How to Write a 200 Word Short Essay

By: Tasha Kolesnikova

12 min



How to Write a 200 Word Short Essay

Writing a decent 200-word essay while in college can be quite challenging, especially if you don't feel inspired or can’t collect your thoughts. But don't worry - with the right approach to choosing ideas, preparing a draft, and then editing it, you will be able to write your own short story successfully.

The essay should start with an introduction, in which you need to identify the key points to attract the reader. These are the points of view that you will consider in the central part. If you want to learn how to write college essays, follow these guidelines.

Step 1 - Makeready

  • Positive environment

You must be ready to write. This is the first step in writing an essay quickly. It is vital to make sure that nothing distracts you and that you have everything you need (paper, computer) close at hand. Create the right environment. If you prefer to work in silence, it's best to head to the library. If you need background noise, turn on music, or work in a cafe.

  • Choice of theme

For a successful essay, you need to have a clear idea of it, so it is essential to decide on the topic. It's easiest to write about what interests you, so try to choose something that will pique your curiosity (if you have a choice). Your teacher can ask you a topic or allow you to pick it yourself. For a 200-word essay, it is crucial to choose a narrow topic to have time to consider it.

  • Collect materials

Working on the text may require the study of additional materials. Use the library, or search for information on the Internet.

If your teacher has given you specific instructions for writing your essay, you should be sure to follow all recommendations.

Step 2 - Create an Outline

  • Start with a thesis statement. Formulate the main idea in one sentence. You will embark on it. Think about who will be reading you (and what kind of explanation is needed), what needs to be mentioned first, and why the topic interests you.
  • You need to arm yourself with a notebook and a pen. You can use brainstorming. Write down all your thoughts in free form. Write whatever comes to mind. Don't think about what it looks like. Make sketches to shape them later.

Prompt: To capture your primary thoughts, try to limit yourself to time. For example, mark 5-10 minutes, and write without stopping. This will help you concentrate on your writing.

  • A diagram can help you. Place your main idea in the center of the page, and circle it. There may be a thesis statement. At this stage, it is important to highlight the central theme.

Prompt: Place related subtopics around the main topic. Try to draw at least 5-6 circles. Next to the subtopics, write down any associations you have. You will begin to notice the connections between topics and connect them with lines. This will create a kind of web, and you will be able to understand how your main ideas echo and what follows from this or that thought.

  • Rewrite your thoughts in a more explicit form - they should be deep and complete. Work your text and paragraph order carefully. What information should be communicated to the reader first? In what order should you place the paragraphs for the most convincing text?

Prompt: Often, a short text is the result of a quick jump to the main ideas without introductions and explanations that would prepare the reader.

Step 3 - Decide on Your Essay Writing Style

It is essential for writing a good essay. The style should match your theme. In order to convince the reader of the correctness of your research, it is not necessary to use expressive vocabulary. At the same time, we do not advise you to drop down to everyday speech; otherwise, you risk looking unprofessional. Although, if you are writing about personal matters, you can use more informal vocabulary.

The attitude towards what you write about is expressed in the essay writing style. It can be very different: neutral or enthusiastic, naive or skeptical, suspicious, or humorous. The main thing is that the writing style matches what you write about.

For example, if you are writing a serious essay about laboratory research, your writing style should be neutral and as objective as possible. Avoid making any judgments. But if you're thinking about dating on social media, use a more fluent style.

Step 4 - Composition

So, the preparatory stage has passed. You have understood your thoughts, arranged them, and are ready to write the essay's text.

  • Write the main part. This step is done fairly quickly if you have a plan. In our case, the main body usually contains one paragraph. It should support your claim. This part must include a supporting example. This is where you need to find the best arguments for your thesis. You need to keep within 3-5 sentences, which is about 100-120 words.
  • Now it will be much easier for you to write the introduction and the ending part. The introduction should become a reference point and be able to interest the reader in reading the entire work. The optimal number of sentences in the introduction is three. The first sentence grabs attention, serves as a pledge for the reader. In the second sentence, place words of support for the first one, and smoothly move to the thesis statement. The introductory paragraph can take approximately 60-70 words.
  • The conclusion ends the essay by reminding the reader of your reasons and their importance. Support the main idea, summarize what was said, and complete your text on an upbeat note. It can take two to three sentences, 40-50 words long.
  • It is worth noting that if the professor set you the task of writing a 200-word essay, this does not mean that there really should be exactly 200 words. If, in order to fully present your thought, you need a little more or fewer words, you can slightly deviate restrictions - within about 20 words.

Points to Note

  • The first sentence should interest and attract attention. So work on it. You can start with a showcase or a quote mark.
  • The language should be direct and concise. Don't write pompously. Make natural statements that are easy to apprehend. Don't use a whole phrase where you can leave one word. Use words that the reader understands. There is no point in artificially decorating an essay, relying on synonyms, because your arguments should be understandable.
  • You can make it easier to write an essay - just use a ready-made essay example. There will be a proposal template of 200-word work in front of you, with a well-developed format, style, and structure.
  • Don’t forget about the headline. The title should be brief but concise. It specifies the topic and should be simple and straightforward. It is essential to continually remember the headline during editing because good ideas are often born when reading the text.

Step 5 - Editing

Despite the small number of words in the essay, you can make a large number of mistakes. Therefore, at this stage, it is very important to check everything thoroughly.

  • Get distracted. Correct carefully, then reread the text again. Before doing this, your brain needs to rest. Clear your mind so that you can reasonably objectively evaluate your text during the editing process. It will be easier for you to spot mistakes with a fresh mind. Be sure to take a break from your work for at least a couple of minutes.
  • Use modern technology. Of course, you will definitely reread your essay to find and correct mistakes. But don't be afraid to use the spell checker. You just need to remember that after that, the paper should be re-read, since the program checks only the form, but not the content.
  • Read aloud. This may sound strange to you, but try reading your essay out loud. You can also ask a friend for help - let him listen to your text. This will help identify possible problems.
  • "Polish" the composition. Re-read the text again, get rid of all unnecessary things. The excellent editorial revision will help you focus on the key messages that need to be highlighted in the text.

Also, editing will give the work a professional look, logical structure, and organization.Are all ideas clearly expressed? Are the transitions read without a hitch? Have you fixed all the mistakes? And with all of this, you all fit within 200 words? If you are satisfied, then your work is completed!

How Long Is a 200 Word Essay?

When you are given the task to write this type of essay, you have already been limited to the word count - up to 200. We will try to orient you in more detail, what size of the text you need to follow.

We can talk about the length of the essay in two parameters:

  • the number of paragraphs;
  • the number of pages

No matter how many words an essay has, it should have a standard structure. That is, the text should consist of an introduction, central part, and conclusions. You can divide the main part into two or three paragraphs. So if you are interested in the number of paragraphs in such an essay, we can talk about three to five ones. It depends on the writing style and length of the sentences you choose.

The quantity of pages depends on several factors. This is the font size and the selected spacing. It is also important whether the work is handwritten or printed. Of course, a printed essay will take up much less space than a handwritten one. Basically, the printed text will be placed on about half or 2/3 of the page.

Basic Elements of a Short Essay

There are some elements that you cannot do without when writing a short essay.

Thesis Statement

The thesis is the main statement around which your entire text is built. It should be controversial, complex, and specific; it should combine your composition's whole essence in one phrase.

If you have correctly formulated the thesis, you will have a lot of material for the essay, since the idea is usually challenging to substantiate.

An interesting thesis on a topic that can cause questions and controversy will make it easier for you to write an essay. If you lack in volume, revise your thesis by making it narrower and more complex.

A 200-word essay thesis should be precise and narrow.

  • For example, when writing an essay on universities' sports life, a weak thesis will look like this: "The sports life of universities is very controversial." It's too blurry to tell your position. The reader may not understand what you are trying to prove.
  • Here is an example of a strong thesis for the same topic: "University athletes should receive monetary rewards." So you state the subject in question. It is narrow enough for you to see in two pages.

Prompt: Imagine the thesis is a tabletop. Your essay should support it because, without this support, the table will turn into a pile of rubble. Key arguments, rationales, and references to other people's statements are the legs that hold your essay in place so that it takes shape.

Opening Sentences

The main thing you need to remember is that each paragraph of your essay should start with a thematic phrase. This is one opening sentence, the primary and most important argument you will develop in the paragraph.

Many teachers insist that a five-paragraph structure is an optimal form for presenting an essay.

This structure implies at least three reasons and usually looks like this:

  • Introduction, description of the topic, a summary of their ideas, thesis.
  • A paragraph describing the first argument.
  • A paragraph describing the second argument.
  • A paragraph describing the third argument.
  • A short conclusion summarizing everything that has been said.

Since we are talking about a 200-word essay, you can limit yourself to 3 paragraphs. In this case, the diagram will look like this:

  • Introduction, description of the topic, a summary of their ideas, thesis.
  • A paragraph describing the argument.
  • A short conclusion that summarizes everything that has been said.

Supporting Phrases

After the introductory sentence, there should be a supporting example in every paragraph. Do not use long, complex constructions in short essays; argue your thoughts clearly and specifically.

Concluding Section

The conclusion should tie all the threads of the argument together. In some cases (persuasive essay topics), you can include a call to action. You can also go back to the opening sequence or example in the introduction to keep your work perfectly symmetrical.

It is also essential to make sure that you support the central thesis with clear and well-reasoned arguments.

200 Word Essay Writing: Useful Information

The structure of the essay, the style, your opinion on a particular issue, and your vocabulary's richness are important. Each of these factors will affect the final result of evaluating your essay. But what if you've followed all of these rules, but haven't met the word count? This is the next part of our article.

Eliminating Extra Details

Brevity is the soul of a talented writer. Writing succinctly forms a pleasant first impression of talent. Moreover, brevity should not conflict with information richness and actual presentation.

We agree that putting all your thoughts in 200 words is a real challenge for many students. But it is vital to learn how to eliminate unnecessary things, cut like a knife.

How Do You Make The Text Shorter?

  1. Let the text rest.

Very often, what seems to you to be an essential part of the content when writing loses its charm a couple of days later, and you can see what is in the text gist and what is a husk.

  1. Down with all the introductory and uncertain words.

All this “in general,” “it seems,” “probably,” is most often verbal rubbish, which gives nothing to the content but adds volume to the text. Go through your text carefully and cross out unnecessary words. Most likely, the text will not lose anything in meaning but will gain in the narrative's density and clarity.

  1. Simplify.

Heaped up complex sentences, and even with complicating elements, are also a path to lengthening. They confuse both the author and the reader; they often create unnecessary volume as well. Rebuild your complex in 2 simple ones - and you will see that the text is reduced.

  1. Focus on the essentials.

Take a fresh look at your text. And try to identify the most critical thoughts as objectively as possible. Now delete everything else. Get rid of even those parts of the document that you think are well written. You just have to connect the main sentences literally. This is one of the best ways to keep your essay concise.

  1. Sort out your text.

Read your text meticulously - is everything you said related to the main point? Are there unnecessary "lyrical digressions" and thoughts "about something else"? If this is present, cross out the excess.

What Shouldn't You Do?

  • Don't take difficult essay topics. Don't try to demonstrate that you understand a complicated idea when you really don't.
  • Don't use conventional clichés: they show that you cannot express ideas on your own.
  • Don't use too many quotes. They give the impression that you do not have your own opinion.

User ratings:

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I studied sociology and marketing at Europa-Universität Viadrina (Germany) and Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal). When I was a sophomore, back in 2018, I decided to put what I've learned into practice, so I got my first job in digital marketing. I currently work in the content marketing department at Studybay, building strong, effective, and respectful communication between the platform and our clients.

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