Writing Your Essay Using Examples: A Manual For Beginners

For the students who would like to improve their essay writing skills through the use of examples, here are some tips that can make the exercise more fruitful:

Find the sample essays

The luckiest among you will be handed a stack of exquisite sample essays curated by your teacher with helpful tips written in the margins to show you how to proceed. Assuming this has not happened, you can go to the library, search the web or even look into writing text books for sample essays to work from.

Sort your samples by quality

Having picked your samples, it’s a good idea to sort the ones you want to use in terms of quality. If a few terrible ones have made their way in, discard them now. If you have many wonderful samples, discard a few or pass them on to others so that you never feel too overwhelmed by the work you need to do.

Analyze your better samples

The samples that remain should represent the best of several different types of writing. Look for their common traits and make a record of them. Some of these will stand out to you immediately and others will take a while to notice. You may even notice that a particular paper stands out for a trait that is outstanding but missing from the others. This should also be carefully noted.

Start emulating them

Now that you know what makes the samples great, start writing your own essays in a way that incorporates the things you liked best. Keep a checklist hand if this will keep you on track more effectively.


Having written a few essays on your own you can turn the same powers of analysis you used on the samples onto your own work. Refer to your checklist and see how closely you followed your own rubric.

Create your own style

At this point you would have created a writing style that is basically an amalgam of the works of the sample writers. This is not a bad place to start off at but it won’t do if you want to become a great writer. For that you need to adopt your own style. This means understanding the checklist well enough to throw it away and work more intuitively.

Having passed the last stage in this process your work should be exceptional to all readers.