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How to Write an A+ Process Essay from Scratch

The process essay is one of the first writing projects students encounter in composition courses. The assignment requires that you describe how to do something or describe how something happens. It’s a truly helpful writing form that shows readers how to do something they didn’t know before.

Here are a few things to know about how to write a process essay from scratch and get an A+:

  • Choose your topic. It’s important you choose something that you are an expert in as well as describing something that provides value and is interesting to your readers. Until you have some familiarity with this type of assignment, it’s best to choose a topic that isn’t too complicated. Even seemingly uncomplicated processes can be a lot more confusing when put into words. Take for example trying to write a process essay of how to tie your shoelaces. It’s not as easy as you first think.
  • Draft all of the steps necessary and organize them in sequence. At this point you want to write out every step needed to accomplish the “How” aspect of your topic. You should be as thorough as possible, considering every little detail. Put the steps in order and look for ways to combine or consolidate some steps. With even the most complicated topics each step should be no more than 3 – 4 sentences to keep readers from becoming confused.
  • Offer clear description of any tools or materials needed. If there are any tools or materials required to get to complete the process, be sure to list them immediately after your introduction and before the first step. Clearly state the “what type” or “what kind” of something is needed. For example, if you are describing how to build a birdhouse then you want to clearly state the types of wood and sizes that are required to build this model birdhouse.
  • Define any terms that readers may not know. Like the previous step, if there are any terms that need to be defined be sure to do this before starting with your steps. It’s advised that you don’t choose a topic that needs a lot of terms defined. Generally, if readers are expected to learn more than 3 new terms, then it’s more likely they will get confused along the way.
  • Provide a way of determining whether or not the process has worked. Give the reader a way to test the process steps. You can do this by describing in detail what it is they should have accomplished to this point. For more effective writing you should include progress checks every 3 or 4 steps.
  • Proofread and Revise. Read your essay and check for ways to edit useless information. The best process essays will be clear and concise, without containing any content that doesn’t directly achieve the paper’s intended goal of showing your readers how to do something. Check for grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes.
  • You shouldn’t find it too difficult to follow these guidelines if you have chosen a topic you are quite familiar with. Re-read the process essay a few times and try having a friend or family member read through and follow the steps. If they can’t follow the steps to success then perhaps there is a step or two that could be revised for effectiveness.

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