How to write an essay: Understanding how to format your paper

No matter how good you are at writing an essay, there are still requirements that your teacher or professor will expect you to conform to. These are called formatting rules and missing one can be detrimental to your score. Here are some formatting basics you will need to factor in when writing your essay.

Essay structure

The first factor to keep in mind is one of good structure. Essays usually consist of three paragraphs and no more than 500 words. The traditional structure of an essay is as follows:

  • An introduction where the reader will learn the background of your writing as well as find a map on where you are going.
  • Three paragraphs consisting of the theory, methodology, and result of your essay.
  • A conclusion discussing the implications of what you’ve discovered.

Technical basics

Actual format has a lot to do with the preference of your teacher or professor. Always find out first if any of the requirements are different to orthodox methods. Unless otherwise stated, the typical way to write your essay will include the following rules:

  • A font size of 12
  • A font type of Times New Roman
  • A decent margin of about 1.5cm on both sides of your document
  • A bold title at the start of your essay
  • Normal spacing between lines
  • Double spacing between paragraphs
  • Bold subheadings for each paragraph (not compulsory for the introduction and the conclusion)

Don’t go off course

It’s important to remember a proper flow for an essay. If the introduction doesn’t transition well to the first paragraph and the first to the second, etc, it won’t read well and you will be penalized. Make sure that each piece is connected well and that every section plays a structured part in conveying your message.

Bear all of this in mind when writing your essays. Even if you end up with a good read, it won’t save you from bad format. Lots of students can put 500 words onto an A4 page, but it takes a meticulous, thorough individual to take pride in his or her work and structure those the way they are meant to be structured. Try to be a perfectionist and keep to the guides laid out here. The one marking your paper will appreciate your effort and that appreciation will carry through in your marks.