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Thursday Oct 18, 2018

Diagnostic Essay - Tips for Excellent Writing

In most cases, a diagnostic essay is given to you as an assignment at the beginning of the semester. It is part of the professor's job to test students' writing skills. It's not that big of a deal in regards to your overall grade because they rarely use it for end-of-the-semester evaluating purposes.

Professors evaluate what weak and strong points your writing has so that it's clear to them what material to cover during the semester. It may also happen that a new teacher, who wants to see how good you are at writing essays, assigns it as a sort of a test. It's not the paper you need to spend days editing. Your write a diagnostic essay in a short period so that the teacher can review your academic writing skills.

For this assignment not to be of too much stress to a student, you can follow some tips for writing a diagnostic essay. Do not spend too much time planning because time-management skills are what the majority of students lack. Half an hour would be perfect, seeing as you only have so much time in a span of one class.

The writing stage is when you need to take your time and carefully think every sentence over. Some students tend not to take this assignment seriously and rush it, forgetting to present ideas according to the preferred format. Student can even ignore some steps completely, which is utterly preposterous. Haste makes waste, as it goes! Below are a few things students should be aware of if they want to succeed:

  • After you have selected a topic, you need to jot down the main ideas.
  • Settle on the basic five-paragraph format structure - no need to reinvent the wheel.
  • Make it no longer than 500 words because you have an hour or so to write this paper.
  • Brainstorm the topic to develop valuable and interesting ideas promptly.
  • Do not deviate from the essential format requirements.
  • Develop your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph (introduction).
  • Outline each section of the diagnostic essay. It must be structured and organized well so that the reader can follow and understand the text easily.

Skipping the introduction and conclusion is not allowed because those are mandatory. The main body should contain the main ideas ranging from the most essential to the less important, all of them supported by solid evidence. The transition from one paragraph to another should be smooth and logical. At every stage, there should be a limited amount of time spent to complete the essay writing within the timeframe specified by your professor.

Diagnostic Essay Definition

It is a type of essay given by teachers at the start of the academic semester to assess the students' writing abilities so that they know where to improve. Usually, a prompt or question is provided as a topic to expound on in the paper. Speed is a significant asset in this writing "contest," so this assignment should be finished in a short time frame.

There is no research to conduct before writing such an essay. The student gets to portray their capacity of being efficient in writing so that pre-writing, final editing, and proofreading is done within a specific, often limited, timeframes. This paper does not add up to your grades, so do not lose your head right from the start.

The diagnostic essay can be described as an essay given during the lesson or lecture time; hence, it should be written and completed in class. It's an easy way for the professor to identify the current state of the student's knowledge, know where the audience should improve academically, and determine the areas that lack their attention or support.

Just like every other essay, this one should follow the basic format requirements so that the reader understands it without getting confused. Here are some tips on outlining your essay so that it lives up to all the standards given by general academic guidelines.

  • Come up with an attention-grabbing introduction.
  • Arrange an outline of your main ideas.
  • Write the thesis statement.
  • Compose the main body paragraphs that explain and back up your thesis statement with solid arguments.
  • Create a conclusion, making sure you include all the main points mentioned in the central part.
  • Double-check everything. Are all the ideas you've come up with in the body paragraphs backed with proof? Check punctuation, grammar, and spelling mistakes, if any.

Tips on Structure

It is a five-paragraph essay that uses the core standard structure. Therefore, it should include an introduction, the main body with three paragraphs, and a conclusion. Since you can't complete this assignment at home, you have to be fast when writing. Divide all your time into planning, editing, and proofreading phases. You should not worry much about score here - focus on showcasing your writing skills at the moment. Typically, you receive your topic by way of a prompt or question. It can be one for the whole class or individual. That depends on what the professor wants.


First of all, review your main points. When you know what you are going to write in the body paragraphs and understand the topic clearly, it is simple to write the intro. You can paraphrase the prompt, and then emphasize your three main ideas through a summary. To grab the reader's attention, you should consider placing a hook or something interesting at the beginning. It's vitally important to make the audience eager to read the essay, and a right hook is a driver behind it. A thesis statement should be placed toward the end of the first paragraph, comprised of 2-3 sentences.

Main Body

Write all the main ideas in each paragraph and explain them clearly. You should create a proper transition from one idea to the next because coherent arguments are essential. Typically, you start with the second-strongest point and move along to the strongest one. To stay on track of the topic, you should regularly refer to the thesis statement.


It is the ending paragraph of your diagnostic essay. Recap the main ideas stated in the introduction and the thesis statement. To avoid repetition, you should paraphrase those. No new information must be raised here because you sort things out or do a recap here.

Diagnostic Essay Topics

If you have several topics to choose from, select the one that is interesting enough. You should understand what you want to write in due order. Below are some topics you can encounter in your class:

  • The convenience of an educational school trip.
  • My dream country I look forward to visiting some day.
  • My mother (or father) is my role model.
  • Why is sleep a necessity?
  • Cold medication can be hazardous in the wrong hands.

As you can see, diagnostic essay writing is a relatively easy task, given you know where to start and how to solve it. Good luck to you!

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