Home > The Writing Centre / English Writing Proficiency > Tips for Successful Essay Writing


  • Ask yourself questions about the topic — who, why, where, what…?
  • Make a list or network/web.
  • Free write – write about the topic for 2 or 3 minutes.

Compose a thesis statement:

  • A single sentence that tells what the essay is about.

Make an outline of your main points:

  • Support your points with examples.
  • Write your essay working directly from your outline.

Check for unity and coherence:

  • Your points must relate to the main idea in the paragraph.
  • Each paragraph must relate to your thesis.
  • Your points should be logically connected.

Check for grammar, sentence structure and punctuation:

  • Subjects and verbs must agree in both number and person.
  • Pronouns must agree with the nouns they represent.
  • Make sure you do not have any sentence fragments, comma splices or run-on sentences.
  • Use a period at the end of a sentences, not a comma.
  • Use commas where there are pauses in speech, such as after introductory phrases or clauses and between items in a series.