Writing a two-page essay can be a daunting task; after all, writing requires specific skills and a lot of practice. However, if you are well organized and have a specific plan, you can achieve it quickly and successfully. College and high school students, as well as most professionals, have to write every so often (or every day). For many people, this task can be stressful, therefore it is good to have an established system that makes the process as efficient (and without major difficulties) as possible.
Part 1 of 4: Get Organized
Step 1. Make sure you are ready to write
This is your first step towards a quick culmination of your essay. Make sure your environment is comfortable and you have all the tools you will need (computer, paper, etc.) on hand. The atmosphere must be right for you. That is, if you work better in silence, go to the library, but if you need a little background noise, play music or go to a cafe.
Step 2. Choose your topic
A good essay will have a clear focus, so it is important that you clearly define its topic. It's easier to write about something that interests you, so if possible, try to tailor your essay topic to make it a topic that you are curious about. In the case of a two-page essay, it is important to choose a well-defined topic so that you can adequately analyze it in its reduced length.
- If your instructor has given you a clear indication, decide how you will approach the question. For example, if the task is “Write an essay on the women's movement. Was it successful?”, You will have to decide which side to take. Once you've narrowed your focus, your essay will be much easier to organize.
- If you have a much larger task, how you approach the subject will be up to you. For example, if this is “Write about something that interests you”, it would not be good if the topic is “Sports”, especially in the case of a two-page essay. Pick a fairly specific topic like "Sports previews in the southern United States."
Step 3. Know your topic
You must understand what the assigned topic is. For example, if you are going to write an essay for a literature course in English on the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, you must have read it well. Think about what you know about the topic. If you have to do more research, this is the time to do it.
It's unlikely that you will need to dig deeper for a two-page essay, but if you're unsure of the requirements, ask your teacher
Step 4. Organize your materials
If you've taken notes while researching the topic, make sure they're organized. Put them in a logical order for you so that you can find the information easily. If you plan to use some Internet resources, try to have the web pages already open so that you do not have to interrupt your concentration looking for the information you need. This is a good time to make sure you also have the rehearsal instructions. Did your teacher or boss give you instructions? It was for a reason, so follow them.
Step 5. Organize your thoughts
Are you thinking that you might need to take your dog for a quick walk? Do it. If you have something in mind other than rehearsal and it is possible for you to do it, try to deal with it quickly; otherwise, focus on your work. The rest of your life will be gone nowhere by the time you are done, which will happen much faster if you are organized and focused.
Part 2 of 4: Draft Your Essay
Step 1. Brainstorm to find your thesis statement
There are several methods that will help you formulate your thesis. One of these techniques is called asking questions. To use this approach, think about what you or your readers would like to know about your topic. You can start with something as simple as asking basic questions, such as what, why, how, among others.
- Let's say you have to write a two-page essay about something that interests you, think about who will be your reading public (and how many explanations will you have to do), which is the most relevant information and why your topic is interesting to you.
- Branching is another technique you can use to build your thesis. Try to imagine that the subject is a tree. Write the fundamental idea in the center of a sheet of paper and then "branch" from it, adding ideas and thoughts to your central theme.
- Another technique you can try is brainstorming. To do this, write down everything you know or need to know about the subject. Don't correct yourself, just put some ideas down on paper. Once you can see them, they will start to take shape. It is often good to do this before creating a formal outline, as you will have a better idea of what you want to address.
Step 2. Write your thesis statement
The thesis is the most important part of your essay because it tells the reader exactly what you are arguing for. That is, explain in a concise and clear way the points that you will support in your essay. If you don't have one or the one you have is not solid, your work will be ambiguous and very general. A strong thesis shows that you will use specific examples to explain your points. For a two-page essay, keep it specific and well-defined.
- For example, if you are writing an essay on college sports, a bad thesis would be "Sports in college are very controversial in many ways." This statement is very vague, does not take a clear position to argue and will make your reader wonder what is the argument you will make in the essay.
- An example of a strong thesis on the same topic would be "College athletes should be paid for playing their sport." This statement is best done because it indicates the topic you will be addressing and is narrow enough to be adequately developed in a two-page essay.
Step 3. Put your thoughts on paper
Once you have the thesis, which will be the "center of gravity" that directs the rest of the essay, you can write the rest of the ideas. Creating a detailed and thorough outline can make the missing part of the writing process much easier and faster. An outline is a great way to get your ideas down on paper without having to worry about your writing being perfect. However, don't spend too much time busy in this phase, as your essay will develop and evolve as you write it, and that's fine.
- It is not absolutely necessary to create a formal outline at the beginning. Doing a brainstorming or list outline, where you list the ideas related to the topic in no specific order, can help you know the points you want to make.
- Once you have listed the ideas that support your thesis, you will have a better idea of how to organize them.
Step 4. Include specific examples
An effective essay will have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Thesis statements will often point to specific examples you will use in your essay, such as this example: “College athletes should be paid because they contribute a lot of money to their universities, they provide profits to sports product manufacturers, and often they suffer physical damage during their college career that persists for the rest of their life."
- Keep in mind that not all professors prefer or accept this type of thesis, which is called "multi-approach" or "three-approach". However, it is often appropriate for small writing jobs such as two-page essays. If you're not sure about your teacher's preferences, ask them before you start writing.
- It will be helpful to list specific examples in your outline so that you know what proofs you have for each idea. This will also help you see if your focus has gaps or is out of balance. For example, do you have only one example for one point, but three for another? It will be better to use roughly the same number of examples per point or decide if a less supportive one can be incorporated elsewhere.
Step 5. Cite your sources in the outline
This will save you time during the writing process. Also, you must be sure of the citation style that you are asked to use; among the most common we have the MLA, APA and Chicago systems. Don't forget to ask your teacher which of them you should use.
- There is a type of citation called parenthetical documentation. By means of this method the information of the source is provided within the text; for example "Brown claims that Einstein's theory of relativity is the most important academic achievement of the twentieth century (292)." The last name Brown refers to the author of the book in this example and 292 is the number of the page where the information is located. There are different ways to cite sources, so you should know how to give credit to all the ones you plan to use appropriately.
- Sometimes you will be asked to use footnotes or endnotes. Although they are less frequent in short essays, some teachers and bosses prefer them. These tools will include more detailed information about the font you used. Sometimes when these replace the documentation in parentheses, a bibliographic sheet will no longer be needed.
Part 3 of 4: Writing Your Essay
Step 1. Write the body paragraphs
Now that you are very well organized, you are ready to write! You will get through this part pretty quickly if you made a thorough outline. An essay typically has at least 3 body paragraphs. Each of them must be directly related to your thesis and its purpose will be to support your argument.
- Make sure each body paragraph has its own topic sentence. This will make it clear to the reader what the paragraph will be about. For example, if you were writing an essay on the workforce during World War II, you could say, "Women were an important part of the workforce in World War II because they learned new jobs that were previously reserved for men only."
- Include specific supporting examples in each body paragraph. For example, if you were writing an essay on the above topic, you could say "Many women became welders during World War II, illustrating that gender roles in the workplace were changing."
Step 2. Write the introduction and conclusion at the end
These are often the hardest and most time-consuming parts of writing an essay. An introduction should be the roadmap for the rest of your essay, and it should also make your reader want to keep reading it. On the other hand, the conclusion "wraps" your work by reminding readers of the argument and its importance. In general, it is good to wait until the draft of the body of the essay is finished to write the introduction and conclusion because this will give you a much clearer idea of your whole argument and its significance.
- It starts with a broad contextual statement, but not so much that it loses its relevance. Statements that begin with "Throughout history" or "In today's society" are "empty" and do not provide real context for your argument.
- A good way to imagine your introduction is as an inverted pyramid. Start with a broad statement that sets the stage and then narrow it down to the thesis.
- Include the thesis statement at the end of the conclusion.
- Spend some time in your first sentence that should be interesting and catch the reader's attention. Try starting with a fascinating example or an exciting phrase.
- Use your conclusion to tie up the loose ends of your argument. In some cases, like persuasive essays, it will be okay to include a call to action. You can also go back to an anecdote or topic that you mentioned in the introduction to give your work a good symmetry.
Step 3. Use clear and concise language
Don't try to sound too “fancy”. Make clear statements that your reader can easily understand. Always remember that if you can express something in one word, there is no reason to use more. Also, be sure to use words that your readers can understand. There's no point trying to liven up your essay by relying too heavily on the thesaurus. Your points should be clear and easy to understand.
- Be careful with the passive voice. Beginners often use it because it consists of more words, which could be mistaken for "sophistication." Here's an example of a passive voice: "Today's increasing social violence is widely believed to be caused by video games." Verbs with the auxiliary ser are signals of this voice. Rephrase the sentence this way: "Many people blame video games for today's increasing social violence." This has a clear grammatical order: People (subject), blame (verb), video games (direct object).
- Avoid constructions with lots of words like "It is believed that" or "This is evocative of", as it is possible to communicate these ideas more clearly and concisely in this way: "People believe that" or "This evokes that".
Step 4. Use an appropriate style and tone
The assignment or course will give you specific guidance on what is appropriate to use in the essay. On the other hand, the theme can also help you determine the stylistic approach you should take.
- Some short essays are best written in the first person, using "I". If you have been assigned to write a personal or persuasive essay, this form will generally be more personal and effective than the third person.
- Find that the structures in your sentences match. Sometimes your sentences may sound clumsy if you ignore the matching of structures, for example "Paying college athletes is more important than giving them scholarships." Add the pronoun "them" to "pay" for consistency: "Paying college athletes is more important than giving them scholarships."
Step 5. Use transitions
A good essay shows the connections between paragraphs clearly. These transitions show that the points are interrelated and that they all follow from the thesis. You can put them at the end of the paragraph or integrate them into the main sentence of the next one.
Some examples of transition words are the following connectors: likewise, compared, therefore, otherwise. During the proofing process, you can try different variants to see which one best suits your style
Part 4 of 4: Make corrections to your essay
Step 1. Get away from him
You will have to carefully correct it once and then do it again. A good essay correction can usually make the difference between a “B” or “C” and an “A”. However, before you start, give your brain a break. Clearing your mind can help you more objectively evaluate your essay once you've started the proofing process. You will be able to identify mistakes more easily if your mind is fresh. Take at least a few minutes to pause before returning to it.
Step 2. Use technology
Anyway, it will be good if you read your entire essay and correct any errors you find, but do not be afraid to take advantage of the spell checker. Just don't forget to proofread yourself too, as spell checking won't help you with content problems.
Keep in mind that the "grammar checker" of word processors is often wrong and could even suggest changes that make your wording incorrect. Don't just depend on technology
Step 3. Read it out loud
Although it sounds strange to you, try reading the essay aloud to see if it flows well and sounds logical. This will also be a great time to get outside help. Ask a family member, friend, or classmate if they can hear a part of your work. Even if you only read the introduction to them, this may help you identify problems.
Step 4. Review the citations
This is the time to make sure you have cited all your sources well. Remember that you have to give credit for direct quotes, specifics, and any ideas that are not yours. It's important to get it right so that your teacher or boss knows how you did your research. It is also relevant because you have to avoid plagiarism at all costs. When unsure, cite the source.
Step 5. Refine your essay
Go through it completely and look for unnecessary words; if you don't need them, delete them. Careful proofreading will help you further narrow the focus of your essay and ensure that your ideas stand out. In addition, this way you can make sure that the work looks professional, and sounds logical and organized.
Step 6. Write the title
Try to be creative but concise. This should indicate what the topic is, as well as being direct and easy to understand. During the proofreading process, pay attention to possible headline ideas as you read through the text again.
There are several methods of creating a title. One of them is to start it with a question, for example "How …" or why…". Another method is to select a specific example that you present in your work and use that as the starting point for your title
Step 7. Give your essay a final review
Are your ideas clear? Are your transitions good? Have you corrected all your mistakes? In order to answer these questions, read each of the words and do it slowly. If you are satisfied, your essay is ready for submission!