How to Write a 500-Word Essay: Expert Tips for the Perfect Paper
A 500-word essay is among the most favorite assignments for the students. On the one hand, it doesn’t require much time or effort to write as it is no longer than two pages only. On the other hand, you don’t have to squeeze all your thoughts and ideas in the extremely tight word limit, as it is in the case of a 100-word essay. Nevertheless, you can check the advices from our experts to make sure that your paper will meet all the instructor’s requirements, guaranteeing you an A+.
How Long is a 500-Word Essay?
A regular double-spaced 500-word essay length is approximately 4-5 paragraphs or two pages in length. However, it may take even less — up to 1.5 pages, if you tend to use short words and constructions.
A 500-Word Essay Outline
Like any other paper, this one requires a specific structure that can ease its comprehension and improve its logical order. Therefore, we recommend developing an outline before drafting a paper: it will be a guideline for you while writing. The outline may vary, depending on the type of the essay you write; however, in the general cases, it will look as follows:
Introduction (2-3 sentences)
Body Paragraph 1 (3-5 sentences)
Body Paragraph 2
Body Paragraph 3
Conclusion (2-3 sentences)
Restating the thesis
CTA, open question, or valuable remark
The number of sentences in each part may vary; however, ensure that the body paragraphs are similar in length, being also the longest sections in your paper. You should also include all the necessary elements here, like a topic sentence, argumentation, and concluding/transitional sentence. Consider writing two paragraphs in the body instead of three: it may be suitable for compare and contrast essays or other papers where you have only two objects or points to discuss. However, try not to develop more than three paragraphs in your writing, as you will have no space to make each of them informative enough.
Valuable Tips for Writing
Follow these advices to ease the process of writing a 500-word essay. Many of them can be used for the papers of different sizes as well, including a short 200-word essay, or a longer 10-page paper.
1. Choose the correct topic
As you are not that limited, having 500 words to write, choose a topic that is not obvious. Still, try to keep it simple as you won’t have space to explain the problematic correlations or unknown terms to the readers. The best strategy here is to choose an unusual aspect of the general topic: try to prove that a common idea is wrong, for instance.
2. Attempt to catch the attention of the audience
It won’t take much time to read two pages of text; however, you should still prove that your paper is worth reading. Start with the attention grabber in the introduction and keep the interest throughout the text, making the strongest emotional point in the conclusion.
3. Develop your unique writing style
You have 500 words to show your personality in the paper — it will be valued by your instructor, adding you some points. Show your difference in thinking and impressive vocabulary so that reading your text could bring joy.
4. Stick to academic writing requirements
Using your writing style doesn’t presuppose neglecting the rules of academic writing: therefore, avoid using contractions, slang, offensive words, and other phrases that should be omitted. Also, the tone of your paper should be serious rather than a casual one as you are working on the piece of college/university writing.
5. Avoid unnecessary constructions
We all have favorite words and phrases that we tend to use in our texts; while adding no value to the sense, they take a precious space. Even though you have two pages to write, we still recommend you to avoid passive voice, complicated constructions, dull descriptions, and examples.
6. Give something new
Don’t follow the pattern of the well-known essays, where everything — starting from the topic and ending with the arguments — is obvious. Try to make a wow-effect and amaze your audience by providing a new view on the issue, unusual facts, and provoking conclusions.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a 500-Word Essay
Follow these steps to include all the necessary information and not to spend your time on unnecessary actions.
Step 1. Develop a thesis statement
Make sure you have a concise thesis statement that clearly states your position and main arguments/points that you will discuss further. The reader should understand the general idea of your essay from this only sentence.
Step 2. Create a brief outline
You have a choice between two options here: either write a short plan in the form of bullet points or develop a regular outline with full sentences. In the first case, you will use it as a guideline for drafting your essay. If you choose the second option, though, you can expand your outline to create an essay.
Step 3. Write body paragraphs
The body should be 300-350 words long, so each section should have approximately 100 words. This is enough to formulate a topic sentence with the argument, add supporting information, and finish with the concluding statement that will lead to the next point. While composing your body paragraphs, make certain that each of them presents only one idea, different from those in other sections. The topic sentence must be a kind of thesis statement for the specific paragraph, so it should provide the main idea while also proving that it’s worthy. As for the supporting details, it’s better to use facts rather than vague examples or details: you should be persuasive, while your arguments should be credible. Consider using statistics, the results of the studies, or the statements of the experts in the chosen field. If you refer to such proofs, always cite the outside sources so that your paper would not be regarded as plagiarized. Besides, don’t forget to provide your analysis to the provided arguments as you should not give a compilation of already known facts. Finally, wrap everything previously stated in your concluding statement, using it also as a transition to the next part.
Step 4. Write an introduction
You can start drafting your essay from the introduction if that is more convenient to you. Alternatively, try to write your ideas on how to start an essay and go further, writing the body paragraphs first. We recommend the second option as you might not have the whole picture of your essay from the very beginning. When having your body ready, you will find it less challenging to write an introduction. Remember that it should have three core elements:
- attention grabber
- supporting details (facts, validation of the topic, proofs of the issue importance)
- thesis statement.
Even being somewhat limited in the word count, you should not omit any of those to have a proper introduction. Start your paper with a shocking fact or numbers that are unknown to the audience: in such a way, you will quickly get their attention. Try to maintain it throughout the whole introduction so that the reader could not lose interest in your topic.
Step 5. Compose a conclusion
Your conclusion should follow only two rules: (1) it should restate your thesis statement, (2) it should strengthen the overall effect of your paper. Usually, students easily restate the general idea of their essays, successfully summing up the major points. However, it is much more challenging to escalate the emotional effect. Consider finishing with a powerful quote or call to action, give a hint for the further development of the topic, or add a provocative question that will make the reader think about your text even when they are done reading.
Step 6. Revise the paper
It’s not the most interesting part of working on the essay; however, it is essential to read your essay carefully at least once and improve the weak elements. Check the grammar, style, and punctuation of your paper; verify if everything in it corresponds with the topic and that there is nothing off-topic or unnecessary there.