It`s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don`t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.
The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader`s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.
The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader`s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.
Some students react to the time pressure of essay exams by scribbling down their introduction as soon as they`ve read the question and figuring out their points as they go. While it might seem counter-intuitive, taking five or ten minutes before you start writing in order to draw up a plan will be an enormous time saver.
If you realize that you`re falling dangerously behind schedule, it might be necessary to cut some arguments or examples you planned to include. Although making these omissions can be painful, it`s better to leave out a few points from one section than to leave out an entire paragraph because you ran out of time.
For this reason, it can be helpful to simulate the conditions of a timed exam before the actual day: pick a practice question, find some lined paper, set a stopwatch, and see how you do!