After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.
You should formulate your thesis statement—the central argument you`re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long.
Do your research: Read primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You`ll use these as evidence for your points.
However, this thinking process does not reflect the reality of the situation. In fact, even if your teacher hasn`t given you any hints about the essay question, you do know what it will be about: the concepts and ideas you`ve discussed in the course.
Although it may seem like a waste of time – especially during examswhere time is tight – it is almost always better to brainstorm a bit before beginning your essay. This should enable you to find the best supporting ideas – rather than simply the first ones that come to mind – and position them in your essay accordingly.
Therefore, if you take the time to review your notes and ensure you understand everything that was discussed, it should be difficult for the essay question to catch you off guard. As soon as you read the question, relevant course concepts will start popping into your head, and you`ll just have to organize them into a coherent essay.