How to Write an Illustrative Essay to Get an A+ Grade

How to Write an Illustrative Essay to Get an A+ Grade

Many students struggle to write a college essay, but they are even more confused when the time comes to craft an illustrative essay. What the heck is it?

Unlike traditional college papers, illustrative essays are highly specific because they need to follow a carefully established logic and structure. It’s a kind of paper that forces students to support every statement with indisputable evidence, which is a real challenge for young scholars. 

But you shouldn’t fall into despair as we are here to help you learn how to write an illustrative essay to get an A+ grade. Let’s take a look!

What Is an Illustrative Essay?

Before we begin discussing the basics of illustrative essays, we need to explain what it really means. By definition, an illustration is an example or instance that helps make something clear.

This is exactly the purpose of an illustrative essay — to present a given topic in a way that makes it look perfectly clear, logical, and understandable. This type of college paper is also known as an “example essay” because you ought to use real-life examples to support your claims.

What seems to be the point of an illustrative essay? 

Most of the time, students write illustrative essays because they need to prepare their future thesis. During this process, they learn how to research a given topic, collect useful information, and establish correlations between theoretical and practical concepts. This is the core of the best essay writing that will help you with the forthcoming college papers.

Jake Gardner, an essay writer at Dissertation Today, explains that a well-written illustrative essay contains certain characteristics that make it stand out among underperforming papers. Here are some of the most important features:

  • Clear and concise style: Essays are short forms that require a clear and actionable tone. You should avoid passive phrases and focus on stating your message directly. 
  • Data-driven writing: Evidence is at the root of everything. You cannot craft a meaningful illustrative essay without proven facts and examples.
  • Fresh points of view: Of course, one of your main goals should be to write an illustrative paper that provides readers with fresh points of view. 

The Structure of an Illustrative Essay

Typical illustrative essays are relatively short, so try to keep it at three pages unless your mentor says otherwise. However, word count is not the only thing you need to worry about here as it’s also important to stick to the usual format of an illustrative essay.

Generally speaking, illustrative essays follow the traditional structure with a clearly defined introduction, a body part, and a solid conclusion. Let’s see how it works in practice:


The opening chapter of your essay is where you present the controlling idea of your work, also known as the thesis. It should give readers a brief overview of your paper and help them figure out the purpose of your essay. 


As always, the body part of your essay is its main component. Your job is to design it cleverly because it’s the only way to prove your point and support the thesis. The body part is where you have to display evidence in order to solidify theoretical arguments. 

There are two basic solutions here, and they differ by the order of importance. The first option is to present the most impressive evidence in the beginning and then move on to the less relevant arguments. On the other hand, you can start slowly and improve gradually by presenting the strongest evidence later. 

Another thing you should keep in mind is that illustrative essays contain at least three or four examples, so you’ll need to make smooth transitions from one point to another. Do it with the so-called transition words as they make it easier to present your claims smoothly and naturally. The most common transition words and phrases are:

  • For example
  • For instance
  • In particular
  • Firstly, secondly, thirdly, etc. 
  • Finally
  • Next
  • Besides that


The last chapter is where you repeat the main thesis and make a summary of all statements from the body part. 

6 Tips for Writing a Perfect illustrative Essay

With everything you’ve seen so far, the only thing left to learn is how to write an illustrative essay. Here’s a list of six practical tips for you.

1. Select a topic

The first thing you need to do is to choose a good topic that really matters to you and your readers. This is often something that bothers young scholars — some sort of problem or common social issue. 

2. Start your research

This is probably the most important stage of illustrative essay creation as you’ll have to collect enough evidence to support the thesis. There are all sorts of information resources to consider, including books, websites, newspapers, quotes, public reports, and many more.

3. Create an outline

Now you need to craft a nice outline that gives you a clear overview of the paper. You should come up with a convincing thesis and then try to note as many arguments as possible in the body section. 

4. Write your illustrative essay

With everything you’ve done so far, writing a great illustrative essay should not be a problem. All it takes is to turn your main ideas into short paragraphs and augment each one with the corresponding evidence.

5. Check the paper for spelling and grammar errors

No matter how eloquent or well-designed your essay might be, it won’t earn the highest grade with spelling and grammar mistakes. Always use a tool such as Grammarly, Assignment Help, or Hemingway to proofread the document. 

6. Check your paper once again

Before sending the document, you should read it once again and try to identify possible shortcomings. That way, you can make corrections before sending the final version.

The Bottom Line

Writing an illustrative essay is not easy, but the task is much simpler if you strictly follow the fundamental principles. We showed you how to write an illustrative essay in a few practical steps, but now it’s up to you to prove your research skills and earn that much-needed A+ grade. Good luck!

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Piter Bunn is a blogger and essay writer at EssayShark and many other dissertation services. Piter comes from Virginia, where he completed graduate studies in French literature. He is the father of two kids and a passionate traveler.

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