How to write a 500-word Essay in Seven steps

author By Mary Boies

Our essay nerds know better when it comes to writing essays in 500 words because they have completed thousands of 500-word essays to date.

500-word essay writing guide for beginners

Writing an essay can be traumatizing, stressful, and challenging, especially if it is your first. However, we have good news for you: you can transform that fear, stress, or intimidation into a powerful motivation that elevates your creativity and brings to life your writing skills.

In high school, college, or university, instructors/professors love assigning 500-word essays. Therefore, to stay ahead of the game and maintain a good GPA, you need to understand the tips, tricks, and structure of the dreaded 500-words essay.

In this article and guide, you will learn how to write an excellent 500-word essay, a skill that will be very helpful to you throughout your college life. In this post, you will discover everything you need to know about writing essays in 500 words perfectly.

Let's begin our journey through mastering the art of writing a 500-word essay.

What is a 500-word essay?

Let's start from the general perspective. An essay is a focused piece of writing where you explore or develop an argument, topic, or idea using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.

A 500-word essay is simply an essay that is five hundred words long. In other words, any assigned essay that requires a 500-word requirement is a 500-word essay. It could be a scholarship essay, a persuasive essay, or anything else.


A 500-word essay is an essay that is 500 words long. Usually, you are advised not to exceed the word limit. So, if asked to write a 500-word essay, you should try not to write a word beyond 500.

When typed, it is usually about 1.5 pages long. And when handwritten, it is often between two to three pages long. In terms of writing, a 500-word essay can be completed within an hour or two. 

Pages and Paragraphs

When writing a 500 words essay, you will write a full single-page, single-spaced. If you are writing in double spaces, you will write two pages considering that a page is 275 words. This happens assuming you are using Times New Roman or Arial font 12. We assume you can use the plus or minus 10% assignment word count rule.

A 500-word essay can be organized into five paragraphs. These include an introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.

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How long it takes to write a 500 words essay

It depends on the knowledge you have on the topic. If you have plenty of knowledge on a topic, it will take you between 40 minutes and 50 minutes to write a good 500-word essay.

If you do not know a topic, it will take 1 hour and 2 hours to research and write a 500-word essay. You will need more time to write a 500-word essay on a topic you do not know much about because you will need extra research, outlining, and proofreading.

Standard 500-word essay format/outline

The standard format for writing a 500-word essay has three key sections - introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction and the conclusion are usually just one paragraph long. The body is typically three paragraphs long.

Let's dive in.

1. Introduction

The introduction part of your essay should introduce or present your work to your reader. It must be engaging and interesting to grab the attention of the reader. Upon reading your introduction, your professor should know what you will be trying to do in your essay.

Do not forget to write your hook and thesis when outlining your introduction paragraph. Writing these down will make it easier for you to write your essay.

2. Body

The body of your essay should have three paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on one idea. Of course, the idea should support your thesis. So when writing each paragraph, make sure you start with an idea. And then follow the idea with evidence (facts, research, examples) and explain it. Lastly, conclude it nicely, linking it to your thesis or paragraph idea.

When outlining the body of your essay, you should outline each body paragraph and its essential points.

3. Conclusion

The conclusion paragraph of your essay should begin with a restatement of your thesis, followed by a restatement of your main supporting ideas or arguments. Finally, it should end with a powerful closing statement.     

When outlining your conclusion paragraph, you should at least restate your thesis and write your closing statement.   

You can format your 500 words into five paragraphs as follows

Types of 500-word essays

There are several types of 500-word essays. The most common ones are argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, and descriptive essays. The biggest similarity between these essays is that they all have a 500-word limit.

Learn more about these types of 500-word essays below.

1. Argumentative essays

An argumentative essay assignment requires you to choose a position and defend it. To write an excellent argumentative essay, you must have a strong thesis. And you need to defend it using strong evidence. You also need to present the opposite position and refute it.

2. Expository essays

An expository essay assignment requires you to provide a clear and detailed explanation of a topic. To write a good expository essay, you must conduct thorough research to ensure your essay is balanced and well-informed. You must also organize your essay nicely.

Related: How to write explanatory essays.

3. Narrative essays

A narrative essay assignment requires you to present either a personal experience or an imagined experience. To write an excellent narrative essay, you must try to make your work engaging and structure it properly to make it easy to understand.

4. Descriptive essays

A descriptive essay assignment requires you to provide a detailed description of an object or place. You should think of it as a focused narrative essay. You are allowed to use creative words when writing a descriptive essay. However, you should not go overboard when doing so.

How to Write a 500-Word Essay - The steps

500-word essay assignments are among the most common assignments students are required complete during a semester. Of course, the topic and the instructions will most likely determine whether the assignment will be easy to complete. However, you only have to write 500 words should motivate you to start and finish any 500-word assignment.

Generally, the same process you follow when writing a standard or comprehensive essay applies here. Let's get into the details.

Follow the steps below to write a 500-word essay from scratch.

1. Read and comprehend the instructions

This is probably the most important thing you want to do before researching or writing an essay. Failure to fully understand the instructions can lead to poorly researched essays and a low grade.

Therefore, read the instructions provided by your professor keenly to comprehend every word. Make sure you understand your professor's expectations before moving to step 2 below.

2. Think about what you want to write

Skip this step if you have been given a topic to focus on. If you have not been given a specific topic, you should think hard about what you want to write. Try to be as creative as possible when thinking about the topic. Imagine what topic will impress your professor if you write about it.

Imagine all the different things you will include in the essay and how you will structure it. Note down all the ideas you come up with. They will help you in the next step.

3. Choose a topic

After reading the instructions and thinking about what you want to write, you should choose a topic. Skip this step if you were already given a topic to focus on. If not, you should select an interesting topic.

It should be easy for you to develop a topic if you follow the step above and brainstorm to develop ideas. Ensure your chosen topic will be attractive enough for the reader (your instructor). If it is not, you may not get as high a grade as you might want. Also, ensure the topic can be comfortably discussed and supported within the 500-word limit.

4. Conduct a thorough research  

You should conduct thorough research after choosing the topic you want to write about. Researching the topic you want to write about is probably the most crucial part of essay writing. You will find all the important information you need about the topic through research.

This information should help make it easy for you to write your essay. Make sure you only gather information from credible or reliable sources. You don't want to lose marks for using random websites and unreliable sources.

5. Create an outline

You now know how to create a 500-word essay outline. So, create one using the information you gathered through research.

A good essay outline will make it very easy for you to write your 500-word essay. It will also make your essay structured and easy to read and understand.

Professors like structured essays usually give some marks/points for good organization.

Ensure the essay outline you create has your thesis, main arguments, and supporting evidence. If you do this, you will most likely never get stuck when writing your essay because you will have a map to guide you.

6. Write your essay

Now, you've got everything you need to write an excellent 500-word essay. You need to start. Start with the introduction paragraph, follow it with body paragraphs, and end your essay with a conclusion.

Some people do not write their introduction until they are done writing everything. Doing this is okay but not always recommended.

Writing your essay introduction first will help you clearly state your thesis and make your writing more oriented toward supporting it.

Doing it the other way helps if you want to change the thesis statement depending on how you have developed the body paragraphs. Whatever you choose, ensure that the introduction has an attention grabber, a brief background statement, and a thesis statement.

You can structure the body into three well-balanced paragraphs. The section should be approximately 300-400 words long. Use adequate transition words, phrases, examples, illustrations, citations, and evidence. Every paragraph should have a single idea that connects to your thesis. Since there is not much room for deep arguments, you should be focused. Avoid straying your thoughts or beating around the bush.

Finally, conclude your essay by summarizing your main argument and reaffirming the relevance of this argument. You should restate your thesis, present a few vital points, and finalize by giving your final thoughts. The conclusion can be 50-100 words long and should offer critical insights into the subject or topic.

When writing the paper, focus on writing and leave editing for the next stage.

7. Proofread and edit

When writing your essay, write! Follow the outline and write. Stop after writing your closing sentence in the last paragraph- the conclusion.

Do not worry about grammar, transition words, organization, and flow as you write your essay. You only need to worry about these things after you are done.

So, write everything first and then proofread and edit. When proofreading your work, try to make everything as clear as possible. Use transition words where necessary to enhance flow and readability. Remove grammar errors, typos, and so on. By the time you finish this step, your essay will be ready for submission.

Ensure that your paper meets the paragraphing rules before you submit it. You can use editing software such as Hemingway Editor, Pro Writing Aid, Grammarly, or Ginger software.

500-Word Essay Topics

Below are examples of 500-word essay topics. Picking an interesting essay topic will make your work easy and ensure it is not dull if you write it right.

9 Tips for writing a 500 words essay

Follow the tips below to write an excellent 500-word essay.

  1. Always have an outline. It is crucial to write an outline before you begin writing your essay. An outline will make it easier for you to write your essay.
  2. Develop a strong thesis. To develop a strong thesis, craft your essay prompt or topic as a question and answer it. Without a strong thesis, you won't be able to write an outstanding essay. Therefore, make sure you write a strong thesis in your introduction.
  3. Focus on your introduction. You have between 50 and 100 first sentences and words to convince your readers, do not waste yourself. Instead, succinctly invite your readers to read your essay from start to end. A good attention grabber will do the magic.
  4. Provide your point of view. It is vital to ensure that your thoughts and views are visible throughout the essay. Your essay should be largely evidence-based but try to infuse your understanding of the evidence and arguments throughout your work.
  5. Check grammar. You should never submit your essay before checking grammar and editing out everything wrong in it. A well-edited essay will be a joy for your instructor to read.
  6. Proofread your paper (dot your I and cross your t). ensure that your essay lacks grammatical, syntax, spelling, punctuation, and presentation errors. Read your essay aloud or hand it over to a friend, professional proofreader, or classmate to get a second opinion and perspective that can help you improve the paper.
  7. Check for plagiarism. Sometimes, you might paraphrase, summarize, or quote wrongly in the heat of a hurry. To ensure that everything is okay, assess your work for plagiarism. You can do so using an online plagiarism checker such as PlagScan.
  8. Read Samples. Reading samples of 500-word essays online can help you understand how to address a topic or question in an essay without veering off. You will get inspiration on how to structure and organize the essay.
  9. Stick to the word count. You should not exceed the word count when asked to write a 500-word essay. Ensure your essay is between 400 and 500 words to avoid being penalized during marking. Only focus on the word count as you edit your essay and not when writing. You can always condense points when done rather than painfully use tactics to make an essay longer to meet the word count.

Although writing a 500-words essay can be intimidating at first, it becomes fun when you have these nerd tips and tricks at your fingertips. Even when an essay is part of an exam, sensitive scholarship essay, or personal statement, your composure matters the most. You should strive to assert your intellectual prowess, writing skills, and creativity. Make it count!

Concluding remarks

In this step-by-step guide, you have learned almost everything important you need to know about writing a 500-word essay. The most important thing you need to do to write a good essay is to create a good outline, plan well, and research well. A good outline will make it easy for you to write your essay because it will act as a map you can follow whenever you are lost.

Related Article: how to prepare for ACT and score better.

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