500-word essay writing guide: format, length, and examples

Writing a 500-word essay can be daunting, especially if you are writing in an exam. However, if you know the most reliable practices and techniques, the task becomes easy.

500-word essays are mostly written in standardized testing systems such as GRE and TOFEL. These tests score candidates for a whole array of skills that range from content to structure and grammar. Typically, a good essay catches a reader’s eye, maintains the interest, and makes the reader believe in the conclusion.

In this article, we will examine what a 500-word essay is? How to write it? And makes it interesting? So without further ado, let’s get right to it.

What is a 500 Word Essay?

A 500-word essay is a middle-length essay that focuses on the most potent points for argument development. Mostly, it does not have a word limit rather a minimum word requirement. However, some examiners set a limit on how many more words you can write. In the IELTS exam, you have to write two essays with 150 and 250 words, meaning that your essay should be as close to the word-limit as possible.

Every essay has to follow a clear writing format. Each format inscribes a specific writing need. While writing a 500-word essay, you can adopt the following most common writing modes depending on the essay requirements:

  • Narration: It means telling a story
  • Argumentative: Persuading an audience to agree with your conclusion
  • Descriptive: Developing the idea with details
  • Cause and effect: Establishing the cause and effect relation
  • Comparison and contrast: Presenting similarities and differences

Writing an essay in any of the above modes is not difficult once you know the most established practices. Think of each format as a set of answers to specific questions. Place these answers together, with cohesion, forming an essay.

Most of the researchers recommend 500-word essays for testing. A typical college assessment test is based on a 500-word limit because it enables the knowledge test as well as writing skills. Although, to score high on an essay paper you need to have some knowledge regarding the essay topic.

However, knowledge without skill will not give you a great score on the test. The skill comes with practice.

How to write a 500-word essay?

To write a 500-word essay you should follow simple 5-BOLD-Steps:

  1. B for brainstorming
  2. O for outline
  3. L for laudable introduction
  4. D for developing body
  5. S for Summary

Each step ensures that you succeed in writing a great essay. Therefore, you should deal with each step separately while writing an essay on the exam.

Brainstorm the essay topic:

Most people rush on writing an essay before even thinking about it. While they have written half of it, they soon realize that the essay is about something completely different. This causes them marks. Even if they decide to start all over, finishing the essay within the time limit is not easy.
Hence, always start by brainstorming the essay. While brainstorming your essay just take the central idea of the essay topic and start writing down on a rough paper all the connected points.

A simple way of doing that is by looking for Synonyms. Then further writing them down into more ideas. This exercise will help you to develop a clear understanding of what the whole essay is about and how you can deal with it.

In a test of 40 mins, you should brainstorm for at least 5 mins. The process opens up all the ideas related to the main topic of one paper. After writing them down you will be able to pick and choose which ideas matter most, which are relevant, and what will support your explanation.

After completing this step, you will be able to effectively know the whole scope of the essay. Hence, you should make brainstorming a regular habit. Moreover, brainstorming also develops the skill of thinking critically.

Jot down an outline for the 500-word essay:

The next step in writing a 500-words essay is outlining. When you create an outline, you have to keep in the mind the basic structure and the mode of the essay.

Basic structure

The core structure of the essay flows like this. The essay starts with an introduction with around 10-25% of the words. Then comes the body of the essay which is around 50 to 70 percent of the text. Following that the essay ends with a conclusion.

Mode of the essay

The mode of the essay is usually explicitly mentioned in the essay question. If not, it can be implied from the essay topic. Whatever the type of format is prescribed or chosen. The basic structure will remain the same. But the details in the body will change. If it’s an argumentative essay, the body of the essay should reveal the main arguments. If it is narrative, each body point should discuss a separate point in time in the story.

The outline should be made in a way that briefly describes the supporting and opposing arguments. Each point should represent a paragraph. The point should not be written like a whole sentence, it should be more like a news bullet. Ideally, it should be such that a reader understands your perspective and becomes interested in reading your essay.

Here is an example of an outline:

The above example is from a detailed outline for a long essay, but we can learn a lot from it. After the introduction, the writer focuses on defining the main issue, nation-building taking a descriptive approach at the beginning. Then he moves on to present the arguments for his point.

His arguments start with an idea supporting his main thesis. In point 4 he explains how the approach was recognized throughout history.

In point 5 he supports his arguments by the role education can play in nation-building. Of course, these all are the points that support his arguments, but he also presents the other side.

Once, you are done with the outline, your whole essay map has been developed. Now you just need to write down the ideas in a paragraph. But before you start writing a paragraph, you should write a good introduction.

Write a laudable introduction for the essay

Writing an introduction is a matter of great importance in essay writing. There are three parts of a great introduction: the hook, the supporting idea, and the thesis statement. An introduction is like the welcome gate of a house. If a gate is beautifully designed it attracts visitors’ attention, the visitor gets curious to find out what is inside the mansion. Therefore, one should spare at least 5 mins for writing down the introduction.

The Hook

The introduction should start with a hook. It is a sentence that catches the attention of the reader at the very first reading. Most people like to write a question when they write an introduction to an essay. You can also write a strange fact or an unbelievable fact. This part of the paragraph hooks the reader to be curious and read the whole essay.

The supporting ideas

The supporting idea comes in the middle, before the end of the whole introduction. One can develop a background in this part. They can discuss the history of the topic. To develop this further you can write your body ideas with a brief discussion. However, you should not write the details.
This part of the essay serves to maintain the interest that you have developed in the hook. To do that, you just need to sound interesting and give a feel about the topic to the readers.

Thesis statement

Following the background, comes the most important part of your whole essay. At this point, you have to express your take on the topic. What do you think about the topic? Whether you agree or disagree? This thesis statement always comes at the end of the introductory paragraph.

Writing a thesis statement is like giving a proposition. A proposition that you will prove in the body of the essay.

Substantiate your thesis by developing a body

In this part, we focus on the development of the whole essay. While developing the essay, candidates should focus on the outline and the mode of the essay. They should also maintain the interest of the reader. If they become successful in doing that, their whole essay is going to score high. To do that, essay writers recognize some established rules and practices.

Topic sentence

Typically, your body paragraph should have 5 lines. The first line is called the topic sentence. The topic sentence specifies what is that you want to say about the topic. This sentence should be concise and to the point. In the above-written outline, the topic sentence of point 4 can be written in the following manner:

History proves that education has played a significant role in nation-building.

Pro-tip: Use of the keywords – like education and nation-building – in the topic sentence of the paragraph maintains relevance.

Supporting sentence

After writing the topic sentence you should write at least three supporting sentences. Each supporting sentence should be written in a way that adds authority to the topic sentence. You can do that by writing supporting reasons or by writing examples. A supporting sentence can be written as follows:

The enlightenment ideas were responsible for the American Revolution.

Such statements show authority and decisiveness in the writing. Your supporting statements should either contain words used in the topic sentence or should contain their synonyms. This will show how relevant you are writing your paragraphs and also develop your argument.

Although, these supporting sentences are enough for a great paragraph. One of the supporting sentences should be further explained to gain the trust of the readers.

Concluding sentence

The last sentence of the paragraph should be written to reinstate your topic sentence. But this time, it should be written conclusively. You should write your last sentence using words like:

Hence or Therefore

If you use these words and restate your thesis statement, it will feel more authoritative. However, don’t use the same words or language. You can write:

Hence, the past certifies that education is the pivot for the nation-building project.

While writing the concluding sentence use the keywords. However, not all sentences should end similarly. Always be creative. Sometimes, you can also write words that connect this paragraph with the next paragraph.

This is where we should discuss cohesion in detail. Maintaining cohesion throughout the essay is a requirement. You can do that by using certain words such as firstly, secondly, lastly at the beginning of the paragraph.

Moreover, you should also use the transitional words – like; further, furthermore, moreover, in addition to – in your paragraphs.

Conclude your 500-word essay with a summary, thesis, and memorable note

Concluding the essay interestingly is a sign of a well-written essay. The first line of the concluding paragraph should review the central idea of the thesis statement. Always remember to write this sentence using different words and not the same words.

It is a quality of a well-written conclusion that it is written in an eye-catching manner. You can do this by making your sentence clear and mentioning the word in it that you used in your hook. The word should be such that it reminds the reader about the hook.

After that, you should rewrite your three main paragraph topic sentences differently. Again, you should not use the same words. You do not want to repeat the same sentence in your essay twice. This will summarize your main arguments.

Finally, you should write the concluding line of your essay upon a recommendation, result, or consequence in line with your thesis statement.
Since now you know how to write a well-written and well-structured 500-word essay, it is time you examine another example.

Example 500-word essay: Importance of women education


Women make half of the population of this globe. Education for women has been neglected for years throughout the world. However, currently, it is a major problem for third world countries. These women are not allowed access to educational institutions. Their cultures prevent equal participation. Women are responsible only for household chores.

Nevertheless, the countries that promote education for women are progressive. Such counties are fast developing. Women’s education is vital for the development and progress of the country.


Educated women contribute to the welfare of society. Educated women can do more than everyday chores. They can teach children at school and at home. They can also treat the patient when they are doctors. According to research, female doctors are more likely to do welfare jobs. Women lawyers and judges can ensure that the rights of women are protected. They have a better understanding of the problems a woman goes through. Being educated, women can reform society both in the first and third world.
Women’s education can boost the economy. Women make up half of the population. If women are educated, the economy will grow twice as fast. According to a report by the world economic forum, educating women will add a trillion-dollar to the global economy every year. Moreover, educated women will contribute greatly to the labor market. Women entrepreneurs have been very successful. Educated women can contribute to the development of the economy.

An educated mother creates a healthier environment. Educated mothers keep their children and family healthy. Healthier children mean a reduced financial burden on the exchequer. With educated women around, society is healthier and productive. Educated women are less exposed to drugs and rape. According to the world health organization report, educated women are safer compared to uneducated women of the same age. An educated mother is a healthier mother.


The development of a nation can substantially boosts with the increase in women’s education. Women’s education ensures the welfare of the nation. It also encourages the national economy. Moreover, an educated mother makes sure that the society is healthy. All these benefits guarantee that the country is progressing and developing.

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