Before you start writing, think about what you want to say in your essay. Get an idea of what you want to say in your introduction, main body and conclusion. If the topic has already been given, you can immediately start thinking about the topic and the assignment.
You will be told whether you should write a summary, a discussion or possibly an interpretation. It is different with homework, here the teachers sometimes give you the opportunity to think up the topic yourself. Look up for material you know well. It will be much easier for you to write about something you are interested in. Then think about what information you need for your topic. Sort out your thoughts and write them down in bullet points.
If you are dealing with a text at hand, it is very important that you read through it several times before you start writing. Afterwards, look for linguistic conspicuities and rhetorical stylistic devices and think about what they might mean. With the help of a mind map, it will be easy for you to structure the key points. If you don't remember the linguistic meaning of some parts of the text, don't worry. Take the things that you can read out and that come to your mind. It is better to analyze fewer stylistic devices and to explain the meaning of the text with few words and a high expressiveness. This way you can condense your texts. Once you have familiarized yourself with the topic and organized your bullet points, it is time to start writing.
The most common types of essays
Interpretation: It means the interpretation of a text. There is always a given text, such as a poem, a play or a novel, or possibly a short story. In an interpretation, the passage to be interpreted must fit into the context. Particularly, what linguistic means are used. In case of poems, information is given about the time and place where the event took place. The author is also not disregarded.
An interpretation is structured either chronologically or thematically. If you choose chronological order, then you go through all the events that appear in the text one by one. The thematic order is different, here you create thematic blocks and work on them one after the other. You do not just name some points, but analyze them.
A discussion is a statement about a topic or a question. You should understand the difference between the text-bound and free discussion. In the introduction you formulate your main question in both forms, in the main part you then discuss your arguments for or against. For each argument you need a thesis (children from socially disadvantaged families have poor educational opportunities), and then consolidate it with the help of examples (parents cannot pay for tutoring). At the end you summarize the results of your discussion, offer a solution and round off your thoughts.
In a text-based discussion, you have the text at hand, a specific question and various arguments are already available. It is important that you filter out the linguistic means, that your arguments are structured coherently and that they are presented in a comprehensible way. In addition, you should support your thesis and arguments with examples and give your own opinion.
In a characterization, you describe behavior, thoughts and actual characteristics of a person. You try to draw conclusions about their character traits. You also take into account the external appearance and the social situation, as well as the way of thinking of the character and bundle their characteristics, showing the inner world of their character. At the end, you can give your own assessment. You always work on a characterization from the outside in. This means first the external characteristics, and then you move in small steps towards the innermost.