If your professor assigns you a one-page essay to write for homework, do not celebrate too soon. A one-page essay, while short in length, can be challenging to draft. The tricky thing about writing a one-page essay is that the essay must contain all the major structural components of a normal-length essay, such as the introduction and conclusion. This means that you only have one page in which to create your intro and thesis statement, write succinct supporting paragraphs and conclude your essay. However, this challenge can be overcome with careful planning and strategizing.
Select the topic that you will write about. Read your professor's instructions carefully as they will tell you exactly what he is looking for in your paper, as well as how your paper will be graded. For instance, he may deduct points for being slightly under or over the one-page requirement.
Outline the main points of your topic and narrow them down until you are left with the top two or three. Be careful not to select points that you will have a hard time explaining in only a few sentences. Build your thesis statement based on the argument your paper is making from the identified points.
Draft your introduction, saving your thesis statement for the last sentence of the introduction. Start the introduction with something catchy to engage the reader.
Compose the body of the essay, which is the supporting paragraphs. Make sure the paragraphs relate to the thesis statement and transition smoothly. Write each paragraph as if it could stand alone in the essay, being sure to introduce the issue and complete the thought with a closing sentence.
Write the conclusion to wrap up the paper. Summarize the main points discussed in the body and briefly explain how the thesis statement proves true given the information provided in the essay. Remember, this is your first draft so expect your essay to run longer than one page the first time around.
Edit your essay by trimming away the fluff. Condense words and sentences to shorten the length without weakening your paper. Do as much cutting and slashing as you can and then recheck the length. If it is still over one-page long, you may need to consider whether you are trying to cram in too many points.
Review your next (or third or fourth) draft for punctuation, grammatical or other errors that might cost you points. Make sure the essay is written in an informational and academic tone and that you have followed your professor's instructions exactly.
- Some students prefer to leave the introduction for last, and write it once the rest of the paper is drafted.
- Do not try to cheat the assignment by minimizing your computer font or reducing the margins of your paper so that you can fit more words on each line. Most likely, your professor is keen to these tricks and will require you to use type 12 font with one-inch left and right margins.
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