Simple Guidelines for Composing a Five Paragraph Opinion Essay

A five-paragraph opinion essay is a common requirement for middle school, high school and college students. Since it is an extremely short document, students must make sure that they use their best writing, editing and research skills. The student only has one or two pages to showcase their writing abilities, so they need to make each word count.

Picking a Topic

The first thing that students need to do is to choose a topic. Many teachers will provide a writing prompt that lists topic ideas. If this is not handed out, the student can try to brainstorm different ideas that they actually care about. When the student is truly interested in the topic, it makes it much easier and faster to write. Students may want to consider topics about politics, the environment, history or social issues.

Once the student has chosen a topic, they need to find an angle to write about. If the student just discusses the subject, then it is not an opinion piece. For this to be counted as an opinion essay, it must also include a specific viewpoint about the subject.

Create an Outline

Although it is an extremely short assignment, students should still create an outline. This outline will guide the student's work and make sure that their argument is presented effectively. Students should write out the thesis statement, introduction, conclusion and the topic sentences of every paragraph. In addition, they may want to jot down some notes about the other topics that will be included in each paragraph.

Save Time for Editing

To ensure a high score, students should put aside an extra day or two for editing. Instead of just proofreading it immediately, students should go to sleep and return to their essay the next day. With fresh eyes, the student will be able to spot more of their mistakes and ensure that they can submit the best quality of writing possible. If the student needs extra help, the can always ask a classmate, teacher or tutor for assistance with editing.

Read Through the Prompt Again

After hours of writing, students often forget about the original writing prompt. Before turning their essay in, the student should reread the prompt. While reading, they should check their assignment to make sure that they followed the topic, formatting and submission guidelines that were handed out by their teacher. By doing this, the student can make sure that their assignment will be well accepted by their teacher.