The Ultimate Guide for Students on Critical Essays

Guide for Students

Writing a critical essay is one of the most popular tasks you get in college. Often named an argumentative essay, it is a piece of paper that might challenge your skills. However, even though some students let themselves be overwhelmed and stressed by these challenges, they help you grow your skills and expand your knowledge. 

You can find a critical essay example online that will inspire you to start your work. What are the steps you should go through? What should you start with? Here is the ultimate guide for students on critical essays that will surely help you write a compelling paper. 

What Is a Critical Essay?

There are many essay types you will write during your college time. However, an argumentative or critical essay might be the most common one, as it forces you to improve your critical thinking and analysis skills. You need to analyze someone else’s work, a book, movie, study, paper, essay, and so on. In this analysis, you will make some claims, your opinions and ideas on the book, movie, and so on. And you need to back up your claims with evidence. You need to evaluate something and present examples and proofs. You can find an example of critical essay online and see critical writing examples that could shed more light. A critical paper example is easy to find and they are written by expert writers, so they are a valid source of inspiration. 

Keep in mind that there is a difference between a persuasive essay and an argumentative or critical one. In a critical essay, you do not have to persuade anyone, you are just evaluating something and expressing your points of view. However, many students think that writing a critical essay means that you have to say something negative. It is crucial to note that analyzing and interpreting someone’s work does not mean that you judge it. Of course, the way you convey the message and express your opinion is essential. 

So, what are the steps of writing a critical essay? 

Examining the Source 

The first thing you should begin with is to examine the source. For sure your teacher has sent it to you or recommended it in the guidelines or requirements list. A critical essay is exactly about this: analyzing and interpreting a source, so you need to start by reading it to make a first impression. You can put to practice a nice technique that could be used when writing other papers too. 

You can first read the book or study, or watch the movie without thinking about your assignment. This is not mandatory but it would help you get a general idea of the topic explored. However, you should have a critical reading session too. Taking notes is essential as it helps you put your thoughts in order after this step. Note down any questions you have regarding the topic, writing style, techniques, information, or anything. 

Organizing Your Notes and Thoughts 

The next step you should take is to organize your thoughts and notes. You can find an example of a critical summary online that could shed more light on how to structure the essay. But first, you need to think about your ideas and opinion on the source you need to evaluate. 

Think about other studies or books you have read on the same subject. Does the information correspond? Is it distinct? Let the information you have just read be processed and take notes of your thoughts and ideas.

Writing Your Thesis Statement 

Writing a thesis statement might seem challenging, but if you have evaluated the source and organized your thoughts, you surely have an idea about your opinion. Keep in mind that a thesis statement is essential to a critical essay. It introduces the main claim of your essay and gives a preview of what follows next. 

Writing the Essay Outline and First Draft

After you have crafted your thesis statement, you could start writing the essay. But to make sure it is written coherently and logically, you could start by creating the outline. Do not forget that most papers have the same general template or structure: introduction, body, and conclusion. You can find a critical essay introduction example and inspire from, but keep in mind that the thesis statement should be mentioned in the introduction. 

Next, the body of the critical essay is for expanding the thesis statement and backing up your point of view with evidence, arguments, and examples. The conclusion is for highlighting the main ideas in your essay, and what you want the reader to remain with. Do not forget about references and citing the sources you have used in your writing. This way, you avoid plagiarism, which is not tolerated within universities. And, of course, always save time for editing and proofreading. 

Final Thoughts 

Looking for the best ideas and guidelines on how to write a critical essay? You can find samples or a proposal for free online, written by excellent writers. However, this guide will help you approach the process step by step and write a compelling critical essay.