How to Write a Good Short Essay

What is a short Essay?

A short Essay is a form of essay with a limited size usually less than 500 words. It is usually a five paragraph structured essay. One paragraph is dedicated for introduction, three paragraphs for the body of the essay and one paragraph for the conclusion. Students often find it very tasking to write short essays because they do not readily have the space to elaborate on all their ideas. A short essay, unlike long essay, is limited in size. It becomes very important for anyone planning to engage in this type of writing to learn the rules and guidelines involved.

Parts of a short essay

A short essay just like every other essay forms has basically three parts. Ensure your short essay has these basic parts.

  •  Introduction.
  •  Body paragraphs.
  •  Conclusion.


In writing short essays, an introductory paragraph is basic. Here you should try to captivate the attention of your reader. Do this by giving him or her reasons to continue reading your work. The reader should know what you are discussing on through your introduction. Be it how to solve a particular problem or the lessons from an event in history or the implication of a government policy. Your introduction will show how much you have understood an essay question in an academic setting. Here you can reconstruct a question from the essay prompt. It can also be an imminent problem; showing what motivated you to write. This is your thesis statement! You should try to provide a thesis statement in your introduction.

Thesis statement: a hook to captivate your reader’s attention.

The thesis is a clear sentence in the introduction showing the reason for your writing. It is usually concise. The thesis statement gives clarity to your readers on what you are writing about. It is a paraphrased form of the essay question or problem. It helps to tell the reader why you are writing and what you have set out to achieve through your short essay. Thesis statements should appear early in the paragraph for shorter essays. In composing a powerful thesis statement, ensure it is interesting and thorough. Look for topics that you have good knowledge of. Try to avoid citing supporting pieces of evidence in your introduction or thesis statement. (Supporting shreds of evidence are facts and data that support your arguments).

Writing body of short essay

In short essays, you develop your arguments in the body of the essay. Acquire supporting facts and shreds of evidence to back up your claims here. In doing this, don’t derail into unwanted details. Know that the overall size of your write-up matters. Short essays should be short. Remove sentences that show repeating and unnecessary argument from your paragraphs. To develop your ideas into sentences within your paragraphs, you will need the following.

  •  Topic sentences
  •  Supporting facts
  •  Introspection

Topic sentences

Every new idea developed in each paragraph should be shown in a topic sentence. This is usually placed at the start of each paragraph. The message you are passing in this topic sentence should be clear. Don’t try to compress multiple ideas into one topic sentence. Each new idea should be in a unique topic sentence.

Supporting facts

Here, provide supporting facts or evidence. You should limit this to only facts that are relevant and verifiable. The number of sentences that are written as supporting pieces of evidence should not be much. But as much as possible try to back up your topic sentences with good arguments. This will help drive home your main idea to your readers. Some topics are not well known and may need a lot of supporting data and explanations to fully make your readers comprehend what you are writing on. If you delve into providing all this, you discover that you have exceeded the required size of short essays. So you see the necessity to select a topic that does not require too much-supporting arguments.


This is highly required when writing. Introspective statements speak a lot of your logical and deductive reasoning ability. It says a lot about your ability to extract relevant ideas from the topic. Also, how you can be able to convey the central ideas in the essay prompt to your reading audience. Read through your work severally.

Conclusion of a Short essay

To write a conclusion for a short essay, be concise. Add just a little review of your central idea. A sentence that shows the implication of the thesis statement in the future can also be captured. You can include a call to action. Don’t reemphasize on the shreds of evidence and supporting data you have captured in the body of the essay. Your goal here is just to restate your central claim, state lessons learnt, and justify your thesis statement.

Strategies you shouldn’t overlook!

Take note of the following strategies if you are thinking of how to start:

  •  Make a draft or outline
  •  Rehearse your work
  •  Condense where necessary
  •  Make a necessity test
  •  Simplify complex argument

Make a draft or outline

First, create a draft or an outline of your essay. Short essays require a lower number of words, making it hard to know the ideas to include among several ideas. You can start on a general note. Draft every idea that comes to your mind. In the end, you will come up with something very big similar to a normal long essay. Then you trim. Cut out unnecessary ideas from the draft to get a final outline. An outline will act as a guide to you while writing. Don’t underestimate its power!

Rehearse your work

Read and re-read your work to make sure that it is free of errors. If your work is too long and worthy, cut out trivial points. Ask someone to assist you to proofread the essay. Rehearsing your essay helps you to know if your write-up actually makes sense to you.

Condense where necessary

Through your rehearsing process, pay attention to what you have read. Access if every sentence adds something new to the essay. Highlight and condense similar sentences. These are sentences that carry almost the same idea. Remove some trivial words from your sentences. Some of these words add nothing substantial to the ideas in the paragraphs. If possible search and make use of word-synonyms for phrases. The goal is to keep your essay. Therefore condense and compress as much as possible.

Make a necessity test

This test will guide you to know how relevant a particular sentence is to your entire essay. You do this by removing the sentence from the paragraph and checking whether it will still convey the same idea as the original. If the message of the paragraph is unchanged, then it means the sentence is not indispensable. It can actually be removed from the paragraph.


Sometimes even after condensing, the paragraphs can still be complex. Now you can simplify your thesis statement. It will give you a more streamlined path to write on. If your thesis is too complex, it may require so many arguments to prove.

Useful tips to successfully write a short essay

The following points can act as a guide for you to follow:
  1.  Select a topic. This can be from a field you have experience and knowledge in.
  2.  Writing based on a given topic? Research properly about the topic.
  3.  Prepare an outline of what to write. An outline will be your guide throughout the process.
  4.  Write a thesis statement.
  5.  Write the body in well-developed paragraphs.
  6.  Write a clear and concise conclusion. This should be as short as possible.
  7.  Write your essay with a high level of clarity.
  8.  Add only the information necessary to convey your main idea.
  9.  Understand the short essay question and address it properly,
  10.  Condense your bogus sentences.
  11.  Reduce the facts you use as supporting evidence.

A short essay sample

This is a short essay sample. You will learn and have a feel on how to write a short essay.

Short essay topic: How my family background inspired my educational success.

I grew up in a society that views good education as a remedy for poverty and societal ills. Every family in my neighbourhood seemed to have imbibed this culture except for my immediate family. My parents did not place a high premium on education. It was their lack of passion that inspired my educational success.

My father worked as a low-level clerk in one of the biggest companies in my community. He had worked here even before I was born. My mother, on the other hand, was a full-time housewife. I could remember my parents always saying that “college education is overrated”. As a matter of fact, my parents were happy and contented even with the little they had. But in the company where my father worked, there were other younger and recently employed staff who within a few years of their employment rose to high managerial cadres. Most of these young fellows came in with a college degree. So, they were easily promoted. My father never even went to high school.

I noticed the importance of my immediate society placed on education. I also saw how my parents out of their disregard for education couldn’t enjoy the opportunities available in my country. I decided that I was going to attain the highest form of formal education. I must get a college degree! The task was how will I attain this feat? Everything from my background appears to be a discouragement to me. There was no money to see me through college. Besides, my parents never saw the need for me to go to college. So the morale boost from my parents was also not there. I determined that I must turn this situation of my family to a motivation. I valued education. I wanted to work in the top managerial cadre in any organization instead of just working like my father. I wanted to end poverty in my family.

I got a menial work in an organization within my neighbourhood. With the savings, I made from my work I pushed my education till I was fortunate to secure a full scholarship in one of the top universities in my country. I studied hard and came out top of my class. Soon after that, I was offered a job at a top firm in my country. This job came with a mouth-watering salary and offers.

My parents never believed in formal education. But I saw the opportunities that come with a good education. I turned this situation of my family background into an inspiration rather than a discouragement.

In conclusion

Writing a short essay sounds simple but it can be quite tasking. But with the right application of the rules such as we highlighted above. Your next short essay would be a lot easier.

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