Writing an outline for a 5-paragraph essay

In most of the essays, the format that most students follow is the “5 Paragraph Essay”. The name of this format is a result of the five-paragraph structure that is followed in such essays.

These paragraphs are:

  • Introductory Paragraph
  • Three Body Paragraphs
  • Conclusion Paragraph

There are several other names given to this type of essay. Some of them are “one-three-one”, “hamburger” or “three-tier” essays. It is used in most exams, such as the TOEFL, IELTS, and SAT. Since most of these exams limit students’ time on the "Writing" section of an exam, students are trained to memorize this format. This allows students to answer the exam prompt quickly and efficiently.

The Outline

In any essay, it is important for us to follow the structure. Therefore, an outline is also needed for these types of essays as well. The typical format for an essay starts with an introduction, has three body paragraphs, and sums everything up with a conclusion. Each body paragraph serves a specific purpose, and the essay should take the form of a keyhole. This means that it starts very broad, gets increasingly narrow, and finishes out broad.

Introduction Paragraph

The first paragraph is about the introduction to the topic of the essay. I recommend that this college essay outline should be started with a hook statement so that the interest of the reader is captured. A hook is a 1-2 sentence statement. It can be a number of things like an anecdote, joke, simile, metaphor, literary quote, fact, rhetorical question, or even a statistic. It is however recommended that you check the correctness of the information that you are using.

Hook Statement

There are some points that you must follow as you make a hook statement:

  • The introduction sets the structure for the rest of the essay, with the first sentence being the hook sentence.
  • The hook sentence is kind of like the spark to a flame. It grabs the reader's attention.

Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is an essential part of the 5 paragraph essay that you are writing. This statement will be the basis for the rest of your essay. A good example of a thesis statement would be:

“The preservation of our planet is the most important aspect of keeping the rising temperatures in our atmosphere in check and avoiding great disasters”

Body Paragraphs

Body Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 (5-7 Sentences)

Let’s figure out how to start a body paragraph. Even though all body paragraphs are equally vital, keep in mind that the opening paragraph should be the strongest one. It may include the most potent argument. The essay writer should come up with the most vivid example, the smartest illustration, and an obvious starting point — the topic sentence. Do not forget to add a “reverse hook” sentence. Each argument of the body must relate to the thesis. Here are some other facts about the body::

  • This is the main substance of your 5 paragraph essay, where you explain the position you are defending. In other words, it has to relate to your thesis sentence.
  • The intro sentence should briefly bring about your argument, without revealing too much information about what you are about to discuss in the body paragraphs.

A general rule for your essay is

  • The 1st body paragraph should be your strongest argument.
  • The 2nd body should be your weakest argument.
  • The 3rd body should be your most persuasive argument.


The last paragraph of your paper must contain these elements:

  • An allusion to what was said in the opening part.
  • A rewritten thesis statement, using your own new, original language and interpretation — do not merely copy-paste the thesis.
  • A summary of the three major points from the paper’s body.
  • A closing statement that alarms the reader that the discussion is about to be over.

5 Paragraph Essay Outline Example


Why Are History and Culture Important to Society?


  • Humans tend to repeat mistakes, whether it be personal ones or general faults of our species. Thankfully, we finally understand that war never changes, and this acceptance has brought great prosperity. (Hook)
  • Introducing the importance of traditions, understanding our roots, and dialoguing the growth of the human race. (Background info)
  • Remembering and embracing our past, while simultaneously learning and building from it can help the human race achieve great things at an ever-increasing rate!

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence that introduces traditions and why they hold value.
  • Linking the value of our traditions and how we can build from them.
  • Evidence of this done in the past (Sounds → Language) (Sticks + Stones → Rifles).
  • Concluding statement about the significance of tradition.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence that introduces the importance of embracing our culture.
  • Showing our origins and highlighting the value of understanding ourselves.
  • Provide examples (Civilizations → Empires → Cities).
  • Concluding statement about the value of our origins.

Body Paragraph 3

  • Topic sentence that exclaims the importance of dialoguing our race.
  • Using our past to better our future and learning from our mistakes.
  • Examples (Less War, Technological Growth, Human Rights).
  • Significance of the documentation.


  • By analyzing our cultural and historical past, we can build a future for a better tomorrow! (Thesis Restatement)
  • Summary of traditions claim.
  • Summary of the cultural claim.
  • Summary of value that comes from dialoguing our race.
  • If we don’t consider our past as a valuable pool from where to obtain information, then we are showcasing ourselves as an ignorant race. (Overall Concluding Statement)

If you are still confused, hire a professional essay writing service and get done with this task at affordable rates.

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