Structure is the most important part of your essay. Your essay must be written in a standard format with the standard logical transitions. The E-rater will scan your essay to identify if it has a standard structure.

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  • Introduction and conclusion – These sections function as bookends to your essay, providing the most basic and crucial points of your essay. The rest of your essay will relate back to your intro. Your conclusion will reiterate these ideas.
  • Number of Paragraphs – To satisfy the E-rater, your essay should be four to five paragraphs, two of which will be your introduction and conclusion. In addition your essay will include two to three “body” paragraphs. Each paragraph should have two to five sentences (total essay about 300-400 words).
  • Note: You should skip a line between paragraphs since the TAB key does not function in the essay section.

The standard breakdown, as shown in the graphic above, is an introduction and conclusion (as bookends). Between these should be two to four body paragraphs, each with a discrete point relating to the introduction and conclusion (either as support or counterpoint).

Essay Template

The template is just a guideline. You do not have to adhere to it. Often you will have to make changes to suit your argument.

  • The numbers of sentences indicated for each paragraph is a guideline that varies depending on how much content you have.
  • The transitional phrases we use in the Template are intentionally simplistic. This is not a simple approach where you can “fill-in-the-blanks.” Flesh out the template somewhat and use it as a guideline to write a disciplined and focused essay.


Template

1) Introductory Paragraph (2-4 sentences)

Make sure to keep your introductory paragraph concise, strong and effective.

What the introductory paragraph should accomplish:

  • Explain the issue (briefly).
  • Show that you understand the full complexities of the issue (for example, by recognizing competing interests or various factors).
  • State your position on the issue (without the details yet).

The following is a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:

a) Whether ___________________ depends on ___________________.
b) (insert your opinion), ___________________.

2) First Body Paragraph (3-5 sentences)

Develop your position using your most important evidence. Use one or two examples to back up your main point:

The following is a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:

a) The chief reason for my view is ___________________.
b) For example, ___________________.
c) Moreover, ___________________.
d) Finally, ___________________.

3) Second Body Paragraph (3-5 sentences)

  • Expand your position with a “secondary” reason. Support your rationale further with at least one example.
  • State your second reason (one only).
  • Provide rationale and/or evidence to support it

The following is a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:

a) Another reason for my view is ___________________.
b) Specifically, ___________________.
c) The result is, ___________________.
d) In addition to _[first evidence]__ , __[new evidence]__ also proves….

4) Optional Third Body Paragraph (3-5 sentences)

In this paragraph (optional) you acknowledge a competing viewpoint or counter-argument (and rationale and/or examples that support it), and then provide rebuttals to further support your position. In this paragraph you walk a tightrope, you must acknowledge the counter-argument, but yet deny it immediately in the next sentence and use that denial to strengthen your own argument.

  • Acknowledge a different viewpoint or a counter-argument.
  • Provide rationale and/or examples that support it.
  • Provide a rebuttal.

The following is a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:

a) Some might argue, ___________________.
b) Yet, ___________________.
c) Others might cite, ___________________.
d) However, ___________________.

5) Conclusion Paragraph (1-3 sentences)

In this paragraph you write a summary of your position in 1 to 3 sentences:

  • State the thrust of your position.
  • Restate the main points from the body of your essay.
  • Broaden your scope and show how your ideas can apply more widely

The following is a sample template for this paragraph that accomplishes this goal:

a) In sum, I concur that ___________________.
b) However,___________________; on the ___________________.
c) Without _________________, we would not have _________________.

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