How do I write a good essay?

A step-by-step guide

Whether at school or during your studies – you have to write essays or essays over and over again during your schooling and education. So that your article convinces your class, your seminar and above all your teacher or lecturer and is rewarded with a good grade in the school or university, there is a lot to look out for. The most important tips and tricks to help you write an essay or essay can be found here!

The preparation for the essay

Writing an essay just might be fun or time-consuming, but it usually only leads to the destination via detours. You save a lot of work on an essay and ultimately time if you prepare yourself thoroughly for it. The effort you put into the preparation pays off later on when writing!

Good preparation includes:

Step 1.

Read the task carefully: What kind of essay should you write? There are several forms that differ in content, structure and style. The most common types of essays for higher-level students are:

  • summary
  • interpretation
  • characterization
  • discussion
  • essay

Pupils of a younger class usually get other tasks for an essay, in which other criteria are applied. This is more about basic understanding of the text, imagination and the linguistic processing of your own experiences. Her essays are mostly about:

  • retellings
  • free narratives or testimonials

If you set yourself from the beginning to the required essay type, you save yourself a lot of time and effort in writing and the final revision!

Step 2.

Collect all the important information about the text you need for your essay for your essay. These include, but are not limited to, the name of the author (ideally including birth and death dates in parenthesis), year of publication, and perhaps specific circumstances of the creation of the text. Thus, for example, the cause of the text or the intention of the author for your essay also be of interest. If the text is autobiographical, you can also mention this information in the introduction.

Step 3.

Read the text to which you should write an essay carefully several times. When reading, be sure to look for important passages, keywords and keywords, linguistic patterns such as stylistic devices and their effect on the reader. Are there additional linguistic features? These include, for example, recurring patterns in the sentence structure or how simple or complicated the language used is.

Infobox: What are stylistic devices?

There are a variety of rhetorical stylistic devices used in texts to achieve a specific effect. A well-known stylistic device is the rhetorical question. This is a question that does not expect a real answer because it is obvious. Their real purpose is to involve the reader in the train of thought or to encourage others to think along, for example: “Who wants to lose their jobs?”. Other commonly used stylistic devices are metaphors. These figurative statements are intended to clarify or reinforce what has been said with the help of pictures. An example: “She was looking for the needle in a haystack” – means that the person is trying on a nearly hopeless task.


In an essay or essay for school or study, stylistic devices are not necessarily welcome. Above all, when it comes to the essay to the factual discussion of a topic, you should be sparing with rhetorical stylistic devices, especially with too flowery and pictorial language! If you write an essay privately, for example for a blog, it looks a bit different. Here, in principle, anything is allowed that pleases stylistically. But while writing – remember – also for the essay in the class / school – that stylistic devices always have a certain effect on the reader.

Step 4.

In the text, mark everything that matters to you: Underline important phrases or label keywords and stylistic devices in different colors with the highlighter. Take notes on anything you notice. You can use these notes when writing later.

Step 5.

Structure your notes in a mind map.

Infobox: What is a Mindmap?
A mind map is a tool for sorting and structuring your thoughts. Creating them is quite simple: put the essay topic in the middle of a sheet (example: “Characterization of figure XY”) and set important key terms (example: “external appearance”, “social situation”, “behavior”) using Lines around the topic. Now sort all the important information that you have read while reading the text You have to agree to the individual key terms. This is how you structure your information, thoughts, and arguments in advance, making it easier to put them on paper in essay form.