Writing a five-paragraph theme is like riding a bicycle with training wheels; it’s a device that helps you learn. That doesn’t mean you should use it forever. Once you can write well without it, you can cast it off and never look back.
While high school courses tend to focus on the who, what, when, and where of the things you study—”just the facts”—college courses ask you to think about the how and the why. You can do very well in high school by studying hard and memorizing a lot of facts. Although college instructors still expect you to know the facts, they really care about how you analyze and interpret those facts and why you think those facts matter. Once you know what college instructors are looking for, you can see some of the reasons why five-paragraph themes don’t work so well for college writing:
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Sometimes a good example of what you are trying to achieve is worth a 1000 words of advice! When you are asked to write an essay, try to find some samples (models) of similar writing and learn to observe the craft of the writer. You can use the samples as a basis for working out how to write in the correct style.
For example, expository paragraphs have three important elements common to most paragraphs: flow, or unity (a clear connection to the rest of the essay and placed in a sensible way among the other paragraphs; development (detailed, specific support or elaboration of the main idea); and coherence (each sentence clearly relates to the previous and next sentence in an understandable and sensible manner). Persuasive paragraphs focus on developing a strong argument that would convince someone who disagrees with the writer's position.
Your students will be able to write essays on topics such as Problem-Solution, Cause and Effect, Autobiographical Incident, Persuasive Argument, and much more.
Paragraph Punch takes users through the process of writing a basic paragraph. From pre-set writing prompts users develop an idea and write their own topic sentence, body, and a conclusion.
The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.
Please note: Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE.
This book will show you how to help high achievers create outstanding essays while showing the teacher how to help slower students achieve full mastery of the five-paragraph essay.
It goes without saying that you want to be very familiar with diverse university essay writing styles, such as MLA, Turabian, APA, Chicago, or even Harvard. Your tutor might choose whatever they please and you never know to which you should be prepared. All these requirements are for certain an arduous task, to which students often sacrifice lots of vain efforts as well as their private life.
This handout will help you figure out what your college instructors expect when they give you a writing assignment. It will tell you how and why to move beyond the five-paragraph themes you learned to write in high school and start writing essays that are more analytical and more flexible.
The five-paragraph theme is a good way to learn how to write an academic essay. It’s a simplified version of academic writing that requires you to state an idea and support it with evidence. Setting a limit of five paragraphs narrows your options and forces you to master the basics of organization. Furthermore—and for many high school teachers, this is the crucial issue—many mandatory end-of-grade writing tests and college admissions exams like the SAT II writing test reward writers who follow the five-paragraph theme format.
Alex, preparing to write her first college history paper, decides to write a five-paragraph theme, just like she learned from Mr. Highschool. She begins by thinking, “What are three points I can talk about to compare the reasons the North and South fought the Civil War?” She does a little brainstorming, and she says, “Well, in class, Professor College talked about the economy, politics, and slavery. I guess I can do a paper about that.” So she writes her introduction: