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English, French, and Math Support: How to write a take-home essay

Marianopolis College provides students with support for improving their English and French language abilities, as well as support for improving their Math skills, all through professional support. All services are free.

How to write a take-home essay

Essays vary depending on the subject, the teacher’s instructions, and the focus of the essay itself. The steps below describe the general process of writing a take-home essay.

Use these steps as a guideline. Always follow your teacher’s instructions.

  Step Objective Method
1 Research Find and collect information about your essay topic.

Use your teacher's instructions to decide what information you need to locate.

Re-read your class notes on the topic.

Visit the Library to find print/electronic sources, or to find research help. Save, borrow, copy, or print materials.

2 Question Focus your reading to meet essay requirements.

Re-read the assignment description, and note or create specific questions you are required to address.

Choose the sources that provide material for your essay question.

Ready the relevant sources in detail.

Circle, highlight, underline, and take notes as you find information that addresses your focus question.

3 Brainstorm Choose the best response to your focus question.

Using your notes, identify a response to your focus question(s).

Write down your response in various ways.

If you have more than one possible response, choose the one for which you have the most supporting evidence.

4 Write thesis Express your response in a way that is original, precise, and defensible.

Write your response as a thesis statement.

Re-write your thesis several times, so that it is original, precise and defensible.

Visit the Writing Centre for assistance, if required.

5 Organize Create an outline. Decide how you will organize your ideas and arguments, and draft an outline which includes your thesis statement, the topic sentence of each body paragraph, and two or three pieces of supporting evidence for each body paragraph. Visit the Writing Centre for assistance, if required.
6 Write introduction Write an introductory paragraph.

Follow the "upside-down triangle" method of writing introductory paragraphs: general opening statement or hook, context, survey of main ideas and points, thesis and organizational map of essay.

Visit the Writing Centre for assistance, if required.

7 Write body paragraphs Develop and justify your thesis statement by providing the reader with well-organized arguments that support it.

Follow the "TEXAS" method of writing body paragraphs: open with a topic sentenct, explain it in more detail, provide examples, analyze your examples and how they support your position, and end with a summary of the paragraph topic.

Visit the Writing Centre for assistance, if required.

8 Write conclusion Provide your reader with a sense of closure.

Restate or reflect on your thesis and points.

End with a thoughtful observation.

9 Finalize references Acknowledge all the sources you used.

Insert all citations for the sources you used to write your paper.

Follow the style guide assigned by your teacher.

Visit the Library for assistance, if required.

10 Revise Clarify your thoughts, ensure your work is free of errors, and re-write as necessary.

Re-read your essay twice.

The first time, check that the flow and content are logical and appropriate, and revise.

The second time, read aloud, and check for grammar, spelling and formatting errors.

Consult your style guide regarding punctuation, page numbering, title formatting, and similar considerations, and revise.

For more information:

The Writing Centre has professional staff and print tip sheets to help with your essay writing,expression, and reading.

The Library has librarians and online guides to help with your research and citations.

Visit the professional staff in the Writing Centre and the Library, and get support! Please check online for schedules.

How to write a take-home essay -- Printable format

If you would prefer to have the above information in a printable, PDF format, please click here:

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