Navigating the Essay Construction: Tips for Student Success

February 14, 2024

Photo by Judit Peter from Pexels 

OK, the basics are clear here. The standard structure of a college essay includes an introduction, a body, and a concluding paragraph. The end.

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the story. Based on different types of essay structure, we’ll check out the ways you can structure your paper to make the process of writing less challenging when the next task pops up.

Conventional Structure

This is something you’ve done a million times before. You included an introduction with the topic, background information, and a clear thesis statement.

Next comes the body section with the core analysis, solid arguments, and evidence. The final section, the conclusion, is used to link your main points and remind your readers why your argument matters.

If you’re new to writing, chances are you may get stuck.

Using companies like CustomWritings is a good idea to polish up your essay structuring skills as a beginner. 

Chronological Structure

Known also as the cause-and-effect approach, the chronological structure is one of the easiest ways to structure an essay.

To cut a long story short, your task here is to discuss all the events in the order in which they actually happened.

For example, if your essay is dedicated to WWII and Adolf Hitler in particular, you will describe his rise and fall in the following order:

  •  * Birth and childhood years
  •  * Entry into the field of politics
  •  * Rise to power
  •  * The time of the Third Reich
  •  * The presence at the arena of the World War II
  •  * Death

Compare-and-contrast Structure

If you happen to be busy with a college essay that comprises two or more subjects, make sure to structure the text according to the compare-and-contrast approach.

For instance, when working on a literary analysis, you may be required to compare two or more works of prose.

To cope with the task, you can choose one of the two existing ways to go – the alternating method and the block method.

Alternating Method

In an essay structured according to the alternating method’s specifications, you have to write each paragraph containing comparisons of your subjects in terms of a particular point of comparison.

The latter is the cornerstone that actually defines every paragraph.

Block Method

This is when you cover every subject in one sitting, usually discussing them across different paragraphs.

For instance, you may write two paragraphs about the first two circles of hell from Dante’s “Divine Comedy” (lust and gluttony) and then two more about the other two circles (greed and wrath), making comparisons back to the precious circles.  

Problems-methods-solutions Structure

If the task is to compose an essay on a specific problem, feel free to structure your work based on the problems-methods-solutions approach.

It is what it is: You write down the problem under study, describe a particular theory or method that will (most likely!) solve it, and analyze the issue to come up with the best possible solution.

Are you dealing with a theoretical problem? If yes, the analysis itself may be the solution to the problem. If not, all you will have to do is to inform your readers of a proposed solution.

Signposting to Make an Essay Clear

When it comes to signposting, the process is about guiding your target audience throughout your essay using language hints to let them know what is going to happen next.

Thus, you will make your text clear while knowing your readers won’t get bored or lost as they follow your ideas.

The Overview

When writing a longer essay, you have to break down the body segment into several different sections with sub-topics.

In that case, your introductory paragraph should end with a quick overview of what is going to happen throughout the text.

Thus, they will instantly understand what you will cover in this or that part and in what order.

Even though you’re talking about what is going to happen later, it is essential to use the present tense. The example given below is taken from the literary analysis essay on Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”

The essay starts with exploring a young solicitor named Jonathan Harker who is on his way to Transylvania to help Count Dracula perform a real estate transaction. Then the story moves on to Jonathan being increasingly unnerved by the creepy atmosphere and the strange behavior of his host. Finally, the essay discusses the third part of the narrative viewing Dracula eventually escaping to England, where he begins to prey upon innocent victims eventually facing the final battle between the forces of evil and pure hearts.


Using transition phrases and words will help you link all your paragraphs (and all the ideas, arguments, facts, etc.) and make your work whole and complete.

Include them between different paragraphs or sections of your essay.

Finally, words like moreover, furthermore, finally, in the same way, just as, to add more, and many others guide your readers and demonstrate that you are consistent in your narrative, i.e., you know what you’re talking about.

Don't Miss