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How to write an interpretive essay: Understanding your task

Your task gives you direction when it comes to the information you have to write on. If you want to learn how to write an interpretive essay, you must first start with what the teacher wants from you. Some tasks focus on the structure of the character and how he is developing through the story, others focus on events and how they’ve influenced the characters and so on. Also, you need to keep in mind that some tasks require specific and accurate information, structured in an argumentative manner, others want a global overview with a minimal amount of details in order to cover more subjects. Regardless of the case, the task dictates the way the essay needs to be written

First thing in learning how to write an interpretive essay is...

…to do your research. If you have to write an interpretive essay, then you must have something you need to interpret, be it a book, a paper, an article, a blog, anything. The very first place to start is by reading the material. You need to understand the text in your own way and then try to read other impressions on it. Given these two aspects, you will surely gain a great deal of insight about the main theme of the material and the best way to approach it.

How to structure your information

In order for your essay to be coherent and understood, the recommendation is to structure your information according to the following guidelines:

  • The introduction is the first thing readers put their eyes on so needs to include the theme of the essay, the thesis statement or impression and a question or a reflective affirmation so that it can catch the attention of the readers.
  • The body of the essay is the core of your essay so it must support the thesis statement with evidence, examples, arguments and other studies.
  • The conclusion summarizes the interpretation and offers a clear statement so that readers would remember; some may include their personal opinion here as a note from the author.

This is a solid baseline that you should follow in order to learn how to write an interpretive essay. One piece of advice here is to always mind what type of arguments you use in order to highlight the best part of the material you are analyzing. The idea here is to build up your arguments and end with a final punch, so that the reader will have a feeling that everything is connected and your essay makes sense.


How to write an interpretive essay: Drafting

Staring at a piece of paper and imagining a fully body text, won’t get the job done. One of the most common mistake that writers make is to think that everything will start to flow from the first time. When asked about their writing process, famous writers talked about the hundreds and hundreds of papers thrown away because they didn’t fit with their expectations. The idea here is to start writing and see how it goes. Then, come back over the text and see how it feels to you. If something isn’t a match or you’ve found a better way to illustrate the information, cut out the bad parts and introduce the new ones. Repeat the process until you are satisfied. Writers don’t have magical powers that help them write their texts with a single flow, they work, revise, delete, change, adapt and enhance their writing until everything seems flawless.


How to write an interpretive essay: Using notes

Another piece of advice here when it comes to how to write an interpretive essay is to always use notes when making the correction. For example, if you are writing a text on human rights and you’ve already finished the first draft, don’t make the corrections to each paragraph. Write down some notes and read the entire material. This is important because the changes need to be coherent as well.


Finding interesting information

One other piece of advice that you should take into consideration here is related to interesting information. Think about the following scenario: students in a class get the same assignment from their teacher. How many of them do you think will use Wikipedia to write their assignments? The answer is most of them. That’s why the idea of searching for new and insightful is really important: you’ll stay ahead of your classmates and score really big with your teachers. You’ll get points for effort, determination and ambition and that counts in real life as well.


Minding your presentation

The other part of any essay writing task is its presentation. Of course, the teacher will go through the paper and understand how you cover the thesis statement, but there are some teachers who are curious about how you present your work. The best piece of advice here is to always stick with the main ideas of what you have written. The teacher will have plenty of time to read the details and that’s why you will need to convince him that your arguments are solid.


How to write an interpretive essay: Common PowerPoint mistakes

If you choose to use PowerPoint as your presentation illustrator, there are some tips and tricks for you to use so that your presentation will be seen as an example. First of all, don’t ever make the mistake of putting more than 50 words on a slide. They are there to guide you and fixate the information in the minds of your audience, but nothing more. There are students who just copy-paste the information on the slides and stuff it up completely. Put the main keywords of your essay and try to build the presentation around it.

Secondly, use as many images as possible in order to stick the information in the minds of your audience. Our brains are triggered by images more than words and they will assess and connect the dots much more easily than just by hearing about a subject. Videos are welcomed as well, but keep in mind that you have a limited amount of time to present your essay and use it wisely.

Thirdly, don’t use animation and very complicated designs. The purpose of the power point presentation is to be simple, beautiful and understood. Overstuffing it with effects can do more harm than good.




In addition to what has been said, there is one more aspect that surely needs to be pointed out: terminology. When talking about different field, especially the scientific ones, you need to understand the terminology that you are using so that you can use it accordingly. The teacher is an experienced specialist in the field so he will know many of the terms you use. That’s the reason why you need to learn and understand them, so that when he will ask you some questions, you’ll know the answer. Also, don’t go using a concept that you don’t quite understand. It can ruin your entire argument and even the presentation. Choose your information wisely and use it as much as you understand it at that point.



To summarize the points made above, an insightful information and a solid argument structure will definitely end you up with an A+. Also, be sure to learn something during the entire process. It’s up to you what information you choose to write about so it’s up to you to make it interesting.

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