Expository Essay Topics for School and College

Starting from high school, students deal with many types of essays. In fact, there are so many types of writing assignments that even an experienced student can get confused to tell them apart.

Teachers are trying to assign different types of writing tasks to introduce their students to various essay types. However, it’s quite difficult to combine the task with regular tests, student’s projects, practical lessons and tons of work that almost every student has.

That’s why we decided to create a helpful guide to help students with creating their excellent expository essay – one of the most common types of writing the assignment.


Expository Essay Topics


Traps and Pitfalls of Writing an Expository Essay

Writing an expository essay is not a very difficult task. You can easily cope with it if you know some main principles and basic rules of writing an essay. However, what you shall start with is understanding of how this type of essays differs from others.

The hidden danger that becomes a reason that so many students get lower marks for their expository essay is a similarity of expository and narrative essays.

Many students can’t tell two of these types apart and write both of them in the same way. That is not really correct. However, it’s easy to improve!

There are two key words that can easily show you the difference between these essay types:


  • TELL – narrative essay
    In this case, all you have to do is to tell your reader about an idea, object, event or situation. Your task is to inform your target audience about something.
  • EXPLAIN – expository essay
    Dealing with an expository essay, you have to write an explanation of something. Your task is not only to introduce a topic to your reader but also to explain some statement or your point of view. You can even provide some instructions to your target audience or teach your readers about something.


Basic Ideas for Expository Essays

An expository essay is aimed at giving your readers some basic understanding of what the discussed object is, how to do something or how something is done. While there’s a great diversity of topics, you shall start with deciding on the subtype of your expository essay.

The most common variants of expository essays are:


  • Definition
    Exposition definition essay gives a detailed explanation of something. It reveals some main concepts of the topic, including a description of the most important features of the discussed subject. The main question that essay answers is “What is it?”
  • Process
    This type of expository essays explains the process of creating something. At the same time, there are two possible variants of an expository process essay. It can be a type of instruction that gives an idea of how to do something to your reader. Or it also can be an explanation of the process of producing some certain things. For example, a detailed explanation of how a LED-lamp is made without an offer to make it on your own.
  • Classification
    The type of essays speaks about certain features of a subject or phenomena that allow determining the class or type it belongs to. The explanation may also include some general information about the possible classes and types.
  • Compare and contrast
    This type of expository essays includes a comparison between two objects that will help to attract a reader’s attention to certain features of one or both of the objects. Often, the contrast is the best way to discuss some small but important features of a thing.
  • Cause and effect
    Often we accept a phenomenon or an object as a whole, without understanding its causes and the effects it can make on other objects. Cause and effect expository essay throws some light on complex concepts, letting your readers see the complex process and the chain that leads to the final result.



How to Recognize an Expository Essay by Its Topic

Expository essays may refer to many topics and themes. However, there’s always a way to know that the essay is an expository one, right after reading its topic.


What are that special features that help to recognize expository essays between others:


  • Signal words. There are special words that express the main function of the essays and help you to understand which type of paper it is: describe, define, explain, etc.
  • Guidelines or instructions. If the topic sounds like a name of tutorial or instruction, the essay is probably an expository one.


Important Features of the Expository Essay Topics

Often teachers give an expository essay topic that you have to work with. However, sometimes students are allowed to choose a topic on their own. This is a great chance to express your knowledge and creative thinking.

However, to choose a topic that allows you to express your knowledge and writing talent, you shall understand which features the topic shall have:


  • The theme will be interesting to you and to your target auditory. If you choose a popular topic that doesn’t attract you and doesn’t reflect your interest, you may feel a lack of motivation to work with it. In opposite, if you rely on your personal interests only, your essay may sound not interesting to others. That’s why it’s very important to find a good compromise and to stop your search on a topic that will be interesting both to you and to your readers.
  • The topic shall be complicated enough to require explanation. If you choose an easy topic and start to explain concepts that are known for everyone, it may sound silly. That’s why it’s important to search for a complicated and complex theme that needs more explanation and description.
  • The topic shall reflect your academic knowledge. If you study in school, your topic may sound less complicated than if you study in college or uni. It’s important to choose the theme that is attractive and understandable to your classmates or group mates and, at the same time, allows you to express the knowledge you have.
  • The topic shall correspond to your academic field and subject. If you study literature, your essay shall be connected to the field. If you are a medical student, it’s necessary to write about health issues. Your teacher may also ask you to write on a different theme, in that case, an essay topic can be different from the main subject and the field of your study.
  • There shall be enough information about the topic. Before making a final decision about a topic, check if there’re enough information sources you can work with. In a case you are not ready for extra spends, it’s better to be sure the sources are free.


It’s very important to start writing your essay only after developing a clear understanding of what you write about and what your topic is. When you pick a topic up, don’t forget to check if it has all the features mentioned above.


Great Collection of 50 Best Topics for Your Expository Essays

Even if you have a clear understanding of how an expository essay topic shall sound, it may be difficult to come up with an idea about your own one. In that case, some good examples of the topics can be especially useful.

We’ve chosen 50 good topics that can be used directly or can serve as examples and inspiration for creating your own one. All topics are separated into groups according to the field and theme they belong to.


Personal Experience


Writing about your personal experience is a great choice. First, essays of this type are easier to write. Second, you have more opportunities to make your essay sound interesting and easier for understanding. Third, you will probably spend less time, searching for additional information as the topic is already familiar to you.

Often the task to write an expository essay about some personal experience is assigned in school. However, sometimes it’s given to college students too.


  1. Describe your first day of living in a new flat/house/apartment.
  2. Explain how visiting your grandparents influenced your character.
  3. Describe how your life changed when you got your pet.
  4. Describe your first week of living outside the parents’ home.
  5. Describe your best traveling experience.
  6. Explain how your first job helped you to become more independent.
  7. Describe a book that influenced your life philosophy.
  8. Explain the choice of your future profession.
  9. Explain how your favorite teacher changed your attitude to study.
  10. Describe the situation that embarrassed you most of all.




Literature is a very interesting subject. Reading a book or a poem different people may feel different emotions or accept the information in various ways. That’s why it’s always interesting to write your own explanations of something and then compare it to how your group mates see it.


This is the reason why teachers ask their students to write an expository essay about a poem or a book that was studied recently.


  1. Define which writing methods are often used in your favorite book.
  2. Explain the role of the monologues in a poem that you read recently.
  3. Explain the factors that could influence the behavior of the main character.
  4. Explain the reasons why poetry is less popular than it was 200 years ago.
  5. Define the main features that allow recognizing the style of the author.
  6. Explain criteria that are used for evaluating books, poems, and novels.
  7. Describe how a novel shall be created.
  8. Define the common features of the popular literature of the 18th century.
  9. Describe how dialogues help to attract the attention of a reader.
  10. Describe the subtext of a story.




Almost every student faces the task of writing an expository essay on a historical topic. Knowledge of history is required almost in every scientific sphere. Moreover, historical topics are often interesting to both a writer and a target auditory.


  1.  Define the most significant changes that have happened in medicine since the beginning of the 20th century.
  2. Explain how the legal system of the USA was formed.
  3. Describe the influence of the Second World War on the world’s economy.
  4. Define the key historical figures for the development of car industries.
  5. Explain the reasons for the First World War.
  6. Define the most important reasons for the development of the civilization of Ancient Egypt.
  7. Define the key differences in the legal system of Ancient Rome comparing to other countries of the same time.
  8. Explain which factor influenced the art of the 17th century.
  9. Explain the reasons for the popularity of communism.
  10. Define important reasons of civil revolution in the USA.


Social Issues


Writing an essay about some social issues is a great chance to get the attention of your target auditory and to get an excellent mark.


Why? The reason is the popularity of social issues and the interest they always cause. Moreover, the theme is attractive with its diversity and variety of topics connected to social issues. You can easily find something interesting and trendy to talk about.


  1. Describe the main negative changes that happened in society during the last decade.
  2. Define the key reasons of the growing rate of suicides among teenagers and young people.
  3. Explain how lessons of sexual education in schools can reduce the number of divorces in the future.
  4. Define which changes shall be made to help elderly people feel more involved in the social life.
  5. Describe how the relationship between parents and children changed in the last 50 years.
  6. Explain the main factors of unemployment growth.
  7. Describe possible means that can help young mothers to overcome post-natal depression.
  8. Explain the importance of tolerance between professional workers.
  9. Define the main social causes of bullying among school children.
  10. Explain why wearing the uniform may be important to college students.


Science and Technology


Writing about science or technology can be an exciting task. Topics connected to some new inventions and recent changes in the industry always cause a lot of interest and attention.


If you like to write on some unique topics, you can choose many themes that are fresh and trending in the sphere of science and technology.


  1. Explain why it’s important to have some IT classes in every school.
  2. Describe the role of science development in reducing the level of pollution globally.
  3. Define the industry that causes the most negative effect on the environment.
  4. Define the ways of developing genetic engineering without braking moral norms and values.
  5. Describe how solar energy can be used.
  6. Describe the way IT technologies may change in the nearest decade.
  7. Explain why it’s important to study black holes.
  8. Describe the newest medical inventions that are aimed at solving cerebral diseases.
  9. Define the most important factors for slowing the process of global warming down.
  10. Explain the opportunities space exploration gives for solving current environmental problems.


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