Writing an exemplification essay from scratch has proved to be a troublesome task for many students, including great experience and discipline. The reason for that has nothing to do with this assignment’s overall difficulty; however, the blame is rather on a generally flawed, incomplete understanding of what it means to write an exemplification essay. Since the issue is becoming increasingly relevant to the beginning of a new academic year, we’ve decided to draw up a simple guide that would tackle the most common problems and help students get a passable grade without trouble.
In this article, therefore, we will be talking about the exemplification essay, including the definition, structure, topics, and other aspects relevant to the subject. We’ll also include a simplified sample a student could use as a starting point for writing a paper that is both clear and well-written. Follow the easy steps listed below in order to impress your professor and get an A.
How scary and difficult it may seem at first glance, an exemplification essay is nothing more than another type of argumentative essay. By the current point, the latter should sound familiar – you’ve probably written an argumentative paper, which is sometimes called an analytical one, more than once. Even if you have not, collecting the information about writing an argumentative essay is easier than about its exemplification type, but almost everything you’ll find for one will be relevant for another. In other words, collect some argumentative paper samples first if you’re still not sure what all these things are about.
Writing an exemplification essay means proving your thesis statement with appropriate and compelling examples. By forcing you to use one particular tool, your professor seeks to develop your analytical skills, as well as to show you just how powerful the right example may be. A paper of such kind is, in some ways, even easier than an argumentative one as it takes advantage of the skills you’ve been learning for your whole life. While many new students find it hard to use statistics to prove their point correctly, the concept of giving an example is something the average person is introduced in childhood. Organizing a paper is another thing, but that’s a part where our guide begins.
In order to write an acceptable paper, you will have to come up with a plan. If you’ve got enough experience, follow the procedure that works best for you. If not, we strongly recommend following our instructions.
By choosing the right topic, you increase your chances of writing a great essay – it works that way for any kind of writing assignment. To understand the topic, you should aim at better, take a look at the following points:
Have anything particular in mind? A topic you’re going to explore does not have to meet all characteristics above, but writing about something vague, irrelevant, and useless for the person reading it is a bad idea. If a topic chosen satisfies at least two of the four qualities, however, there’s nothing wrong with choosing it for your essay.
Keep in mind that whatever the topic you come up with, it should be neither too specialized nor too large. In one case, you run out of examples too early, which results in having trouble reaching the word count; in another case, there’s no way to cover the subject in a comprehensive manner with those few words you’re allowed to write.
As a university student, you probably understand that opinion alone can’t carry your assignments anymore. Writing a helpful and relevant essay means providing the reader with the information they could consider reliable, and that requires YOU to collect it beforehand. Doing research right is absolutely necessary for getting a good grade later, so do not try to be lazy here.
What information should be considered reliable, though? Which sources can you use? With certain assumptions, most of the articles you see in academic journals and scientific books are reliable sources of information for writing an academic paper. Wikipedia, for example, is certainly a wrong source to reference in your text – it may not be as terrible as your professors have probably made it look, but students avoid it for a reason. Use Google Scholar to make the research stage more manageable.
Now that you’ve gone through several academic sources, you probably have a lot of potential examples in mind. Write them down on a list of paper and take another look. Are they nice? Do they really help to convey your message? Are they most appropriate for the topic? When writing about whether it’s necessary to have a university degree, for example, you could demonstrate an example of Bill Gates, who dropped out of Harvard two years into his college and managed that to his advantage. You’ll probably want to omit some key facts about him being an extremely talented and hard-working person, as the assignment does not require you to provide the reader with examples that do not prove your point.
An exemplification essay follows the standard three-step structure: the introduction, body, and conclusion. Before you go to the writing stage, you should structure your future paper by composing an outline. The latter is basically a content plan, a helpful navigator that won’t allow you to get lost in your own text.
Since the substance of any outline depends on what exactly you’re going to write about, here’s our very simplified sample you could use and modify for your needs:
While the introductory paragraph should indeed be placed at the beginning of your paper, you do not have to write it first. Some students think it difficult to come up with a decent introduction when they haven’t even written the paper themselves, so jumping to the main body is not as uncommon as one could think. For now, let’s keep it in order.
Just because your professor is going to read your text no matter what you’ll write at the beginning, writing a great piece means, among other things, making the introduction as interesting and attractive as possible. Do not hesitate to grab the reader’s attention with rhetorical questions, big claims, facts that are hard to believe in, and other things that you consider effective. Do not be this guy who clearly tries too much, though, as you’re still writing an academic paper and not some cheap and clickbait blog article for getting upvotes. Your introduction should be effective, yet truthful; manipulating, yet not harmful. You wouldn’t get anything for making the reader angry, anyway.
A body paragraph in an academic piece is simple and follows the following structure: topic sentence – transition – example.
A simplified example: “Having a degree is necessary in the modern world (topic sentence). However, people who manage to succeed without graduating from university do exist (transition). For instance, Bill Gates left Harvard after two years in order to found Microsoft (example).”
Transition is a part you write using so-called transition words: ‘however,’ ‘moreover,’ ‘on the other hand,’ ‘last but not the least’, and so on. They are pretty easy to use and valuable for making your paper clear and consistent, not to mention simple to read.
The conclusion is the last paragraph of an exemplification essay. It serves to provide the reader with a summary by reiterating the key points from the body paragraphs. It also allows you to conclude your paper, which is important to do correctly because otherwise, everything you’ve written before may go to waste. The average student is so exhausted by the time he or she is writing the conclusion that the whole paragraph feels rushed and unnatural. A bad conclusion does not necessarily mean a bad grade, but it does leave a bad aftertaste; do not be the average student.
Take a short break, a day or two, before jumping into the stage of editing and proofreading. Otherwise, do not expect a great performance from yourself because there’s no way to be an editor when you still remember where exactly every word stands. Ask a more experienced person for assistance if you can’t look at the paper with a fresh eye.
Checking what other people have to say on your text before submission helps you ensure that everything works and is in the right place. Do not take your fellow students’ words personally; use them wisely to make a good text even better.
Acquiring a degree is highly encouraged in the modern world. A college degree is considered to be essential for success, even though the definition of success is and should be defined by every person individually. Contrary to popular belief, pursuing higher education is not always the best and most optimal way to gain financial independence because going to college is far from free. Since many people end up acquiring a degree just because they were convinced that they are supposed to, further discussion is necessary. While getting a college degree is important, it should not be promoted as the only possible way to succeed as it actually takes a lot of time and money.
Even though attending a college is generally a desired choice among high-schoolers, people should embark on such activities with a full understanding of how many years it’s going to take them to obtain a degree. In other words, spending four and more years on an activity that will not necessarily benefit a person directly shouldn’t be a decision people make by only reflecting society’s standards. For example, Bill Gates left Harvard after two years in order to found Microsoft just because he ‘was scared of missing out on the personal computing revolution’ (Source 1). He understood how important it was not to spend an additional year when every day counted; as a result, Bill Gates was named the richest man in the world at least thrice over the past ten years.
People who can’t afford college should not be stigmatized as the ones who will not have a chance to succeed. Since college in America is very expensive, a lot of people feel bad for their future and themselves every year due to pressure from society and even relatives. Even those who manage to secure placement at higher educational institutions often go into massive debt that they either manage poorly or cannot manage at all. According to Source 2, about 58 percent of students at four-year public universities finished their bachelor’s degree with debt, with at least half of them being left with a debt of more than $20,000. Even those who left college early may discover that they have to pay a lot of money, having received nothing particularly useful for their career in return. While even a year in college may make a difference, most of the time, it does not (Source 3). For instance, Steve Jobs did note that while he left college after only 6 months, he used the knowledge gained thanks to calligraphy classes to design the first computer with beautiful typography. However, many other people who leave early are not as lucky, meaning that they cannot effectively use the knowledge they have acquired during the first year in university to further their own careers.
In conclusion, acquiring a degree should not be promoted as the only possible way to succeed in the modern world because it forces a person to use a lot of resources, including time, effort, and money, without any guarantee to get what he or she is looking for in return. While it definitely would not hurt to have a degree, high-schoolers should be able to decide for themselves without fear of being judged by society, relatives, and close friends.
The simplified sample provided above will serve as a decent starting point, but you shouldn’t consider it the only proper way to write an essay. First of all, we’ve replaced real references with simple ‘sources’ in order to encourage you to do your own research from scratch instead of sticking to a template. Second, the reference page is missing, but your paper will have to have one if you want to get a high grade. And third, the sample itself is closer to a draft as we used only two body paragraphs and didn’t have a particular word count in mind. Use the sample to get the basics, but aim at writing your own essay that makes you proud – that is the last and the best advice we could give you today.
Best of luck!
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