An overwhelming majority of 300 word essays belongs to the realm of class assignments. On one hand, it is a very suitable format for students - in fact, the shortest one - to demonstrate their writing skills, knowledge and ability to come up with a reasonable opinion, without having to spend too much time for this task. And, on the other hand, it also suits a teacher as such essays don’t take much time to read, giving them just an excellent opportunity to quickly evaluate the skills and knowledge of the students.
However, the simplicity and convenience of a 300 word essay format can set up a trap for a student whose mind is not disciplined enough, or who has yet to develop a good habit to write in this format. Even the brightest students may fail this task if they have not bothered to sort out a line of the questions: What does a 300 word essay look like? How long does it take to write it? What to start from and how to proceed? How to structure it? How many pages in a 300 word essay do I have to write? Find out this all first, then get to work, and not the other way around.
If you are a student making good progress in your study area, it does not mean that you will automatically write a good essay. Remember that a thorough knowledge of a topic is only a table stake, a necessary but insufficient condition for such assignments. You can still make some serious mistakes.
You can easily write too much and go too wordy with unnecessary explanations in the intro part, having to reduce the other parts of the essay in volume and, generally, spending too much time for the whole task. Too lengthy intros and jammed outros usually originate from the idea that a student needs to show as much of his knowledge as possible, while a three-hundred-word format is certainly not suitable for this purpose.
Another possible mistake of a good student is writing too obscure and tongue-tied essays as the student might think that the text is self-explanatory for the teacher. In this case, the student can miss the necessary amplification and cut his essay too short.
It is important to emphasize here that both mistakes are related to a wrong assumption that 300-word essays are written for the teacher. In fact, they are, as the teacher is supposed to evaluate them. But you should write your essay as if it is not meant for your teacher, but for your colleague or peer. For example, for another student from your group, who may be less successful than you are and who needs some more explanations and guidance through the topic. Or, alternatively, for a student who is not from your group, but who needs to be briefed on the topic.
This ‘not for your teacher’ advice is very old but still very practical. It is quite difficult to tell when it was introduced, but it has helped through generations of students and teachers. Your teacher can ask you to write your essay in ‘not-for-your-teacher’ style, or may not mention this idea. But you’d better use it anyway. Just because it works well. Later on, when you become great at essay-writing, you will develop the skills, the feeling and the taste needed. But be careful with your first essays and use this advice.
Teachers use different methods to assign essay-writing tasks. Sometimes they give a specific topic. Sometimes they would give you a choice from a list of several different ones. When you have a choice, pick up a topic you have the most to say about. It will be easier to constrict your writing than to expand it. There are a lot of interesting informative speech topics to choose from on the web.
On a few occasions, the teacher would ask you to suggest your own topic within a given range of agendas and issues in the discipline you currently study. This is an extremely good sign meaning that your teacher trusts you with a difficult job of setting the problem up - which, in fact, already contains 50% of the whole work. Coming up with your own topic is challenging and inspiring at the same time. You may try to approach your teacher with it even if you are given a topic or a selection from the list. Teachers generally welcome such an initiative as it is a clear sign that the student is already able to think for oneself, to formulate problems, and to solve them.
Research your topic. Even taking into account that a 300-word essay is a short writing task, you should research it thoroughly. The better you navigate your topic, the easier it is for you to make up the plan of your work and to structure it in a proper way. When you feel you could write not a 300-word essay but a good serious long-read article on this topic - you are ready for your short essay. This is the power of doing good research: once you do it, you will have a good command of the material and the ability to effectively structure your work.
But doing your research, don’t consider yourself satisfied with just a couple of borrowed ideas you might get from the sources you find. Try to go deeper and wider. Deeper in the analysis, preferably adding some of your own reasoning. And wider in coverage, trying to piece together a holistic, not a patchy view on the matter. This will have a good effect on your essay as it will show your awareness of the topic.
But before you start writing, you should formulate your thesis statement. This is the point of view your essay would espouse, the main idea of your work, or just a direction it is heading to. Then choose several main points supposed to support your thesis. Develop and put down a list of ideas, notions or concepts working for your thesis statement, then cross most of them out, leaving only two or three - that will be enough for a 300-word essay.
Your thesis statement and supporting points you have developed represent the most valuable part of your essay. Dedicate a substantial part of your essay to them - it can be about 200 words. Write this first. And only then write a good introduction.
Even good students often make this mistake: they start with an intro without exactly knowing what the main part of the essay would say. It involves a need to substantially redo the intro, or even to replace it with a new one. But even if not, your intro will take more time and efforts if the main body of your essay is not written yet. Once you have your thesis statement and supporting ideas ready, introduce the topic to the reader and tell your thesis - that is all a good introduction is about. Some fifty words will be enough for it.
The outro, or the conclusion, is also important. You don’t need more than 50 words to wrap things up. The best advice here is to dedicate your outro to showing how exactly your points support your thesis statement, summarizing it all briefly.
Editing your essay is also very important. A good idea is to re-read it a day or two after you finish it. That is why you should try to reserve at least a couple of days before a deadline. Good students know it well. Having re-read your essay with a fresh eye in a day or two after it is finished, you would definitely want to change something - not even mentioning the mistakes and typos made in a rush to finish. Sometimes even small changes made in order to highlight some key points better can make your essay unexpectedly much more convincing.
Don’t worry about the pages too much. A well-formatted 300-words-long printed text is about one page. Or two-three pages of handwriting. That is how long your 300-word essay should appear. Finish your first assignment as we advise, and you won’t ever ask a question like: “What does a 300 word essay look like?”
You can find some indications that writing your 300-word essay takes about 1 hour, but it is just not true. Re-read what is written above and agree that you need more time. Don’t forget that your mind works on your task even when you are not aware of that and are doing something else - provided you have loaded it with the respective info beforehand. So the advice is to do your research and put down some notes. Spend up to 1 hour for it.
Then come back to the task on the next day and go along with its main part - your thesis statement and supporting points, and write down your 200 words still on that day, or on the next one. But your main part will take up to 2 hours spent over one or two days. Writing the intro and the outro could take half an hour more on one day, and editing - half an hour more on the next day. So you would have to spend up to 4 hours (maybe 2, if you are very good on the topic). Anyway, spreading over the workload to 3-4 days is the best plan to work on your 300-words essay.
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