How to Answer a Question in Paragraph Form

Make sure you understand the question completely before you write your response.

Many exams are delivered in essay format. The professor provides a prompt and students address the question in the form of an essay. Essay questions are more complicated than multiple choice or those that require a single answer. In thoroughly answering a question through a paragraph, organization and concise, communicative writing are essential.

Read the question at least three times and ensure that you understand it completely. An essay response is difficult to revise if you realize you have missed something or misunderstood the question after you have begun writing.

Break the question into parts. Write down each component that you feel needs to be addressed on a sheet of scratch paper. Beneath each component of the question, brainstorm relevant information that addresses the issue.

Plan the organization of your essay. Break the relevant information that you list beneath each component of the question into sections. On a separate sheet of scratch paper, list the sections you have chosen in a cohesive order, beginning with an introductory sentence and ending with a conclusion.

Use the outline you have created as a guideline. Address each section of the outline in your paragraph, turning the notes you have made into complete sentences and adding additional details. Add transition sentences between sections to give the paragraph continuity.

Read through your answer. Edit for clarity and errors. If you have time, rewrite the entire paragraph as a final draft.

  • When answering a question in paragraph form, keep writing as concise as possible, avoiding flowery language. While editing, eliminate all unnecessary words to make sentences as short as possible without changing their meaning.
  • Keep your paragraph under a half page in length to avoid bombarding the reader with too much information.

Emma Rensch earned her B.A. in writing for contemporary media from Scripps College in 2011. Currently, she lives and writes in San Diego.