by Harriet Castor
[Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow in the Department of Arts & Cultural Industries]
Last week’s tip focussed on writing your essay’s introduction; now let’s think about your conclusion.
When drafting your conclusion, imagine you’re a lawyer in a court case, about to give your summing-up to the jury. This is the last thing you’re going to say, so you need to remind them how well you’ve argued your case. Refer to the main points you’ve made in the essay. Make it clear what your overall argument or viewpoint is, and link this directly to the essay question. You’ll need to show very clearly that you have answered the question fully.
Make sure you don’t introduce new points in the conclusion that should have been in the main body of the essay. If you find yourself doing this, it’s time for a bit of reorganisation: look again at the ‘journey’ your essay takes the reader on, and work out where these new points should be fitted in. Remember, a good rule of thumb is to make one clear point per paragraph.
If you’d like to book a confidential one-to-one session with me to work on your writing skills, please email Harriet.Castor@uwe.ac.uk I’m at Frenchay on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.