How to Write a 500-Word Essay – Guide & Examples

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Written By Jim Peterson

Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

A Complete Guide To The 500 Word Essay featured image intro image

Five hundred words may not sound much. But when you have little to no knowledge of a topic, it isn’t easy to even reach 100 words. So how do you get 500 on your word count?

Keep reading for my step-by-step guide on how to write a 500-word essay easily. These tips will increase your chance of obtaining a perfect score, getting a scholarship, or convincing your readers to do something.

What Is a 500-Word Essay?

A 500-word essay is a piece of writing considered a common requirement among students. This paper usually has three parts: an introductory statement or thesis statement, a body paragraph, and a conclusion.

The 500-word essay format may have a consistent structure. But the types of essays vary according to the subject matter or requirement. You may be required to present an argument, describe a phenomenon, or recall an event.

Producing a 500-word essay is easy if you know the requirements and have enough writing skills. Exceptional techniques ensure that all sentences are coherent and essential to the entire paper.

500-Word Paper Essay Types

Your essay type will depend on the requirements and overall theme of the paper. For instance, you can write argumentative essays for your political science class or a scholarship essay when applying for college. Here are the most common essay types you’ll encounter.

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay tells a story about different things. It can be a college essay telling your life story or personal experiences. It can also be an effective essay that requires creativity and imagination.

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Narrative essays also follow the basic structure of an essay. But it would help if you used literary techniques in this essay type, such as metaphors, analogies, imagery, and metaphors.

Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay is a concise paper that offers a detailed description of a certain topic. You might describe a past event, place, object, or scientific method. Descriptive essays should also have an exceptional essay flow to show a complete and understandable explanation.

Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays require analytical skills because you must take a side on a particular topic. You need to base your paper on facts rather than emotion. For example, your argumentative essay can be about being for or against a new policy.

Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay aims to convince readers to side with your opinion or do something. Writing essays of this kind requires both emotional appeal and facts.

For example, your persuasive essay can be a letter to your parents telling them why they should buy you a new gadget.

How to Format a 500-Word Piece

A 500-word writing piece should have this format to ensure that the arguments are clear to the reader.

Introduction Paragraph

  • Hook statement
  • Background details
  • Compelling thesis statement

Body Paragraphs

  • Essay topic sentence
  • Supporting details
  • Concluding sentence


  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Summarized key points
  • Final thought

How to Write a 500-Word Essay

Now let’s look at this step-by-step guide to making a 500-word essay.

Create an Outline

The first thing to writing an excellent essay is to create an outline. This will allow you to plan every element of your paper using the common structure. Creating an outline is also easy if an essay prompt is already provided.

One common mistake among essay writers is not making a list for the outline. Use bullet points to make the entire plan simple and organized, from the introduction to the conclusion. Here’s a basic example of an outline for an essay about why we should read more books.


  • Hook statement: Have you ever felt stressed, lonely, or depressed?
  • Background details: 73% of people have stress that impacts their mental health.
  • Thesis statement: Individuals should read more books to improve their mental health.

Body Paragraph 1

  • Essay topic sentence: Reading allows you to wind down before bedtime.
  • Supporting details:
    • The mind races before bedtime.
    • Importance of putting down the phone before bedtime.
    • Physical books are better than e-books when reading at night.
  • Concluding sentence: Read a physical book at least one hour before bedtime.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Essay topic sentence: Reading makes humans more understanding.
  • Supporting details:
    • Research states that literary fiction improves a reader’s capacity to think and feel.
    • When we read about similar experiences, we feel less alone.
  • Concluding sentence: Read fictional novels and short stories to improve your empathy.

Body Paragraph 3

  • Essay topic sentence: Reading improves your focus and overall brain function.
  • Supporting details:
    • Thinking and imagining make your brain stronger.
    • Following words builds your memory.
  • Concluding sentence: Start reading any genre to improve your concentration.


  • Restate thesis statement: Individuals should read more books to improve their mental health.
  • Summarized key points: Reading helps you wind down before bedtime, makes you more understanding, and improves your focus.
  • Final thought: Suggestions on where to buy inexpensive books in town.

Write a Good Introduction

Once you have an outline, writing a good introduction should be a breeze. Since it’s the first part of the essay, take it as an opportunity to grab the attention of readers. Depending on your target audience, it can be through a joke, statistics, or personal anecdote.

An amazing essay should not have a long introduction. For a 500-word essay task, the standard requirement for an intro is about 3-5 brief sentences. Aside from the hook statement or background, this section should include your thesis statement or main point.

Example: “Have you ever felt highly stressed or depressed that you struggled to find a coping mechanism? If you do, you may be one of the 73% of Americans whose stress impacts their mental health. One way to battle mental health problems is by reading.”

Compose the Body Paragraphs

Once you’re done with the hook introduction, it’s time to compose the body. This includes your arguments, supporting details, and possible counterarguments against your claim. The key to writing a compelling essay is to start with the topic sentence.

To make your essay more organized, divide the body paragraphs into the number of arguments you have. Since we have three points to make in our essay, we should compose a 3-paragraph body with around 100-150 words each.

Creating the body paragraph can be a challenging task. So, re-examine your main point of view and present solid facts. You can also appeal to your reader’s emotions or show off your creative writing skills, depending on your essay type.

Below is an example body paragraph for “Reading improves your focus and overall brain function.”

“Reading also improves your focus and overall brain function. Studies show that reading stimulates a human being’s part of the brain responsible for concentration, decision-making, and attention called the prefrontal cortex. No matter the genre of the book, reading can enhance brain connectivity and increase one’s attention span. Reading also improves your memory and vocabulary due to the new neurons being produced in the brain. It is a helpful pastime for students who need to study several hours a day or aging individuals who do not want their cognitive abilities to decline. You don’t need to consume technical non-fiction to improve your brain function. Pick up any book that sparks your interest to have great focus and memory.”

Draft a Compelling Conclusion

The biggest mistake you can make when writing an essay is forgetting the conclusion. The conclusion is one of the key elements for tying everything together and reaffirming your essay question.

A 3000-word essay may include additional key elements in the conclusion, such as recommendations for future research. However, classic essay writing treats the conclusion as a cohesive element that merely summarizes everything.

Professional essay writers repeat the thesis statement and present general conclusions in this section.

“Individuals should read to improve their mental health. Reading physical books, especially before bedtime, helps you wind down and escape from different stressors. Literary fiction improves a person’s ability to understand or empathize with others. Lastly, this activity enhances one’s focus and memory. Therefore, it’s best to read physical books, primarily literary fiction, before bedtime to enhance one’s overall mental health and well-being. Go to the nearest bookstore at Oak Lane now and pick any book that interests you.”

Tips for Writing a Great 500-Word Essay

Writing a 500-word essay may get complicated if you do not follow these tips.

Understand the Requirements

Reading and following instructions from your professor can make essay writing a simple task. Usually, the instructor provides an essay question you should answer, a topic, or a theme.

But if you are free to write about anything, your choice of theme must appeal to their interest.​ Understanding the requirements will also give you an idea of your audience. It will help you decide on the style and form of your writing.

The requirements also include the standard format of the paper. Aside from the essay length, you will be asked to write using a specific font, usually Times New Roman. Check whether you need to use single spaces or double spaces.


Once you know the essay format and other requirements, it’s time to brainstorm the essay content. For many college students, this step takes the longest time. In fact, starting an essay from scratch involves a longer brainstorming process than the writing process.

Think of exciting ideas that will allow you to craft a perfect essay. Write all your ideas down, then filter them in the next stage. You can also try freewriting to determine whether a topic is worth pursuing.

Some visual learners prefer drawing a map of ideas instead of lists. Break down big ideas into smaller ones. For example, if your teacher asks you to write about the different aspects of your life, reflect on what you will include in your social, family, and academic life.

Refrain from pressuring yourself at this stage because brainstorming does not require you to plan the entire essay. Consider it a baby step to deciding on your topic and creating an outline.


Once you know the standard essay format and have an awesome theme for your 500-word writing piece, it’s time to do some research. If you’re a college or university student, you must already have some sort of experience with this task.

Refrain from being swayed by a single source. Otherwise, you’ll end up being biased or copying this paper. Have sufficient background knowledge about the topic, then learn how to take a critical approach.

Cite Your Sources

College papers or any academic essay will require you to cite sources to check which parts of your paper are original. Having a space for your list of references also lets your readers know that your piece is reliable.

Check the requirements on the citation style you should use. It could be MLA, APA, Chicago, CSE, or Turabian.

Make Sure to Edit and Proofread Several Times

Even if you have a concise piece, it helps to perform several rounds of edits on your work before submitting it. Keep it free from confusing sentences, grammar errors, and typos. You also want to ensure your citations are correct, especially when paraphrasing or quoting.

Have Someone Read Your Essay

An expert who offers essay writing services might help you create an attention-grabbing piece. The work of an editor goes beyond correcting writing mistakes. They allow you to see gaps in your arguments, evaluate your target audience, and teach proper formatting.

Take Breaks

Sometimes, we lose objectivity and creativity when we work too much on the same piece. Taking a break lets you return to work with a fresh mind and a better perspective.

Get enough sleep and go out. Instead of living inside your head, observe your environment and take inspiration from it.

You can also take breaks by reading. Evaluate how an author has caught your attention and see what methods you can imitate from them.

500-Word Essay Topics

Here are some essay examples you might consider as topics for your next paper.

  • Admissions essay
  • Scholarship applications
  • Essay on honesty
  • Leadership essay
  • What is love?
  • Building your online presence
  • The pros and cons of homeschooling
  • My summer vacation
  • Importance of sports
  • Festivals in my country
  • Population
  • Tourism
  • What is religion?
  • What is an ideal student?
  • How to save water

How Many Paragraphs Are in a 500-Word Essay?

It depends on the requirement. But essays should always have one paragraph for the introduction and another for the conclusion. Standard outlines require three paragraphs for the body, giving you a total of five paragraphs.

How Many Pages Is a 500-Word Essay?

It depends on your font style, size, and spacing. A 500-word essay can fit on one page if you use single spaces. But if you use double spaces, you will need about 1.5 pages.

How Long Should It Take to Write a 500-Word Essay?

The time it takes to write a 500-word essay depends on your writing skills. But you must allot at least two days to complete the task.

Become a Better Essay Writer

This comprehensive guide revealed all the secrets you need to write a 500-word essay. A 500-word piece should be long enough to fit all your ideas and short enough not to make you feel tired after writing.

Allot two days for brainstorming, outlining, writing, and editing. Don’t forget to take quick breaks and continue researching your topic.

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