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A Brief Guide on Different Types of Essays from Writing Experts

Be you a high-school student or an undergraduate, you have to write a lot of essays. More so, you have to deal with different types of essays and know their peculiarities to be able to hit top grades. But essays vary in structure, purpose, length, topics, and writing techniques that a writer needs to know to complete them well. Some require a student to develop a clear argumentation, while others demand analyzing a complex issue. Some fit into five paragraphs, while others dictate for students to create pages and pages of content. 

Surely, working on an essay is an academic routine, but it does not mean that it gets easier with time. Both a newbie writer and a professional one have to overcome the fear of a blank page as they are writing each new paper. What makes writing easier though is a clear understanding of the existing types of essays and writing rules that apply to them. That is why, together with the writers of EssaysExperts.com, let us have a look at some of the most common essay types and analyze how to write an essay well. Our experts offer their tips, insights, and practical help.

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What Is an Essay?

An essay is a short piece of writing that makes a writer look at a given topic from a certain perspective. The perspective defines the type of essay writing that a student should use. Some of the most common types are informative, persuasive, argumentative, expository, and narrative among others. Let us imagine that you have to write an essay about an apple pie:

  • Informative: You will describe how the recipe for an apple pie was invented.
  • Persuasive: You will try to prove that apple pies are the best kind of dessert there is.
  • Argumentative: You will provide arguments why eating store-bought apple pie might be bad for one’s health.
  • Narrative: You will tell a story about the tastiest apple pie you have ever eaten.
  • Expository: You will describe how to make an apple pie in detail.

You can observe how one topic can be explored from various perspectives and how it determines the writing approach.

How to Write an Essay: The Structure Explained

Although there are many types of this assignment, it usually has the same basic structure. If you check out several good essay examples, you will notice that all of them have:

  • Introduction

This section of the essay presents its topic and the perspective from which it will be discussed. It shows why this exact approach was chosen. The paragraph should also provide some background information for the reader and a hook to keep their attention. Finally, there is a need for a thesis statement in the introduction.

  • Body

This is the part of the paper where a student has to develop the topic and support their thesis statement. The structure of the body varies from one type of essay to another.

  • Conclusion

In this paragraph, a writer has to summarize their key ideas and remind a reader of the thesis statement. One might also add a personal opinion on the topic or comment on why it is important to discuss it. No new information should appear in the conclusion.

Different Types of Essays That Students Must Know

Now that you are aware of the basics, let us delve deeper into different types of essays. Below are the major categories of essay writing that each student should know.

Descriptive Essays

As the name suggests, the key task of such a paper is to offer a description of an object, feeling, person, etc. A student should use flowery descriptive language, literary devices, figures of speech, and sensory details to provoke images in a reader’s mind. These essays should feel like paintings and evoke emotions.

Narrative Essays

This type of writing is used for telling stories. By involving senses and using active verbs, a writer has to put a reader in the middle of a story. One needs to work on the quality of dialogues, characters, and development of the plotline. While narrative essays are not among the most common types of essays for college, it is crucial for a student to be aware of them.

Expository Essays

Essays like these explore and explain a topic. A student has to select a concept, study it, and present the collected information about it. This essay has several subtypes like a cause-and-effect essay, a compare-contrast essay, and a definition essay, which are common types of essays for high school.

Argumentative Essays

These papers are about exploring a controversial topic and taking a stance. A student has to pick a side and provide arguments that their standpoint is correct. The strength of the argument should be proven with evidence. At the same time, a writer has to show the weakness of the opponents’ point of view and counter their argument. In real life, defending one’s own position is quite challenging. Writing an argumentative essay is similarly difficult. In fact, it is perhaps the most difficult type of essay to deal with.

Persuasive Essays

This genre of paper is about convincing a reader to accept the writer’s point of view. Unlike in an argumentative essay, the task is not to prove that one idea is good while the other is not. The goal is to influence a reader’s perception of a topic by appealing to facts, emotions, and authority. Political speeches are perfect examples of persuasive writing.

For a student, it is important to understand these categories of essays and know how to differentiate them. If you know how to write an essay and choose the correct type, you will tackle academic challenges a lot more easily.


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Types of Essay Writing at Different Academic Levels

As mentioned, an essay is a general name for a wide range of papers that differ in terms of length, complexity, topics, etc. That is why both a middle-school student and a college sophomore might be writing essays. Of course, essay types and the requirements for the result will be quite different in these cases. 

Key Types of Essays for Middle School

In middle school, an essay is an exercise to develop students’ skills to express their thoughts and structure them. The task does not require writing a lot or doing any research. Typically, students have to create from 3 to 5 paragraphs about a topic of their interest. They might compose a paper about their hobbies, family, favorite food, summer holidays, etc. Also, how-to essays are quite widespread in middle school. Kids might need to describe how certain activity is done, e.g., how to tidy their room or how to play their favorite game. In both cases, these are simple informative essays.

Key Types of Essays for High School

In high school, things get a bit more complicated. As a rule, students have to write 5-paragraph essays that require research, analysis of information, and some brainstorming. A typical assignment is an analytical essay. Students choose or get assigned a topic that they have to study, collect some information, and interpret it. Some of the most common analytical essays in high school are:

  • Reports and reviews.

A student has to read a book or article, watch a movie, or attend an event. Then, they have to describe it thoughtfully and/or analyze it. They need to apply their skills of observation, critical thinking, and synthesizing information.

  • Cause-and-effect essays.

Such papers encourage students to study cause-effect relationships between some concepts. A teacher might ask students to focus on either what causes a certain effect (e.g., reasons for global warming) or which effects a given cause has (e.g., effects of global warming).

  • Problem-solution essays.

This genre of essay is about discussing potential solutions to a problem. A student has to discuss a problem, reasons why it exists, and several solutions to it. If you check a few problem and solution essay examples, you will notice that such papers usually have 4 to 5 paragraphs.

Key Types of Essays for College

What makes essays in college stand out is the amount of research that they usually involve. A college student cannot imagine writing an essay without searching for and reading numerous sources. A common college type of essay is a compare-contrast paper. In this piece, one has to study two subjects instead of one and connect them in a logical and meaningful way. The paper should focus on similarities and differences between them. Also, students might be required to study one subject but go in-depth on it. In such a case, they are to write a research essay or research paper. These pieces are quite long, complicated, and very time-consuming.

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Are There Any Other Types of Essays?

Of course, the essay examples mentioned above do not make a complete list of all essays that exist. These papers can be used to cover any topic that comes to your mind, so surely there are many more types of them. Let us have a look at a few more popular ones.

Exemplification Essays

Exemplification essays are a subtype of an argumentative essay. A student should take a stance and prove their point by using vivid and thorough examples to illustrate it. First, a writer has to describe an issue in general way and create a thesis statement with their standpoint. Second, they have to write a body with at least three paragraphs with a discussion of examples. It is crucial that the examples are well-researched, and not just made up. Finally, there should be a conclusion that sums up the paper’s main idea.

Critical Analysis Essays

Critical analysis essays are papers about someone else’s work, e.g., a book, article, essay, piece of art, etc. A writer should get to know a piece under analysis, identify the main argument or the idea of this work, and make an argument of their own about it. The structure of these papers usually has 4 parts, namely, an introduction, summary, critique, and conclusion. Students usually find these papers particularly complicated because they tend to summarize or describe a book or article that they analyze. But the task is to detect the author’s messages and criticize them, which requires much skill and effort. Besides, it is almost impossible to find samples of essays online that would demonstrate decent critical analysis.

Admission Essays

As the name suggests, this genre of essays is required as a part of the admission process. Colleges or universities use them to make the choice between applicants easier and check whether a potential student would fit the institution’s community. Some schools give the applicants a specific prompt to address in the paper, while others ask them to present theselves in the format of an essay. Typically, this paper is up to 600 words long. Among different types of essays, this one is probably the most challenging to write since much is at stake.

Here, we have covered some of the most common categories of essays across different academic levels. Each has its peculiarities, features, and standards. Learning this theory about academic papers is an important step to becoming a good writer and successful student. But if you still think, “I don’t want to write my essay,” or are not sure you can do it well, you can place an order with EssaysExperts.com and get professional writing help.

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