Step by Step Guide on How to Write a First-Class Essay

For an essay to be considered first-class, it must have a 70% grade or higher.

In some situations, you must attain 75% to have a first-class essay.

Many students find this percentage very high, and it is impossible to attain this for them.

It would help if you did not give up on getting a first-class essay because there are main ways students can do this to attain it.

This guide will highlight various steps that you need to undertake to help you in writing first class essays.

The steps are systematic and easy to read.

Take your time and familiarize yourself with the steps, and you will be assured of getting first class essays.

Step 1: Understand the Marking Criteria

Understanding the criteria, you should meet when writing a first-class essay is very important.

Many students are unaware of this, and that’s why they may not attain the first-class qualification.

Consider taking your time and getting every information that you need to know the criteria you should meet to be awarded a first-class.

Get to know what a marker expects of you to attain a first.

When you have this information, you will be able to write a first-class paper by meeting these points.

Take your time and read your course handbook because most of these criteria are highlighted in the book.

It is also important to consider your essay question because there may be additional information on your expectations.

Ensure you don’t take any information for granted when writing the essay.

The criteria that are mostly highlighted by the marker in writing an essay include;

  • Content criteria
  • Presentation of the essay
  • Referencing Styles
  • Critical analysis
  • Technical knowledge
  • Grammar and spelling
  • The structure and coherence of the essay and many others.

Ensuring you understand every criterion is very important because you will not give any room for assumption.

Understand that every essay has its own criteria, and assuming one is related to the other is a bad idea.

As you write down your essay, ensure you are conversant with every criterion used for marking.

When you follow the criteria, you will progress towards getting the first-class essay grade you want.

Step 2: Put Some Thought into Choosing Your Question

When choosing your essay question, you must put it into considerable thought.

Don’t just select a question because you are familiar with it or it sounds interesting.

Interest and familiarity have their part in the essay, but there are more important things that you need to look for when choosing your question.

When selecting a topic, it is important to ensure it is manageable.

In selecting a question on a topic, choose one that is narrow because broad questions may make you get out of the topic.

To reduce the chances of Steering off your topic, ensure you take time and choose a question you can manage.

It would help if you considered this because you may not earn a first-class when you get out of the topic.

Confirm that there is enough literature on the topic you have selected for your essay to have a supportive document.

Using reputable and enough academic sources and those of a high standard is very important to get a first-class paper.

Take your time and ensure you have accessibility to the various materials you require for the topic.

Ensure that you have done this before starting your project so that you can save time as you write it.

Some topics are special and may require you to conduct primary research because there is very little literature for the topics.

You can consider avoiding such topics because they will consume a lot of time which you do not have.

Primary research may take a lot of time because you need to ensure you have rigorously demonstrated your methodologies.

Step 3: Understand the Question

How well are you able to understand your question?

One of the reasons why students fail in essays is a lack of understanding of their essay questions.

Essay questions are posed using directive words.

Directive words include an outline, critically analyze, and many others.

Familiarize yourself with these directive words to know what is required of you on the essay question.

Consider thinking carefully about the following questions.

  • “Assess”

When you have an essay question that has assess, you need to take a critical approach.

You are expected to highlight the main features of the question and devoid of bias.

Evaluate the extent of the essay question highlighting viewpoints that may be contrary to yours.

This way, you will demonstrate the critical engagement required to attain a first-class essay.

  • “Discuss”

Discuss is a very sensitive directive word and requires you to have the skill and knowledge to tackle it.

Think critically about the question that is being posed.

While writing an essay with this directive word, it is important to back your position with evidence.

Discuss, as a directive word; you are expected to determine the role of the essay question and its influence.

There are many more directive words you can find in essays, and familiarizing yourself with them and getting to know what is expected of you will save you writing an essay.

Familiarizing yourself is very important because you will have the knowledge to tackle an essay question.

When you have answered essay questions wrongly, you will certainly reduce your chances of getting the first class.

When you cannot understand your essay question, you must consult your tutor so that you can think through the question and get clarity.

Please do not assume anything concerning as a question or even refresh it for your own good.

When you do this, you will be drifting from a first-class score.

Step 4: Quality of Sources and Referencing System

It is important to read widely concerning the subject when you understand your essay question.

While doing your literature review, you must stay focused on the topic.

In writing a first-class essay, it is important to show that you are conversant with the subject.

Where applicable, you must provide theoretical and empirical literature.

Use textbooks, journals, articles, and any other new sources that you can get concerning your subject.

Journals are very important because they can provide the current research concerning your topic.

This is because they are frequently published.

Remember to check the marking criteria when referencing so that you may be on the right track.

Most of the time, when it comes to referencing and getting sources, using academic as opposed to online sources is preferable. Also, employ excellent use of citation.

You need to consider academic sources because not all information can be reliable on the online platform.

Consider the reputation of academic scholars and databases.

You can also consider incorporating primary research of your own.

Ensure your essay is well-researched.

You can consider using the recommended reading list on your essay question.

When working on your essay, having a reading list is very important because it will give you direction.

A reading list may be under various categories.

These categories are;

Essential Reading

Some essay questions will require you to use specific important books in completing your course.

It is important to consider the books that have been categorized as essential when writing your essay.

Make a point of using the book because you may lose some marks if you avoid it.

This may reduce the chances of getting first-class.

Further Reading

After you have done essential reading, you can consider getting other sources to help you with the same subject.

These Readings are recommended by your supervisor and should be the foundation of your wide Reading.

These readings are very important because they help you get insights concerning the essay and give you a different perspective.

Some further reading materials may be general, and you may not require them in your essay.

While doing further reading, you can narrow down the scope of your question so that you can get good content.

When it comes to referencing your sources, you must consider the needed criteria.

Ensure that in writing your essay, you do reference correctly.

Be careful in this section because when you fail to reference correctly, you may lose marks, leading to not getting the first-class.

Familiarize yourself with the referencing styles required to be easy for you to do referencing.

When you do reference properly, you will get the required points, which may propel you to getting the first-class.

Referencing also assures the reader that you have not plagiarized your work.

Plagiarism is an offense when it comes to writing an essay, and it can lead to the termination of your paper.

Step 5: Depth of Knowledge

You may have a good collection of sources for your essay, but you don’t have the required knowledge.

Ensure that you read your sources properly to display your understanding of your essay.

Being able to display your viewpoint will make the reader know that you are aware of what you are talking about.

While reading, you must refer back to the essay question to use the information that is necessary to the subject you’re writing about.

Step 6: Frame Your Argument Coherently

As you read your literature sources, you will be able to form an opinion concerning the research.

It is important always to keep the essay question in mind so that your viewpoints may be within this category.

Ensure that your arguments and answers are structured coherently.

When you do this, the marker will be able to follow your arguments step-by-step as he will be able to gain insights into your thought process.

Being able to reason through essay writing and thinking skillfully will bring a wider perspective concerning your subject, which is very important in bringing coherent opinions.

Keeping the opinions of other scholars in mind is very important because it will show that you have read and done your research correctly.

When writing critical essays, being critical and focused will be of importance.

When writing an essay, to attain a first-class, it is not all about descriptions.

When writing a descriptive essay, what is required of you is to describe and summarize the arguments.

To write a first-class essay, you need to show your viewpoint, arguments, critics, and defend the essay question.

You can consider showing any opposition that you have concerning your arguments and, at the same time, show why you are standing on your viewpoints.

This is a sign of doing good research.

Make sure while situating your argument, you are within the literature framework.

Ensure that you include theoretical and conceptual frameworks as this is academic writing.

Step 7: Structure Carefully

You need to think carefully about the structure of your essay.

To create documents logically, you need to have a well-structured essay.

The structure of a first-class essay should have an introduction to a body and a conclusion.


In this part, you should provide a brief background concerning the paper.

You should also state your research question here.

Citing the research aims is also important in the introduction part.

When you can describe the focus of your essay in the introduction, you will be aiming for a first-class score.

Make sure that your introduction is as brief as possible.

When highlighting your points, let them be straightforward.

An introduction is all about summarizing the reader’s expectation of your essay.

For a first-class essay, you must include a thesis statement that will explain your arguments concerning your paper.

Main Body

A body contains some paragraphs that explain the advanced argument of your paper.

This is the section where you provide answers to your essay question.

You should explicitly give out details and your arguments concerning the essay question.

When writing paragraphs, you must ensure you are not too lengthy.

Ensure that every paragraph has an important point to be discussed to avoid confusion.

This way, you will maintain a well-focused and coherent essay.

While starting a paragraph, you must start with an introduction that summarizes your point of argument.

Your arguments and key points will influence the number of paragraphs you will have on your essay.

When you write a good body, you will have a high chance of being awarded first-class on your essay.


The conclusion is the final step to writing an essay.

It summarizes what you have been talking about in the body.

Summarizing your paper’s key findings will help you get the first-class in your essay.

Being able to show the implications of the research findings and arguments for literature is also important.

The marker will be assured that you have done good research on your subject when you do.

This also shows that you know how your research fits within the research community.

It is also important that you provide recommendations for future research if there is a gap that your university-level paper did not discuss.

Step 8: Clarity and Style

When writing a first-class essay, your writing style is fundamental.

Ensure that you engage the reader with your writing Style.

Use the right technical terms that have academic terminologies.

The use of formal language is expected in your essay.

Reading through various journals to see the writing style is very important because it will help you with your essay.

Academic terms are very important when writing an essay, and it is important to familiarize yourself by reading various journals.

When writing, you must maintain the third person.

A first-class essay will demonstrate a high level of technical knowledge.

A solid argument and an accurate structure will also demonstrate a first-class essay.

Consider the academic style required when it comes to referencing so that you can do this correctly.

Cross-checking with the essay criteria is very important because you will be following the requirements of the essay.

Ensure that you are as professional as possible while conveying your argument.

In the paragraph section, ensure that they are well linked for progression.

Step 9: Proper Presentation

Proper presentation is very important when writing an essay in which you want to achieve a first-class score.

Be organized and ensure you’re following the academic requirements when it comes to the presentation of your essay.

Consider the specifications given on line spacing, font size, and margin.

Ensure you adhere to this requirement so that you can be on your way to achieving first-class.

Do proofreading to ensure that your ungrammatical writing is free from grammatical errors and spelling.

Step 10: Originality

You will demonstrate your originality on the paper through your critical reasoning skills.

Ensure that you have a well-thought-out argument that is original.

When demonstrating your arguments, you must ensure they are clear, conscious, and formal.

Confidence is also a key factor in originality as you express your opinion.

Use examples and data to back up your arguments.

Avoid summarizing arguments available in the literature and use your ability to think critically and independently for originality purposes.

When you summarize the literature, you may lose a lot of marks because the marker cannot trace your point of view in the argument.

Tips for writing a first-class essay

There is no set formula for writing a first-class essay, but the following guidelines will help you to get the right balance and include all the essential elements.

  1. Use clear English. This means using simple words and sentences, avoiding jargon and technical terms where appropriate. Avoid complex constructions (e.g. “The research undertaken by many academics in the field of business studies has demonstrated that X is very important”) and replace them with simple ones (e.g. “Many academics have shown that X is very important”). You should always avoid contractions such as “don’t” or “can’t”.
  2. Write in paragraphs. Each paragraph should be about one idea or aspect of an idea, and it should be clear how your paragraphs fit together – like bricks in a wall. The opening sentence of each paragraph is known as the topic sentence and it should indicate to the reader what will be discussed in that paragraph. The topic sentence is also used to show how this particular point relates to the main argument or question being addressed in the essay (i.e., it should link back to your introduction). The lack of links makes different aspects of the essay look incoherent. For example, if you are writing a history essay on medieval warfare, then your first paragraph might begin with something like: “During medieval times knights were constantly involved in battle.”
  3. Know your essay’s structure. The structure is essential for a first-class essay – you need to have clear ideas about the order in which points will be presented and how they will be linked. If you’re unclear at this stage, it’s worth taking the time to work out a plan. The best essays are characterized by a clear line of argument throughout – I don’t really buy the idea that essays should present both sides of a question. I’d much rather read an essay that went off in an unexpected but interesting direction than one that plodded dutifully along a prescribed course. Start with a clear thesis statement
  4. Always read the question and make sure you understand what you are being asked to do. If the instruction is to ‘discuss’, don’t write a list of all the possible meanings of the word ‘discuss’. If the instruction is to ‘compare’, don’t write an essay that simply describes how two things are similar.
  5. Proofread your work carefully. Spelling and basic grammar mistakes can lose easy marks; but more importantly, they will distract the examiner from what you have written – particularly if they occur frequently in the same sentence or paragraph. If there is time, leave your essay aside for a day or so before proofreading. It is easier to spot mistakes on a fresh piece of paper than on an essay that you have just finished writing.
  6. Read the syllabus. If you’re really in trouble, call your professor. Don’t wait until the last minute to write your essay! Give yourself plenty of time. You’re much less likely to make silly mistakes if you’re not rushed.
  7. Outline what you want to say before you start writing. This will prevent you from wandering off-topic. A well-written essay should have at least three main components: an introduction, a body of several paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction sets the tone of the entire essay and should be very compelling. The body paragraphs should each deal with one idea or aspect of an idea and should follow on from each other in a logical sequence. The conclusion is often your final chance to convince your reader to agree with your point of view.
  8. If you can, get feedback on your essay before you turn it in. Ask a friend or family member who knows good grammar and spelling to review it for you, too. You might even ask your professor what they expect to see in the essay, as a final tip.

Things All Examiners See in Bad Essays

When you are writing an essay, you must bear in mind the examiners. What do they want to see? They want to see that you can organize your thoughts and that you can express them coherently. If they were writing the essay, what would they like to see?

There are many things that all examiners see in bad essays. It is important to consider each of these points when writing an essay.

1. Poor planning

Always plan your essay before you start writing. Planning does not mean writing full sentences; you should just have an idea of the main points you are going to cover. This will help you to focus on the question, and it will be easier for you to write a good essay.

Planning ahead also makes it possible for you to stay on topic throughout your essay. You will avoid unnecessary detours along the way and stick to the subject of your paper. This is what most students fail to do when they sit down to write their essays.

2. Weak structure

You must have a clear structure in your essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Each paragraph in the body of the essay should start with a topic sentence that states the main point of that paragraph. The fluidity of your essay should be evident with the paragraphs flowing logically from one point to another. If you are presenting different points of view make sure they are clearly separated and that each point is discussed fully and supported with evidence.

3. Failure to address the question

It is essential that you keep referring back to the question in order to answer it fully. You should not deviate from the question, as this will result in a poor mark. The examiner needs to see that you understand what is being asked of you and also that you have thought about how to answer it. You must show your understanding of key terms or concepts in the question; this shows that you

4. Lack of a clear thesis

In the introduction, a thesis statement should be stated. This thesis statement should be clear and precise and should address the main argument of your essay.

When you write an essay, you need to have a clear thesis. This is your argument. It’s what you’re going to prove to the reader. If you don’t have a clear idea of what your thesis is, the essay will be weak and unfocused. It will read like a summary of what you’ve found rather than an argument about it.

5. Deviation from the topic

It’s a good idea to write in some detail about the thing(s) that the question asks you to write about, and it’s also OK sometimes to mention other things too if they’re closely related to what has been asked for. But if a large proportion of your essay is taken up with discussions of stuff that isn’t really relevant, then it’s not going to get a first class grade.

6. Summarising without elaboration

Essays are not there for you to practice your summarising skills: they are there for you to show off how much you know about something and how well you can argue about it. That means analyzing or explaining

Essays should never be just a summary of what you’ve read or an unconnected series of arguments with no relation to each other. Examiners hate this because they know that they can easily find these summaries by doing a Google search or simply searching on Wikipedia. So if you do this, they’ll be able to tell immediately that you haven’t done any real work on your essay!

7. Lack of critical analysis

Well, first of all, it is important to critically analyze what has been asked. This means rather than just retelling the story, you will be required to evaluate it by showing how its ideas and concepts develop. Essentially, this means you will need to focus on the ideas and arguments that are presented, and not merely on the plotline or narrative.

A good essay will show evidence of critical thinking as well as independent thought. In other words, an examiner wants to see that you are able to critically engage with your chosen text. This is about demonstrating that you are able to make intelligent observations about a text based on the evidence available within it. It does not mean that you need to make sweeping generalizations about the text from the outset. Instead, it is important that you build up your own argument based on the evidence presented within the text.

8. Insufficient development of ideas

Another problem with essays is that there can be insufficient development of ideas. This means that your arguments may lack strength and credibility. It’s important that you explain the reasoning for your arguments. This helps to convince the examiner and will help you gain those crucial marks.

9. Failure to present opposing arguments

Examiners also see a lot of essays where students fail to present opposing arguments. A good essay should recognize that there might be another great way of looking at something, so don’t just focus on one side of the argument. You should acknowledge the opposing argument and explain why your argument is better – this will help to demonstrate your critical thinking skills as well as strengthen your own position.

10. Statements unsupported by evidence

This is the most common reason for a bad essay and it’s your own fault. You have made claims but you haven’t backed them up with evidence. If you don’t back up your claims, you’ll be guilty of making unsubstantiated assertions rather than arguing a case and no one will believe what you say.

11. Lack of background reading

Examiners want to see that you have done the reading before you write your essay; they want to see that you have come across more information than will fit into your essay. You should read as many primary sources as possible in addition to secondary sources; also, secondary sources should be supplemented by tertiary ones (e.g., encyclopedias and dictionaries).

If you don’t know what other people have said about a topic, how can you argue with them? How can you disagree? Obviously, if you don’t know the material, you won’t get a good grade. You’ll also sound very naive and uninformed – again, not good for your grade.

12. Poor transitions between paragraphs

Transitions between paragraphs must be smooth, not abrupt; they must signal what’s coming next (e.g., “In addition…” or “In contrast…”); they also foreshadow the end of an essay by summarizing what has already been said (e.g., “So far we’ve seen….”).

Signs That You’ve Written a First-Class Essay

  1. a wide-ranging knowledge and exceptional understanding of relevant material
  2. professional presentation, with footnotes and bibliography of a professional, scholarly standard
  3. a comprehensive and effective answer to the question
  4. confident handling of analytical terms and critical concepts
  5. strong structure and clear signposting maintained throughout
  6. lucid style and outstanding professional standard of English
  7. critical appraisal of a variety of relevant sources
  8. precise, focused argument
  9. accurate analysis and effective criticism of others’ arguments
  10. awareness of the academic debate surrounding the subject
  11. sound apprehension of context and rationale of ideas
  12. evidence of the independence of thought and/or original thinking

Final Thoughts!

You are likely to get a first-class essay when you follow the steps highlighted above.

The steps are easy to follow, and therefore you can read and reread them until you get the concept of writing your essay.

If there is any step you would want more clarification on, you can get in touch with us because we are here to help you.

When you read and understand these steps, you will be assured to get a first-class in your essay.

As essay writers, we have been able to help thousands of students in essay writing, and they have been able to achieve first class.

We are an essay writing service provider with a good reputation in the market, and we assure you of giving you the best services in your essay writing.

Our work is original and plagiarism free.

We have different experts specializing in different academic writing subjects so that you can get an essay on any subject.

We can provide customized services since we understand our clients have different requirements.

Get in touch with us and let us know how we can help you.


 Get Help from the Experts with your First Class Essay 

If you’re new to essay writing, or just struggling with your assignments, we are here to help. We offer a wide range of services from full writing and editing to proofreading and research.

Our expert writers have years of experience in their fields and can quickly and easily help you with your needs. Our services are comprehensive and flexible so you can use them for as long as you need them. Whether you’ve got a quick turnaround or need to stretch out your work over a few weeks, our writers can get the job done quickly and effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a first-class essay?

A first-class essay is one that is categorized by a grade of 70 percent or higher, though in some institutions the minimum requirement is 75 percent.

How do you get a first-class in every essay?

  1. Give yourself enough time. Many students write their essays in a hurry and they do not perform well. My advice, start early and give yourself at least two weeks to write your essay.
  2. Make sure you understand the question – ask the lecturer if you are unsure of what is required.
  3. Plan your answer and then write your essay. The most important and big thing to remember is to get your point across within the word limit – don’t waffle or try to say too much in one essay.
  4. Use examples where possible to support your point (but don’t include everything). You may need to do some research for this or think about examples from life experience/previous study for coursework essays.
  5. Don’t forget to reference the best sources you use!

How do you start your first essay?

Begin the first paragraph of your essay with a topic sentence that expresses the main point of your essay, the thesis statement, a kind of mini-outline for the essay; it tells the reader what the essay is about.

How do I write an essay?

The key to writing an essay is understanding and researching the question! Make sure you understand the question that has been asked, and what is being asked of you. Your essay should have an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

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