Read the topic prompt several times and think about what it means and what knowledge you have about it.
Jot down on scrap paper any ideas or phrases that come to mind as you are reading and rereading the tropic prompt.
Decide on a way to structure and organize your discussion of your subject, i.e., what main points or central ideas you will develop in the second, third, and fourth paragraphs of your essay. Those are the paragraphs where the development occurs, where you give examples, cite evidence, etc. Decide which main point would come first, which second, and which third. Think of at least on good specific example for each main point in paragraphs two, three, and four.
In the introduction, your topic sentence should rephrase or restate the text of the prompt. Then go on in the introduction to overview the three main points you will develop in the subsequent paragraphs.
The conclusion should summarize and restate — using different words — what you have discussed in the essay. Aim to look at the overall purpose of the essay to present the big picture in the conclusion which will tie everything together.
Aim to be as creative, imaginative, and as interesting as you can, especially in introducing and concluding your essay.
Each paragraph in your essay should have a topic sentence which is then developed in the paragraph with examples and discussion.
The essay as a whole should have a thesis statement — an idea or controlling concept to which all the main points relate.
As you proceed in the writing of your essay, stop periodically to read and reread what you have written and make changes and corrections.
Periodically return to the topic prompt, reread it to determine that what you have written suits the topic.
As you are writing, consider that you are trying to communicate to others in an intelligible way; to do so, you must use appropriate vocabulary and follow grammatical rules.
As you write, try to project yourself as the reader of your essay and imagine what the reader would need to know before your essay can become intelligible, what the reader’s expectations might be, and whether you are fulfilling those expectations.
Write with this formula in mind: R.A.F.T.—Role of the writer; Audience needs and expectations, Format in terms of manuscript, grammar, and style; Topic parameters and quality ideas.
When editing and revising for style and content, ask yourself if the sentence communicates what you intended and if it communicates it in the most elegant manner possible. Trim “dead wood” such as extra articles, lengthy verb phrases written in the passive voice, or words that mean nothing, like “very,” “quite,” and “really.”