Writing Essay Drafts

Statue of Constantine the Great, York.
"Constantine York" by Son of Groucho. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Constantine_York.jpg

Once your topic sentences and hypothesis are completed, you can begin writing your essay, beginning with your first draft. (You should never hand in a first draft as your final piece, because as a general rule of thumb, they are not your best work!)


Essays are structured pieces of persuasive writing containing an argument, which is supported by evidence. Great essays take time to write, review and refine. Therefore, waiting until the night before to write it is never going to get you good marks.  Every essay must always be a piece of argumentative writing. Do not simply tell a story!


To produce excellent essays, you need to understand the different elements of an essay structure.

Following your overall plan, write a rough draft as quickly as you can, concentrating on the developing your answer. Stick to the point and support your ideas with reasons and evidence, as well as including specific examples and details. Demonstrate that you have been thinking for yourself, not just copying other people’s ideas.


Essays have word limits and you are supposed to keep to them. If it is too long, then you have not demonstrated the ability to organise succinctly your thoughts. If your essay is too short, you have probably not read enough on the topic or understood it sufficiently. Your mark may be affected for exceeding the word limit or not writing enough.


The draft that you submit to your teacher should be as good as a final version of your essay. If parts are missing or incomplete, it is very difficult for your teacher to give you precise feedback on how to achieve your best possible results.

Need a digital Research Journal?

History Skills Online has a ready-to-use Research Journal that follows these 9 steps and provides links back to the website to help you at each stage of your research. You can grab it here.

Previous Step: Hypothesis

Next Step: Final Draft