There are many different types of essays students are asked to write. Some are easy to understand, but most others are either too similar to one another or so complex that even professors’ explanations don’t help much. It becomes a serious hindrance because without knowing what specific essays they’re writing, young people are almost guaranteed to get failing grades.
There are lots of examples of them being assigned an argumentative essay yet writing an analytical paper instead. Their college education largely depends on success in daily academic tasks, so it is vital to learn the difference between assignments. If you feel lost, don’t worry — in our article we will talk about every common type of such assignments in the most detailed way.
Determining What Types of Essay Writing You Need
The first thing students should do after reading their prompt is understand just what type of paper they’re expected to produce. Sometimes it happens instantly: professors explain what type you’ll be writing as they’re passing assignments, so from then on, all you need is figure out how to organize everything. But there are also times when you only have a topic. For example, your prompt says the following: “Prove which city council candidate has better policies.” The question is clear, but how to determine which type it is? Start by identifying key words. In this instance, we should underline “prove,” “which,” “candidate,” and “better.” The first word points at an argument, the last one points at a comparison, so the majority essay forms are automatically eliminated.
Now, ask yourself questions. What is the goal of this topic? Again, an answer is simple: young writers must prove what candidate offers better policies. Proving something usually falls into an argumentative category, but it could be analytical, too. The next clue lies in additional instructions: study them attentively to understand whether professor expects subjective or objective opinion; should counter-arguments be regarded and addressed? This will help you settle on a specific type.
Four Most Common Essay Forms
There are 4 types of essays assigned most frequently. If you learn about them, you’re set by about 60% — other paper kinds are less specific and far easier to write. Take a look at the list below.
- Analytical Essay
It is based on analysis, research, and evaluation of findings. Writers could explore any subject, even controversial, but they must do it from an objective viewpoint, analyzing the existing evidence and making the conclusion on its basis.
- Argumentative Essay
It does resemble analytical papers, but there is a big difference: you should convince your reader that your point is valid by using evidence. Detached objectivity isn’t as crucial here as you could be arguing for the most ridiculous side for fun or out of spite — the goal is to be persuasive and use enough evidence. It could be both a serious and fun essay type.
- Cause and Effect Essay
The name says it all: you should identify the cause of something, explore it, and demonstrate what effect it has. The link between these two is that you should show how one thing leads to another. Some students like focusing on causes in particular while others pay more attention to effects — both options are acceptable.
- Compare and Contrast Essay
This paper is often exciting for college students because it’s an easy and captivating task. Choose two or more things and start comparing as well as contrasting them. Comparison usually concerns differences while contrasting is related to similarities. You could compare/contrast topics, ways of expression, characters’ features, etc.
What Are the Different Types of Essays? 34 Common Kinds
Apart from 4 mentioned categories, there are plenty of other forms of essays. We are going to name them, clarify their main purpose, and list their characteristics. After seeing the table we’ve composed, you won’t have any questions left!
A writer must convince their audience of the validity of their opinion, encouraging them to accept their viewpoint.
Similarly, students should get readers to accept the point they’re arguing for by using evidence and strong counter-arguments.
Analytical or Analysis essay
Breaking a subject into parts and studying each of them, explaining links between them as well as evaluating their impact as a whole.
Expository essay types
Explaining a topic in a clear way to an audience who might know nothing about it.
Sharing your story or an experience, usually of non-fictional kind, with readers.
Describing an event, person, item, or process.
Literary analysis type of essay
Analyzing the literary work to make a conclusion about it.
Demonstrating how speech or elements from non-fictional story produce an effect on an audience.
Personal statement / Personal essay
Building a picture of yourself as a person and student and showcasing your strongest characteristics along with skills for being accepted into college or uni.
Statement of purpose
Informing people about your goal.
This type of essays writing explores topic by analyzing evidence, collecting facts, and using credible sources for support.
Students should inform readers about a person or item in a scrutinizing manner.
Proving you deserve financial support based on your personality and accomplishments.
College application /
Such kinds of essay respond to a prompt and providing details for forming a clear image in readers’ mind.
Letting an audience know about something.
Identifying and explaining an object or a process by breaking it into parts and giving details.
In these types of college essays, students explain how they feel about a specific object by describing it and linking it to their reactions.
Drawing parallels between two or more subjects and explaining their differences together with similarities.
Cause and effect essay
Explaining why an event happens and what effects it has.
Such types of essay combine many different sources to prove a point.
Explaining and analyzing a piece of text you were assigned.
Biographical essay / Autobiographical
Outlining the story of your or someone else’s life by focusing on crucial events.
Relating a subject to specific group or family.
Informing an audience about something and defining as well as explaining this topic.
Critical thinking / Critical analysis
These types of academic essays explore a subject by applying analysis, logic, and evidence.
Guiding an audience so that they could perform or understand certain process.
Tok essay (Theory of Knowledge)
This interesting essay requires students to answer questions related to people’s knowledge through reasoning, emotions, perception, etc.
These are different kinds of essays focused on expressing your opinion on something. You could reflect on a movie you watched, case study or book you read, or situation you experienced.
You have to assess subject and form conclusion about it.
Suggesting a topic for further research and exploration; making an offer to address some problem.
Providing detailed and thorough examples to make a point.
You should shoot a series of pictures that would reveal a coherent story to viewers.
Making an issue clear for the audience with the help of definitions and examples.
Students examine a situation and gather information about it, combining it and presenting it to their readers.