At any stage of essay writing, from weekly assignments to an undergraduate dissertation, essay format is extremely important. Your academic ideas provide the substance of an essay, but it is the essay format, the structure and style you use to present those ideas, that reveals your argument and provides the impact.

Your essay format guides the reader through your thought process clearly and logically and has a huge impact on the power and conviction of your argument, so a strong essay format is crucial for top marks. Follow our top tips for the best possible essay writing format.

Essay plan

Writing yourself a clear essay outline before you begin to essay write is an essential part of a strong format.

ake sure you map out all your points and work out the most logical order to put them in, then group them together into separate paragraphs so that your essay format clearly shows how they fit together.

Essay structure

Essay writing structure is the main aspect of essay format to concentrate on. Make sure that you:

• Start with a clear introduction, laying out your main points.

• Use a separate paragraph to explain each new point in greater detail.

• Begin with the most important, broad arguments and develop them towards more detailed or unusual ideas later on.

• Finish with a strong conclusion, summing up your main ideas and reminding the reader how your points fit together to provide a strong, cohesive argument.

Suit your essay format to the question

A very important aspect of academic essay format is to use the style and structure of your essay to remind the reader constantly of its relevance to the question or essay topics.

To achieve this in your essay examples, you should frequently refer back to the question in your essay writing and remind the reader at the end of each paragraph how that particular idea contributed to answering it.

You can also use signpost sentences at the beginning of paragraph, not only to introduce a new idea but at the same time to explain how this idea will be relevant to the question.

TOP TIP: For a really clear essay format, it can be very helpful to use some of the words from the question itself in your signpost sentences.