explore it. In the concluding part of your essay, restate the thesis statement and the ways in which you have explored it. Voila, you have just completed an essay!

Create a Logical Structure

If your essay is structured logically and flows smoothly, it is easily understandable by the reader. If the structure is unclear, the reader will likely not understand what you are writing about.

The logical structure of the paper is the way in which the essay is organized into a hierarchy. Let’s take a look at a primitive example. Let’s assume your thesis statement is, “tomatoes are good.” You can structure your paper according to the ways in which tomatoes are good: why they are delicious, what its health benefits are, and why growing them is beneficial for local ecosystems. Those are your main body paragraphs, each with a separate idea, but supporting the main thesis that “tomatoes are good.”

Treat these ancillary points like mini-theses, each requiring proving. Why are tomatoes delicious? In what ways are they good for your health? What makes them good for local ecosystems?

Support the Argument with Reliable Examples

You will have to support your thoughts, opinions, and ideas with trustworthy examples gathered from reliable scholarly sources. Using the tomato example above, it would not be enough to say, “everyone agrees that tomatoes are delicious.” Not only is this assumption wrong, but also the use of “everyone” is a universal statement that cannot be used in a high school essay.

Instead of saying so, you can prove the sub-thesis that “tomatoes are tasty” by directing your audience’s attention to credible sources: a study of the biochemistry of its fragrance, a study that reveals they are very good for a heart condition, or to statistics that shows a favorable percentage of tomato lovers among the general population. All these examples have to refer to trustworthy sources.

Hopefully, these three simple but effective tips have demystified the process of writing essays. With a little bit of practice and our pieces of advice, you will quickly improve your writing skills.