How to Write a Critical Review Essay

by Jennifer Wagaman, Demand Media

A critical review essay requires a student to summarize and then respond to a selection or a book. A selection is a shorter piece of reading, often an essay or chapter out of a longer written work. Often a professor will assign a book or other reading and require a critical review of the piece as a way to encourage you to identify the writer's point of view and develop your own opinion of the topic.

Read the selection carefully until you understand the author's point of view.

Begin writing by summarizing the author's point of view about the topic and giving a brief explanation of the author's main points. This section of the essay must accurately portray the reading without adding opinions.

Study other sources on the topic to obtain a thorough knowledge of the issues.

Respond to the facts in the reading selection. Include information on the details the author uses, and provide missing information if applicable.

Address the ideas or concepts in the reading. If you disagreed with the author, explain why, using factual and objective information about the opposing point of view.

Provide alternate points of view. It is important to include all points of view on a given topic, regardless of their validity.

Things You Will Need

  • Reading selection


  • Remain objective even when disagreeing with the author.

About the Author

Jennifer Wagaman has been a writer for three years, and is widely published on the web. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Messiah College and is certified in both elementary education and special education.

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