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While essays were--at one time--written by hand, many of today's teachers require essays to be typed.

Writing a five-page essay may feel like an overwhelming task for many students. Between research, citation, outlines and typing, it's not hard to see why. To ease this process, however, many find it helpful to break the process into different steps. Doing so helps keep students organize and stay on-task, and helps promote a timely completion to meet any deadline. Of course, knowing where to begin and how best to approach a paper can make all the difference.

Review the guidelines given for the assignment

Review the guidelines given for the assignment. Be sure to take note of specifics, such as "single-spaced" or "double-spaced," along with requirements for margins and font size.

Create a topic

Create a topic for your paper which meets your teacher's guidelines.


Research your topic thoroughly by using sources such as encyclopedias and approved Internet sources. Keep track of where you found your content.

Generate an outline for your paper

Generate an outline for your paper. Start with your largest thought (i.e. "Trees") and create subsections based on relevant details (i.e. "Oak Trees," "Pine Trees" and "Maple Trees"). Add details to each portion of your outline, based on specific information for that subsection.

Translate your outline

Translate your outline into a rough draft of your paper by including the details of each subsection in paragraph form. Use transitions to create a flow between sentences, and aim for roughly four pages in completion. Add or remove information (as needed) to help reach your target of four pages.

Write an introduction and conclusion

Write an introduction and conclusion. These portions should introduce and remind readers of your major points, but should avoid the use of too many details (as these will be found in your essay). Each should run approximately one half of a page unless otherwise specified, thus bringing your total to five pages.

Read through your essay

Read through your essay, carefully checking for spelling and grammar errors. Review weak portions of your essay and implement improvements which may include clarification of details, additional facts or improved transitions.

Use your corrections

Use your corrections to create a final draft of your essay.

Add citations

Add citations and a works cited page for information you used. Check with your assignment's requirements for formatting these portions.

Hand in your essay

Hand in your essay.


  • Use credible sources for information, such as scholarly articles or government reports.

    Allot yourself extra time to prevent last-minute rushing.


  • Never plagiarize content from another source, as this may cause legal and/or educational problems.