Prompts that will help you write a great conclusion for an essay
A great conclusion to your essay is one of the most important things your essay can have. Do remember, it’s the very last thing that your marker will read before marking your essay. You need to ensure that your conclusion leaves an outstanding impression with the marker. It needs to be well argued, concise, offer a summary of your key points and finish on a final convincing argument that leaves the reader in no doubt that all the points you’ve made throughout have built up to this. Follow these useful prompts that will help you to write a great conclusion:
- Start by letting the reader know that this is your conclusion by announcing it with a phrase such as: ‘in conclusion’, ‘to conclude’, ‘to summarize the key points of this essay’…
- Briefly recap your essay question, to show how you have addressed this, and lend a sense of coming full-circle and closing the topic.
- Remind the reader what were some of the key salient points that your essay made. What was the main message that your essay conveyed – it’s good to re-iterate this here in your conclusion so the reader is in no doubt of its importance and usefulness.
- Your conclusion should be reasonably substantial and not appear as though it was rushed, or that you’re bored of writing your essay now. It should be as carefully crafted as your introduction.
- Don’t let your conclusion be vague and have a ‘sitting-on-the-fence’ ending – this is unsatisfactory to the marker. It’s best to come down on one side of an argument. It doesn’t matter so much if your reader disagrees with your argument, so long as your argument is convincingly put across, and supported with evidence throughout.
- Use positive language that shows you believe in your argument. Say firmly that X is the case, rather than using redundant vague language which says: ‘it could be argued’
- Sometimes students are tempted to use a ‘quote’ at the end of their essay. I would mostly advise against this. It’s good to use well-referenced quotes throughout your work, but your conclusion should be to sum up your thoughts, in your own words, not someone else’s.
- Don’t introduce topics you’ve not previously covered in your essay, in your conclusion – your conclusion should be to re-cap and re-emphasize your key argument that you’ve built up throughout.
- In your conclusion leave the reader in no doubt as to why the topic you’ve written about is important, significant and ideally how your approach is original and different to what other people have done before.
- Depending on your subject area, it can sometimes be useful to raise some pertinent questions in your conclusion; to show how your research could be used in a wider context; and how it could be expanded upon, and developed further with more time and resources.
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