Writing a 5 Paragraph Essay Outline?

Essays for exams/tests and application essays do not have to show your talent, but how you master a certain writing technique. A 5 paragraph essay outline is the best option to demonstrate your skills in structuring a professionally-written essay.

Almost any examination for an entrance to colleges includes a section that is devoted to composing papers. A common approach to composing papers for standardized exams, which consists of five basic steps, is applied.

Defining the Kind of Essay

Firstly, you have to define which kind of composition you need to compose. In regular exams, you are generally asked to compose an essay with a problem when you have to show your thoughts on a proposed issue, or an argumentative paper when you have to provide an analysis of the demonstrated statements versus or in favor of this or that opinion.

Determining the Size of Essay

The size influences the difficulty of the composition and the amount of its sections. The standard essay of three paragraphs consists from 300 to 500 words. It is a short composition. The size of a long essay, which is usually a 5 paragraph essay outline, is a minimum word count from 500 to 800, and it is structured from five sections.

In every paragraph, there should be the minimum of three statements. It is significant to realize that it is not the size that is being evaluated, but the composition’s organization and content.

Formulation of the Thesis, Main Thought, and Supportive Arguments

The basic idea shows what the composition is about. Thesis shows what you think about the main thought of the composition. Arguments represent logical sentences that support the author’s thesis. Every of these components must have a minimum of one statement.

If you demonstrate these components in an order, you will form an intro part. As the basic idea, you can apply the words from the assignments. If it is a question, generally, the thesis has to be presented as a response to the asked question.

Start with an Essay Plan

If before you write an essay, you compose a plan, it will help you stick to the topic. To start, write briefly the subtitles, including ideas and studies in them that you consider appropriate. The plan for a good essay consists of five points:

  • Introduction (introductory part)
  • The first point (the main part, your arguments)
  • The second point (the main part, your arguments)
  • The third point (the main part, your arguments)
  • Conclusion (summaries)

Getting Down to Business

The main thing in a good essay is to hook the reader from the first sentence. You need to let the audience know what they can expect to read in the article, and what they can learn, and therefore explain to them the essence of your essay in the introductory paragraph.



  • Good: Are you a culinary artist dreaming of doing your favorite thing and running your business? If so – decorating cakes is exactly what you need.
  • Bad: First, find the recipe. Then, bake the cake. After that it’s time to decorate it. That’s where the fun begins. "

In the second example, it takes a while for the author to get to the point. If you do not immediately focus on the main idea, then you risk misleading the readers.

Give Your Arguments in the Opening Part of the Essay

Complete the introductory part of your essay with theses that will link the three upcoming items together.


  • Good: Owning your business in decorating cakes, you get aesthetic pleasure, stable employment, and personal freedom.
  • Bad: Owning your business in decorating cakes is a great idea.

Note that the second example is too vague. A clear thesis and a concrete list of facts and ideas will allow the reader to acquire all the necessary information by the end of the essay.

Present Your Best Argument First

Present your best argument first. Write an argument about why the readers should consider the decoration of cakes as a career.


  • Good: Cake decorators get aesthetic pleasure during the creation of beautiful cakes for special occasions.
  • Bad: People like decorated cakes.

The second vague example tells the reader what they already know. Do not drive them into anguish. Give them a serious push to think.

Keep Pouring Out Your Arguments in the Second and Third Paragraphs

The essay cannot rest on only one point of view. The third and fourth items should continue your decorating mood. Recall that we have already mentioned the three advantages of decorating cakes: aesthetic pleasure, stable employment, and personal freedom. Write in the third and fourth paragraphs your arguments in favor of stable employment and personal freedom. Think about how owing your business creates the opportunity to work and be in demand in your field. What are the advantages of working for yourself? If you are not sure what to write about here, look for additional ideas online.

Presentation of the Main Part of the Essay

In a composition of up to three thousand words, one paragraph is allocated for the introduction and conclusion. Other paragraphs are for the main section. For instance, in a 5 paragraph essay outline, it should have three divisions, i.e. one paragraph for every argument.

In a composition of three paragraphs, there is only one paragraph to present all three statements, which makes composing it even more complex. After a short outline, you should compose one introductory sentence for every division.

Introductory sentences inform the reader about what will be discussed in the paragraph. Then the arguments that substantiate the essence of the introductory sentence, and examples (a quotation or a case from life) are set forth. The introductory sentence, argument, and example together make up one paragraph of the dominating section.

Since the arguments were already presented in the introduction, there is no need to use the semantic transitions in the dominating section – it remains only to state them in the order in which they are presented in the introduction.

A general description of the content of this part should go either in the first or in the second sentence. The content itself should be correlated with the one you briefly described in the introduction.

Complete the Argumentation

Complete the argumentation by listing all the arguments in the final part of the essay. Here, you can repeat some of the arguments that you used before. Know that the final part is your last chance of convincing your readers of your reasoning, but do not bring in any new ideas.

The last sentence of the dominating section should contain an indication to the reader that the reasoning or description of the problem in the essay is over. At the same time, the sentence should become a bridge to the conclusion.


The conclusion, as a rule, is the most difficult part of the a 5 paragraph essay outline. The conclusion should include a paraphrased thesis taking into account what has been said in the dominating section, i.e. the explanation of how the arguments reinforce the thesis, as well as the final sentence, which draws a line under the main idea of the essay.

The more clearly and precisely the thesis is formulated, the easier it is to write a conclusion. The difficulties in writing a conclusion means that, most likely, the thesis is too vague. In this case, you can try to rewrite the introduction and then start to conclude again.

This part should include the following:

  • Sending the reader to the plan indicated in the introduction.
  • The repetition of the main thesis of the essay – but not with a quote, rather with a paraphrase in other words or with a hint of the formulation already appeared in the introduction.
  • The generalization of ideas and arguments from the main part of the essay.
  • The final statement of the author, which makes it clear to the reader that the discussion has come to an end (if the essay should somehow induce to action, then it’s time to place a direct motivation here).
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Relax, and Then Re-Read the Essay Again

After you finish composing an essay, put it off for a while. Later, after viewing it again, you will undoubtedly notice what can be corrected or altered. Moreover, it is perfectly normal to write three, five, or even ten draft versions before you will like the essay completely.

If you do not have time to put your work aside, ask your friend to edit it. One can disagree with the criticism of a comrade, but their fresh look will allow looking at the text from the point of view of the reader.

So, let’s sum up. Any good work adheres to the structure. When you write an essay of five paragraphs, its structure should be fixed and specific. But the product that you create within this structure is definitely yours.

General Recommendations

The main recommendation for composing essays for standardized tests is to quickly sketch out the initial version of the essay. If you do not have enough time, at least, you will have a finished, albeit imperfect, product.

If you finish your essay, it will be evaluated rather than the one that you don’t finish. Just write the composition, whatever comes to mind, and then if there is some time left, check and enhance what you wrote.