Writing: Essay

What to Expect:

You will have only 45 minutes to complete this section. In that time, you should write around 4-7 paragraphs (300-500 words) in response to a specifically designed prompt. Before you begin writing, you will read two pieces containing opposing arguments on the same issue.

Organizing Your Thoughts:

When you read the essay topic, take a moment to gather your thoughts. By brainstorming and organizing your thoughts logically, you can express your opinions better on paper. As you write, pay attention to the rules that you learned in English class. You must write complete sentences, use correct punctuation and capitalization and select appropriate word choices. An example of a GED test sample question could be “What is the perfect way for you to spend a day off?”

General Outline:

When writing your essay, stick to a five-paragraph structure. The first paragraph is your introduction. The next three paragraphs are the main body, where you support your argument with facts. Each supporting fact should comprise its own paragraph. End with the conclusion. As a rule, write each paragraph so it has at least three sentences.


In the introduction, state your opinion on the given topic. You do not need to list all the reasons why you feel this way, but give a preview of the details or reasons that you will use to support your argument in the body of your essay. One format to follow is starting with a sentence that grabs the reader’s attention while restating the topic. An example could be “Spending the day with my sister building sandcastles and licking ice cream cones would be my perfect day off.” Following this sentence, write three sentences that support your opinion, and finally write a transition sentence that leads your reader into the body of your paper. An example of a transition sentence could be "To illustrate, I would start my day with homemade blueberry pancakes, and by nightfall I would be rinsing out the sand from between my toes." Then your main body could outline the different activities that took you from sunrise to sunset.


To maintain the flow of your paper, use the first paragraph to expand on the first idea mentioned in your introduction. Start this paragraph with a topic sentence explaining why you chose your position and then write specific examples and details supporting your thoughts. On the GED essay, you are welcome to use personal stories to support your opinion. With a topic such as how to spend a day off, providing vivid descriptions helps bring your essay alive. At the end of this description, write a transition sentence to lead your reader to your next paragraph. Repeat this format two more times.


In your final paragraph, you want to bring all your ideas back together. This gives your reader a recap of your topic and reviews your supporting details. Write this paragraph similarly to your introduction. Begin with another sentence that grabs your reader's attention and reiterates your topic sentence. Then write a brief review of your main points, or three main paragraphs, and end with a final sentence that wraps up your entire essay.


After writing your essay, go back and reread it. You easily can forget a comma or misspell a word during your initial writing. As you reread, ask yourself if your essay has well-focused points, is clearly organized, provides specific details and has correct sentence structure, grammar and spelling.

Narrative Topics:

Narrative topics want you to come up with a private story or encounter. These types of topics could very well by asking questions like: “Think of an event you will definitely never forget about,” or “Explain something about an experience that taught you something fundamental.” This type of questions is asking you to tell a personal story and require a narrative strategy.

This implies that you need to learn to write an introduction paragraph, that ends with a thesis that expresses the precise experience or matter you came to understand. Every subsequent paragraph will indicate why and how the encounter was essential and you will produce examples of the value of the encounter in your personal life.

Descriptive Topics:

Descriptive questions are asking you to give an explanation of a person, a place,a thing or an idea in descriptive details. For instance, a subject that will be taken care of best with a descriptive essay could be: “Persons you find at the zoo” or “Our favorite treasures” or “The most horrible food I ever ate” or a subject matter that instantly reminds you of a description. When you are writing on a descriptive topic, it could be helpful to identify several distinct characteristics of the topic, and devote one paragraph to the description of each characteristic.

Persuasive Topics:

Persuasive topics want you to write an essay about your personal thoughts and opinions on a controversial subject. A typical persuasive subject could be: “A lot of people feel the age for drinking alcohol really needs to be dropped to 18 for the reason that the age at which you can vote is 18 and not 21.” An additional persuasive topic could well be: “People should not be allowed to smoke outdoors in public places.” A persuasive topic is expecting you to develop an approach to agree or disagree with a subject in a brief, well organized essay. It is sensible to rehearse setting up persuasive essays on many different present-day situations and concerns.

Informative Topics:

Informative topics want you to write about a procedure or process. An good illustration of such an informative topic is: “Describe how to produce a cake” or “Present the best way to write a application letter.” A very effective technique for producing an essay on an informative subject is splitting up the process or procedure in several (3 or 4) pieces and spend one paragraph on each element of the process. For instance, an informative essay on the production of a cake could talk about reading the recipe and getting the required tools, finding the ingredients, determining the various ingredients, and mixing and preparing the batter.





Video Links:

  1. http://study.com/academy/lesson/basic-essay-structure-the-five-paragraph-essay.html
  2. http://study.com/academy/lesson/how-to-write-an-outline.html
  3. http://study.com/academy/lesson/quoting-paraphrasing-and-summarizing-your-research.html
  4. http://study.com/academy/lesson/introductions-and-conclusions-best-practices-and-advice.html
  5. http://study.com/academy/lesson/how-to-write-a-persuasive-essay-and-use-several-sources.html
  6. http://study.com/academy/lesson/how-to-focus-your-essay-and-respond-to-the-essay-prompt.html