Here in lies the greatest strength of the essay – the expression of one’s own opinion and its honest testing in competition with differing or opposing opinions. To some extent, this is also one of the few fundamental things, among all the tips for argumentative essay, for example. That unite the various forms of essay that have developed in different countries and institutions over the last five centuries. The English essay, the French essay, the Japanese zuihitsu, the American essay, the vocational essay… For the purposes of the CEMACH competition, however, you will be creating a classical essay.


Writing an essay

The term essay is vague, but what everyone associates with it is that it is something you write in school, either for practice or as an exam. In order to give some good tips in essay writing, you need to think about what the purpose of the essay is. In school, most essays can be put into one of the following categories:

Language practice – an essay written in Swedish, English or another language subject, where the main focus is on being able to write a linguistically good text, and perhaps also to understand literary texts (e.g., if the essay is about writing a commentary on a book).

Practice in interpreting information – this type of essay is more about interpreting information on a particular topic. For example, this could be a history test where you have to comment on the consequences of a historical event. It can also be a “classical” paper, where the focus is also on gathering information, but then of course you also have several weeks to write. Scientific research papers can also be included in this category, but it is not very common to write such papers until the higher level.

One thing that usually distinguishes essays is that they are subjective, with a lot of personal thought and analysis. However, this does not apply, of course, if, for example, you consider a report or a lab report to be a kind of essay, as they are supposed to be objective.

In this guide, we focus on essays that are quite short, ones that you can write during an exam, for example. If you are going to write a longer piece of work, you can read the guide.

Language essays

Most essays you write are in language subjects. Detailed guides for different types of texts (which can of course also be used for other languages). Below, we will give some general tips for what you should consider, as well as some more specific tips if you are writing a commentary/interpretation of a literary text.


An example of this would be an essay arguing that the original Star Wars trilogy was a major influence on the development of filmmaking. In the introduction, the author explains why he was interested in Star Wars within the cinema of the 1970s and 1980s and in what specific ways it influenced later filmmaking; in the main body of the essay, he presents arguments for his claim and polemics with critical opinions; and finally, he concludes by emphasizing the general impact of Star Wars on contemporary filmmaking.

From the general to the specific – why I have selected the topic, what I will deal with next, what is my main argument. The thesis, or the main idea of the work, is not infrequently the last sentence of the introduction.

The main body

This includes examples, comparisons, and metaphors. At the same time, he or she polemicizes opposing views and proves – if necessary – their fallacy. Logically, this section is the most comprehensive.

The conclusion

It is possible to offer advice or a probable future outlook (‘I therefore believe that power plants using marine currents are effective not only for the Veneto area but also for other coastal areas with similar conditions. The next decade is likely to see their spread around the world.”)

Self-creation – here we go!

Everyone has a different way of writing. Some people sit down to write and write an entire text at once, which they later return to and “polish” into the final, perfect form. Others write in stages, because they need to think about each argument carefully, or look up additional information. In my years of journalistic experience and having written hundreds of lengthy texts, I highly recommend that you first retrieve enough sources of information or print them out and skim them as you read, and then get down to writing. Of course, with the option of returning to the sources for further information at any time.

  • For an essay, you have 2500 to 5000 characters, so at the standard 1800 characters (including spaces) one and a half to just under three pages of text.
  • That’s not much for an argument-packed and engagingly written text.
  • Therefore, when writing, plan well which parts you will give how much space.
  • As a rule, for a paper of this length, the introduction, and conclusion should be no longer than two, or at most three, paragraphs.
  • The rest will reliably consume the main body.
  • More standards are here:

Once you reach the halfway point, roughly one and one-half pages, start thinking about moving towards the conclusion. Believe, shortening a well-written text of your own, but one that doesn’t fit within the given scope, hurts like cutting off your own limbs. Avoid this by carefully monitoring the length of the text. In short, once you’re halfway through, it’s time to think about the end.

When you finish (for the first time)

The key is to eliminate grammatical and punctuation errors, typos, and other flaws that will annoy and distract the reader (and cost you valuable points in this contest). Read your first “rough” text from the comfort of your armchair or couch with a red pen in hand. Tick off (preferably all) the mistakes, mark the wrong passages, underline unconvincing arguments, check for continuity and good flow.

Sit down at the table and correct the flaws. Now, in classic English university tradition, is the time for second eyes. Don’t give up this opportunity, you entered the competition with the aim of winning. And the second eyes of an experimental reader will help you spot mistakes you may have missed (Why are you saying this? There’s your typo! Careful, there’s still a typo here. Are you serious?!).

Go back to the table and correct the text again. It should be fine now. Still, read it again. No mistakes? Then it’s perfect!