How to Write a Great Argumentative Essay

How to Write a Great Argumentative Essay

Written by Chris Hernandez

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Want to write an argumentative essay that stands out from the rest? Learn the 8 steps to writing a great essay so what you write is convincing and effective.

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is a type of writing that seeks to convince the reader of a certain perspective by presenting evidence and counterarguments. The goal is to convince the reader to accept the writer's thesis or take a particular action. The essay is based on a specific issue or topic, and the writer puts forward arguments, evidence, and counterarguments to support their stance.

To create an argumentative essay that is effective, the author should do research to find data that supports their opinion, take into consideration alternate points of view, and display a sensible argument. The essay should be formatted in a way that states the main point, provides supportive proof, and then discredits any opposing perspectives.

How Can Mastering the Skills of Argumentative Essay Writing Benefit You?

Having basic knowledge of writing good argumentative essays can be extremely beneficial for potential journalists. Knowing how to effectively craft an argument and present evidence to back it up can help journalists make compelling cases to support their stories. 

Additionally, being able to create persuasive and thoughtful arguments can help journalists advocate for their work and ensure it is given the attention and recognition it deserves. Finally, having an understanding of argumentative writing can help journalists develop a unique writing style and stand out from other journalists.

Argumentative Essay Structure

The structure of an argumentative essay typically includes an introduction, a thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

The introduction should provide background information on the topic and the thesis statement, which is the main argument or position that the writer will defend.

The body paragraphs should each present a different argument or standpoint, with supporting evidence and counterarguments, and the conclusion should summarize the main points and restate the thesis statement.

The 8 Steps to Writing a Good Argumentative Essay

To craft a successful argumentative essay, it is necessary to have a methodical approach, have strong writing proficiency, and be knowledgeable of the test's design and expectations. To assist you, here are some steps to take when writing your essay:

1. Understand the Essay Prompt

Ensure that you understand the question posed in the prompt. Generally, the SAT essay prompts will request that you assess the argument presented in the passage, gauging its efficacy in convincing the reader. To do so, you must read the text intently and dissect its argument, noting both its assets and deficiencies.

2. Plan Your Essay

Allow yourself time to think about and plan your essay before beginning. Make an outline that consists of your key points and evidence. Remember to think about how you will organize your essay and what examples you will use to back up your points.

3. Write a Strong Introduction

Begin your introduction with something that will draw the reader in and make them want to learn more. Provide necessary context on the topic and finish with a concise thesis that outlines your primary point.

4. Develop your Body Paragraphs

An argumentative essay typically consists of three or more paragraphs that explain why you support your thesis. Each body paragraph should present a different idea or evidence and include a topic sentence that briefly and precisely explains why the reader should agree with your position. 

In the body paragraphs, provide examples to back up your claims and explain how they relate to the overall argument. Additionally, address any opposing points of view and either refute them or explain why you disagree with them. 

Offering factual information and considering a topic from various perspectives adds credibility and can help you gain a reader's trust.

5. Use Effective Transitions

Include transitional phrases and sentences in your essay to create a smooth flow of ideas. This will aid the reader in understanding your perspective and the logic behind it.

6. Address Counterarguments

Take into account any opposing viewpoints that might weaken your argument. Doing so will show that you have thought about different points of view and make your argument even more convincing.

7. Write a Strong Conclusion

In your conclusion, reiterate the main point of your thesis and briefly review the key arguments you made. Additionally, you may make some concluding remarks about the topic and contemplate the consequences or solutions that could come from it.

8. Edit and Revise

After you have completed your essay, set aside time to review it. Assess for any mistakes in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Ensure that your argument is coherent and that the essay structure is organized and comprehensible.

It is important to ensure that an SAT argumentative essay is composed orderly, is expressed in a clear manner, and provides robust evidence and examination to back up its claims.

Writing the Thesis Statement

The single sentence that is your thesis statement is the most vital part of an argumentative essay. It should appear in the introduction, succinctly summarizing the main idea of the essay and preparing the reader for the body of the text. Following one of the following guidelines will make sure you effectively express your point in your introduction:

  • Create an Intriguing Question from the Topic

Turn the topic into a question and answer it. Set up a big question in the title of your essay or within the first few sentences. Then, build up to answering that question in your thesis statement. For example, in your title or introduction, you could pose the question, “What is the best type of dessert?” And then answer with your thesis statement: “The best type of dessert is chocolate chip cookie ice cream.” 

This method is effective because intriguing questions draw readers in and encourage them to keep reading to find the answer.

  • Refute an Argument by Stating an Alternative

Present an argument that goes against your own opinion, then explain why you don't agree with it. For instance, “Some may argue that chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches are too sweet, but they offer a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The crunchy cookie and creamy ice cream create a delicious combination that cannot be replicated any other way.”

This approach is successful due to the fact that it is supported by facts and quickly establishes your credibility.

  • Outline your Main Points with Explanations

You can take a simple choc chip cookie ice cream and make it a gourmet treat by adding additional toppings. This technique is useful as it gives readers an idea of what is to come in the essay and serves as a guide to keep the essay organized.

Presenting your Arguments 

Once you have determined the subject of your argument and created your thesis statement, think about the best way to present your position. You can use any of the following five different kinds of argumentative claims to structure your essay:

  • Claim: A statement that you are asserting as true or false.
  • Interpretation: A description of the concept being discussed, along with your own perspective on it.
  • Significance: The value of the argument being presented.
  • Consequence: The results of the issue outlined in your essay, and why it matters.
  • Recommendation: What should be done in response to the problem, and why the reader should take action.

If you choose to write the optional essay, you will have fifty minutes to compose your essay at the end of the SAT. You will have two double-sided, lined pages on which to write. 

Make sure you use the space to include every point you want to make, but do not try to fill up the pages with unnecessary information. 

Writing just to use up space will be detected by the readers and could result in negative consequences.

What to Expect of an SAT Essay

Note: In June 2021, the College Board made the decision to no longer offer the SAT essay. Now, only a handful of states and school districts have the option of taking the essay, and it is required for some students who participate in the SAT School Day program, among other select groups.

Since the guidelines for the SAT essay never vary, you can commit them to memory and practice writing essays. Make sure to adhere to the directions, consider your ideas carefully before writing, prioritize your points, and ensure that the essay is well-written. Doing this will help you achieve a good score on the SAT essay, which is an optional but significant element of the exam.

The SAT essay tests a student's ability to comprehend and assess an author's argument in a 600 to 750-word passage within the allowed 50 minutes. The challenge for each essay is to analyze the given reading, without either agreeing or disagreeing with the author. The task instead is to explain the argument, and how it attempts to sway its audience.

The College Board has determined that passages used in their exams are taken from published works in the broad categories of the arts, sciences, politics, civics and culture, and are composed in a manner to be understood by the public. These passages require careful consideration and examination to identify the subtle arguments within.

Examples of topics that could be the subject of an argumentative essay include issues like gun control, abortion, capital punishment, climate change, and immigration.


In conclusion, writing an argumentative essay is a challenging yet rewarding task that allows you to express your opinion in a persuasive and cohesive manner. To ensure success, it is important to be well-informed, think critically, and use evidence to support your argument. 

If you need help getting started, Amikka Learning's online and one-on-one tutorials provide exceptional guidance. Plus, you can contact Amikka for a free trial to see if it’s a good fit for you. Don’t hesitate to get started and become an expert in argumentative essay writing. Get started here!

Written by Founder
Chris Hernandez

Christopher Hernandez, the founder of Amikka Learning, couldn’t afford expensive SAT tutoring so he spent hundreds of hours studying on his own.

After improving over 400 points and attending an Ivy League school he realized how unfair the playing field was with tutoring: no matter how smart you were, if you couldn’t afford tutoring you were stuck.
His dream was to change this.

He began tutoring for the SAT and quickly realized that he was a gifted tutor. His students were loving his program and improving very fast.

Fast forward 8 years, Amikka is a leader in the education industry and has helped thousands of students get into their dream schools.

If you’d like a free consultation for 1-on-1 tutoring schedule a call with our team here.

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