Guidelines on How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay

Guidelines on How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay

Ultimate Guide to Writing an A-Grade 5-Paragraph Essay

It is a common practice in high schools and colleges to undertake standardized tests. A standardized test is simply an essay that students taking a certain class or course unit are required to write addressing a specific prompt as per given parameters.

One of the requirement of standardized tests, apart from the prompt, is the need to write an essay of a specified size. For instance, students may be required to write a 5-paragraph essay, a 10-paragraph essay, a 5-page essay or a 10-page essay and so forth.

However, most students face numerous challenges on how to structure such as a 5-paragraph essay or a 5-page essay. Others lack the required writing knowledge to address the paper in an academically proven approach.

A 5-paragraph essay can be written for any type of a paper. For instance, it can be written as an expository essay, argumentative essay, persuasive essay, cause and effect essay, a book review essay among others. The list is endless. What matters in working on any of these papers is understanding what each of them involves. You might want to review our article on research papers writing to have an idea of what the various paper types involve. 

If you follow the guideline explained in this article and the sample 5-paragraph essay included, you should be able to undertake any 5-paragraph essay without any problem.

What is a 5-paragraph essay?

A 5-paragraph essay is any complete academic paper written in five paragraphs. A paragraph is simply a series of coherent and well-structured sentences addressing the same idea. A paragraph has a minimum of three sentences. A paragraph starts with a topic sentence and ends with a concluding sentence in most cases. Most paragraphs are about 150 words unless specified otherwise by your instructor.

Structure of a 5-paragraph Essay

In terms of structure, a 5-paragraph essay is an academic paper with an introduction paragraph, 3 body paragraphs and the conclusion paragraph. If you know what each of the stated paragraphs comprises, you should be set by now to write a good 5-paragraph paper. However, for the sake of clarification, let's delve into each of the section’s structure: introduction, body and conclusion.

Introduction Paragraph

This paragraph gives the background of your paper starting from a broad scope and ending with your thesis statement. It would be an advisable practice to start your essay with a sentence that captures the attention of the reader. 

The Body Paragraphs

These should be three paragraphs for a 5-pararaph essay. A standard paragraph is approximately 150 words.

The body paragraphs should present ideas, thoughts or facts that support your thesis statement. The ideas need to be well researched. They should also be presented in a manner that portrays their connection. The points need to be well organized and clear.

Each of the paragraphs should have a topic sentence, supporting argument and a concluding sentence. The sentences presenting your supporting evidence in each paragraph should include analysis of why you think your topic sentence is true.

While writing your body paragraphs, it helps to have the first and the last paragraphs having the strongest points. In the case of an essay with different number of paragraphs, the first few paragraphs should have the strong points and with another strong point reserved for the last body paragraph.

The Concluding Paragraph

This paragraph summarizes your essay. It involves restating your thesis statement and connecting it with the supporting thoughts, ideas and facts presented in the body paragraphs. You last sentence in the conclusion section should state the primary idea observed relative to the thesis statement.

Refrain from including new information on your concluding paragraph. Subsequently, you should include any in-text citation in this paragraph.

Tips for Writing an Excellent 5-Paragraph Essay

In order to write an excellent essay, you need to ensure that you meet the following basic requirements:

Make an outline for your essay

Making an outline is crucial for all essays. Essay outlines are especially essential in papers that are limited to a specific size such as a 5-paragraph essay, 6-paragraph essay and so on.

You can check the article on making an essay outline to understand how to make a comprehensive essay outline. In case you need help to write an essay outline, you can request our writers to do it for you.

Ensure your 5-paragraph essay is precise and focused

Have you met the objectives of your essay? This should be the basic thing to check to be certain that you've met the requirements of your essay assignment. You also need to check if your arguments support your thesis statement.


You need to determine if your paper is written in an academic manner. Your essay should exhibit high creativity.

Organization and presentation

Your 5-paragraph essay should flow in a manner that is easy to read and understand. There should be good transition from one point to another or from one paragraph to another. You also need to ensure that your essay follows the basic introduction, body and conclusion structure of an essay.

Well-researched content

Your essay content should be well researched. The arguments should be well cited, factual and logical. Additionally, the content should be persuasive relative to the thesis statement.

What Are Some of the Topics That Can Be Written in a 5-Paragraph Essay?

ü Does incarceration reduce criminal activity?

ü Do you believe in destiny?

ü Defining the word family/love/honesty etc

ü Is the government helping the poor?

ü Should athlete students be paid?

ü An essay about your teacher

ü Should the use of animals for tests be allowed?

ü Should death sentence be effected?

These are just samples essays that can be covered in 5-paragraph papers. The list is endless. Nonetheless, the approach is the same.

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5-paragraph essays are common assignment tasks in high school, college and universities. You might have been required to write several of these essay types. We have highlighted essential guidelines in writing a quality 5-paragraph essay.

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Example of a 5-Paragraph Essay on Patient Safety

This is a sample 5-pagraph essay covering the importance of effective identification of patients in improving their safety.

In case you need a similar customized essay, you can request our.

Patient-Focused Function: Accurate Patient Identification

(Introductory paragraph)

Healthcare quality has been an area of critical concern with the Joint Commission International seeking to improve its delivery and status. Various standards have been formulated to guide the minimum standards required for when dealing with patients and the hospitals. Among the diverse standards formulated by the commission, there are those that are concerned with the improvement of patient safety. One such standard is that hospitals should develop and implement a process or program for improving the accuracy of identifying patients. This standard, designated Standard IPSG.1, seeks to ensure that patients are identified correctly (Joint Commission International & Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, 2013). Identification of a patient and their matching to the intended treatment or diagnosis are crucial preliminary action. Mismatch of a patient and any of their corresponding components in any of the stages can result in risk to patient safety. Such mismatch can result in such as wrong site procedure, person or medication errors. Subsequently, effective patient identification is imperative in ensuring and promoting patient safety.

(Body paragraph 1)

Spain et al. (2015) observed that the use of armbands before collection of samples, asking for names and date of birth improved patient identification by approximately 54%, 68%, and 71% respectively. These effects were more pronounced with the performance of patient and healthcare education regarding proper patient identification practices. Dobson, Doan and Hung (2013) performed a case study of previous literature evaluating patient identification as an approach to improving healthcare. In their case study, they found that 20 articles made observations that supported the use of patient tracking to improve their safety out of the 22 articles reviewed. A report by Healthcare Financial Management Association in 2016 evaluated various risks for inaccurate patient identification. They accounted for the existence of several risks associated with incorrect patient identification.

(Body paragraph 2)

The article by Spain and colleagues (2015) uses a quantitative approach to evaluate the effects of improved patient identification. The research made significant observations by stating that patient identification can be improved through the incorporation of education and other initiatives such as asking patients their names. However, this research fails to answer its hypothesis. The approach used does not state the nature of the effect of improving patient identification as indicated in the hypothesis.

(Body paragraph 3)

The report by Healthcare Financial Management Association (2016) makes crucial inferences regarding effects of ineffective patient identification practices. The report also makes recommendations on different approaches that can be used to improve patient identification. Despite the inferences being supported by other previous literature, the report does not provide data to support the inferences made on the effects of ineffective patient identification. Incorporation of various patient identification methods such as barcode and radio-frequency identification can help improve patient safety as proposed by Dobson, Doan and Hung (2013). The use of previous literature for the case study contributes to answering the research question. However, inferences made using a field case study would have been more valid since literature selection can be ambiguous.


Patient safety is a critical process in healthcare delivery. It is essential in making timely and accurate diagnoses and follow-ups of patients. A mismatch of identity would result in wrong diagnosis and treatment. The importance of an effective system of patient identification is indispensable in ensuring their safety. This observation has been affirmed by the various research reviewed. However, for this standard to be effective, other supportive initiatives are required. Such involve education to sensitize both the healthcare professionals and the patients on good identification practices. The standard should hence accommodate such activities that improve patient safety through good identification practices.


Dobson, I., Doan, Q., & Hung, G. (2013). A Systematic Review of Patient Tracking Systems for Use in the Pediatric Emergency Department. Journal Of Emergency Medicine (0736-4679)44(1), 242-248. doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2012.02.017

Healthcare Financial Management Association (2016). The Value of Precise Patient Identification. hfm (Healthcare Financial Management)70(4), 1-8.

Joint Commission International,, & Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations,. (2013). Joint Commission International accreditation standards for hospitals: Including standards for Academic Medical Center Hospitals. Oakbrook Terrace, IL: Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

Spain, D., Crilly, J., Pierce, J., Steele, M., Scuffham, P., & Keijzers, G. (2015). Can a barcode scanner for blood collection improve patient identification integrity in the emergency department? A prospective before‐and‐after study. Emergency Medicine Australasia27(1), 47-54.

Published on: 9 Jan 2019