Diagnostic Essay: Pointers for a Successful Essay

A diagnostic essay aims at enlightening the strengths and weaknesses of the student to the teachers so that they can be assisted accordingly, and shape the curriculum altogether. They are mostly administered at the beginning of a term or a semester. For a diagnostic essay, the students are not expected to excel, but rather express the skills and knowledge they have currently, and how they can use them accordingly.

This test follows the standard five-paragraph essay format; the introduction, three body paragraphs, and the conclusion.  All the students are given the same topic to write about, although at given instances, you are provided with two or three topics to choose from. Since diagnostic essays are time-bound, you are required to have a well-thought plan in your mind regarding what you are about to tackle. This involved awarding enough time to brainstorm your topic, think it over, write the essay to your best knowledge, and finally proofread your work before submitting it.

Diagnostic Essay: Pointers for a Successful Essay

Writing the introduction

The introduction is an integral part of your essay as it highlights ideas that the reader expects as he or she reads through your work from the start to the end. You should begin working on your introduction, only if you have completely understood your topic of discussion, brainstormed it, and you have substantial ideas that are to be presented in your main body paragraphs. In simple terms, make an effort of being conversant with what you are introducing.

It is a creative approach to first paraphrase the topic of discussion given to write about. After this, you need to come up with three essential points that will be expounded on and supported with relevant information in your body paragraphs. You are to introduce them in your introductory paragraph briefly. For instance, if you were to write about the hardest encounters you have had in your life, do not place your focus on only one decision. You can present three variables and accord them a scope. So, each paragraph of your main body will be associated with each alternative you have come up with. The end of your introduction should be made of the thesis statement, which is the main idea of your diagnostic essay.


Writing the main body

As mentioned earlier, the main body of your diagnostic essay should be made up of three paragraphs. Each paragraph should represent one of the three key ideas you mentioned in the introductory paragraph. At this stage, you are to expound on them and back each with its related information to give it credibility.

The first body paragraph should be the sturdiest of them all.  For example, using the topic on the hardest encounter of your life, the first paragraph should talk about which was your hardest encounter, as per your point of view. Use the elements that support your point of consideration from your thesis statement to give the reader reason as to why you consider that particular encounter as the hardest.

The second body paragraph should talk about the second hardest encounter of your life.  Use the information that supports your point of consideration from your thesis statement, to give the reader your reason for considering this particular encounter as your second hardest.

The third paragraph is the least hard of the three encounters. You should convince the reader why you still considered this encounter as one of your hardest, bearing in mind it is the third on your list. As required, apply the information that supports your point of consideration from your thesis statement, and explain to the reader your reason for putting that particular encounter as your third hardest encounter.


Writing the conclusion

A good essay requires a well-articulated conclusion. You should, however, remember that your essay is under limited time and you need to end your essay with a captivating overview. This is the reason why a diagnostic essay should be brief.  The main idea here is to give the reader an impression the whole topic has been fully addressed. If your question was from a prompt, make sure that you have answered the provided question.  Keep in mind that you are not allowed to introduce new information in your conclusion paragraph.

Your conclusion should consist of your restated thesis statement, and an outline of the main points that you have provided an argument for in your body paragraph. For instance; relating to our example, list your three hardest encounters, list the supporting reasons describing why you think some encounters are harder than the others and conclude a statement that describes why a particular encounter was the hardest.


The outline for a diagnostic essay

To summarize what we have learned, below is a brief outline for a diagnostic essay:

  1. Introduction
  • Restated topic or prompt
  • The main points
  • Thesis statement
  1. The most important point of discussion
  2. The second most important point of discussion
  3. The third most important point of discussion
  4. Conclusion: a list of the main points discussed and the solution to the prompt provided.


Proofread your essay

With the limit in time for writing the essay, you will probably write your work hastily. This will make your work vulnerable to mistakes such as those in grammar, punctuation, and spellings. Even though your diagnostic essay will not be graded, you still need to ensure that your work can be read and interpreted as you intended. For this reason, ensure that you spare some time to go through your essay and do the necessary corrections before submitting it.

Be sure to follow the structural outline required or provided to ensure your work has a logical flow of ideas. Also, avoid padding your work (filling it up with unnecessary words).

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