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You may have heard teachers in the past talk about the thesis statement. The thesis statement is a sentence that summarizes the main point of your essay and previews your supporting points. The thesis statement is important because it guides your readers from the beginning of your essay by telling them the main idea and supporting points of your essay.

Generally, the thesis statement is the final sentence of your introduction. Sometimes, it is a good idea to use two sentences. For example, you might identify your main point in one sentence and then identify your supporting points in a second sentence. (Some might call this second sentence a preview sentence.) Other times, your thesis statement will only be one sentence. Either is acceptable, but remember that you need a clear thesis statement at the end of your introduction so that your reader understands your main point and knows what to expect from the rest of your essay.

To create your thesis statement, consider the following.

What is the essay prompt asking you to do? (It will be helpful to look at the key words that you’ve underlined). Are you being asked to describe something, compare the advantages of disadvantages of a topic, argue an opinion, or something else?

After you have a good grasp of what the prompt is asking, you should figure out how you will respond. You may have heard teachers refer to this stage as pre-writing. At this stage, you should brainstorm many ideas. You won’t necessarily use all of the ideas you come up with, but it’s helpful to have lots of ideas to choose from when planning your essay. After you have gathered many ideas, you’ll work on figuring out your main idea. Even though you may feel rushed to begin writing right away, it’s important to take some time to go through this step to make sure you have an interesting main idea and plenty of supporting points.

You might use one or both of the following methods to gather your ideas. Experiment with both of them to see what best helps you brainstorm your ideas.

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Think about each of these questions in relation to the sample essay topic.

What is the essay prompt asking you to do?

The sample essay question asks the writer to identify one goal and explain how she or he will achieve it.

What is your main idea?

For example, if you're writing an essay about your career goals and you're in the middle of a career transition, your main idea might on getting a better job.

What are your subpoints?

Our example writer has chosen three subpoints to support her main idea: (1) finish school, (2) prepare a resume, and (3) search for jobs.

Your thesis statement should respond directly to the essay prompt and sum up your main idea. It is also helpful to preview your subpoints in the thesis statement. So, once you have everything identified (what the essay prompt is asking you to do, what your main point is, and what your subpoints are), you can put it altogether. A thesis statement for the sample essay topic might sound like this:


Think about each of these questions in relation to the sample essay topic.

What is the essay prompt asking you to do?

The sample essay question asks the writer to identify one goal and explain how she or he will achieve it.

What is your main idea?

For example, if you're writing an essay about your career goals and you're in the middle of a career transition, your main idea might on getting a better job.

What are your subpoints?

Our example writer has chosen three subpoints to support her main idea: (1) finish school, (2) prepare a resume, and (3) search for jobs.

Your thesis statement should respond directly to the essay prompt and sum up your main idea. It is also helpful to preview your subpoints in the thesis statement. So, once you have everything identified (what the essay prompt is asking you to do, what your main point is, and what your subpoints are), you can put it altogether. A thesis statement for the sample essay topic might sound like this:

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Choosing a main idea and subpoints, creating an outline, and producing a thesis statement and topic sentences are all great first steps to writing a successful GED essay. The solid foundation you make during the planning phase of your writing process is extremely important. But what comes next? Remember the third criterion that essay readers use to score your essay: development and details. While writing your essay, you must develop and support your ideas with details. This lesson provides tips for using details develop and support the main ideas you discovered during the planning phase and to expand the outline you created while planning.

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Your thesis statement will identify your main idea and preview the rest of your essay. Remember that this can be either one or two sentences. You will probably place your thesis at the end of your introduction paragraph. You can use the other sentences in your introduction to introduce your topic, create interest, and provide necessary background information.

Let's look again at the sample essay topic from Lesson 1 and Lesson 2.

Sample Essay Topic

What is one important goal you would like to achieve in the next few years?

In your essay, identify that one goal and explain how you plan to achieve it. Use your personal observations, experience, and knowledge to support your essay.

The paragraph below is an example introduction for this topic. As you read, think about what each sentence does within the paragraph. What sentence(s) introduce the topic and create interest? What sentence(s) provide background information? What sentence(s) identify the main idea and preview the rest of the essay?

"Making goals for myself and working toward them keeps me on my toes and makes my life interesting. There are many goals that I would like to achieve throughout my life. I have begun working toward many of them by looking into going back to school and thinking about what I’d like to do for a career. One major goal I would like to accomplish in the next few years is getting a better job. My plan to get a better job is to finish school, prepare a resume, and then search for jobs."

Notice how the first two sentences introduce the topic and create interest in it. The third sentence provides some background information for the reader. Although this background information might not be absolutely necessary, it gives the reader some background for the essay and also creates interest in the topic. The final two sentences identify the main idea and preview the rest of the essay. Notice also the movement from general to specific in this paragraph. When you read carefully through the paragraph, you’ll notice that each sentence is a bit more specific than the last. It’s a good idea to move from general to specific like this in your introduction.

Now try writing your own introduction. Use the sample essay topic, the brainstorming, and the outline work you completed in Lessons 1 and 2 to help you. Remember to include two or three sentences that introduce your topic, create interest, and provide necessary background information. Finally, include one or two sentences that identify your main idea and preview the rest of your essay.

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How to Write a Research Paper (with Sample Research …

You may have heard teachers in the past talk about the thesis statement. The thesis statement is a sentence that summarizes the main point of your essay and previews your supporting points. The thesis statement is important because it guides your readers from the beginning of your essay by telling them the main idea and supporting points of your essay.

Generally, the thesis statement is the final sentence of your introduction. Sometimes, it is a good idea to use two sentences. For example, you might identify your main point in one sentence and then identify your supporting points in a second sentence. (Some might call this second sentence a preview sentence.) Other times, your thesis statement will only be one sentence. Either is acceptable, but remember that you need a clear thesis statement at the end of your introduction so that your reader understands your main point and knows what to expect from the rest of your essay.

To create your thesis statement, consider the following.

What is the essay prompt asking you to do? (It will be helpful to look at the key words that you’ve underlined). Are you being asked to describe something, compare the advantages of disadvantages of a topic, argue an opinion, or something else?

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After you have brainstormed about your topic to find many ideas, you must choose a main idea for your essay. A main idea is the major point you will make in your essay. Your essay will also have subpoints, but each subpoint will support this major point. It is very important that your essay have a main idea. It is also very important that your main idea responds adequately to the prompt provided.

Look at your idea map or list and ask yourself the following questions:

What are the connections between the different ideas in my map/list?

In the example map and list, it is clear that getting a better job, finishing school, and learning a new language are all connected.

What major idea in my map/list has the most subpoints?

In the example map and list, getting a better job has the most subpoints. Learning a new language and finishing school also have many subpoints. Since both learning a new language and finishing school are connected to getting a better job, they could also be seen as subpoints of the main idea getting a better job.

What idea in my map/list interests me most and/or do I feel most strongly about?

Based on the number of subpoints, it seems like getting a better job is most interesting to the author of the example map and list.

What main idea best responds to the prompt provided?

All of the ideas in the example map and list respond fairly well to the prompt because they all identify goals that could be achieved in the next few years. Keeping in touch with family and friends may not be as related to the prompt. This is a goal that most people will have throughout a lifetime, not just throughout the next few years.

After you choose a main idea for your essay, write a sentence that reflects this main idea and responds to the prompt provided. Your main idea might sound like:

An important goal I would like to achieve in the next few years is getting a better job.

Now you practice! Look over the idea map and list you created with the sample essay topic. Use the questions above to review your brainstormed ideas, choose a main idea, and write a main idea sentence.

For more information about responding to a writing prompt, please visit these Purdue OWL resources:

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Notice that the first sentence restates the thesis. The second and third sentences summarize the essay’s subpoints. Finally, the fourth sentence leaves the reader with an interesting final impression.

No new information is presented in this paragraph. Instead, the writer sums up what has been written so far and leaves the reader with a last thought. While the content of the paragraph is very similar to the introduction, the paragraph itself is not exactly the same. This is important. Even though the goal of the conclusion is to restate a lot of the information from the introduction, it should sound different because the conclusion’s purpose is slightly different from the introduction.

Practice writing a conclusion using the sample essay topic and the thesis statement. Remember to support the points you have gathered. Remember to restate your thesis, summarize your subpoints, and leave the reader with an interesting final impression.

For more information development and details, please visit these Purdue OWL resources:

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Eventually your ideas will be thought through, outlines planned and re-planned, main points developed, written down on paper, then rewritten, and finally given to your tutor. Nevertheless your work on the essay has not yet finished. Once the essay has been graded and returned it is very important that you do not merely look at the grade you have received before putting it at the bottom of your files. Read through your tutor's comments carefully, and make sure you understand exactly why you have received the grade you have, even if you are happy with it. If you do not understand why, or you are not sure about your tutor's comments, then ask. If it is not possible to ask during class or you would prefer to talk privately go to your tutor during office hours, or make an appointment if these clash with other classes. Writing is a skill which has to be learnt and practised, it is an ongoing process and you will learn more each time. Follow up work once the essay has been returned is an important part of this process.

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