Types of Essays

You can find Previous Year Argumentative Essay Topics asked in ICSE board exams

Types of Essays

Essays can be broadly categorised into two types.

  1. Imaginative or Creative Essays
  2. Factual Essays / Expository Essays

1. Imaginative or Creative Essays

Such an essay is the subject matter for your examination. It calls for imagination and creativity. Your composition would be judged with respect to the originality of ideas and their proper presentation. Imaginative essays can be further categorized as:

  • Narrative Essays
  • Descriptive Essays
  • Argumentative Essays
  • Topical or Reflective Essays
  • Critical Essays
  • Short Story

2. Factual Essays / Expository Essays
Such essays as the name suggests are concerned with bare facts and not your thoughts and feelings. The word expository means to expose and hence you are required to write on various aspects of the subject. They require clarity of thought and a logical presentation

Narrative Essay

Writing a Narrative Essay

To ‘narrate’ means to ‘relate’. Thus a narrative piece of writing transports the reader to the time and space portrayed by the writer. It is quite similar to a story in that it describes how your character is feeling, by ‘showing’ through his/her actions, rather than by coming right out and ‘telling’ the reader. A good narrative is not just an entertaining story. It should have a point to make, a purpose to convey. The narrative therefore could be a story, or an account of your experience of an incident real or imaginary, which you want to share with the reader. A good narrative:

  • Involves the reader in the story: By using words that show an incident to the reader, than to simply tell it.
  • Relates events in sequence: Follows a chronological order, that is the order in which the incident took place. You can use expressions like consequently, as a result of, immediately, after some time, finally etc. Such words make the order of events clear.
  • Includes detailed observations of people, places, and events: Dwell on the sights, sounds, smells, tactile feelings, and taste. Use actual or re-created dialogue. Give actual names of people and places.
  • Makes a point, communicate the main idea or dominant impression: The narrative should point to the main idea or dominant impression to make it wholesome.
  • Must be creative and appealing: By using dialogues to make the composition as human as the reader. It should bring out emotions that the writer wishes to convey like fear, sorrow, or joy. This is possible by using appropriate words, active verbs and adjectives. It is usually written in the first person using ‘I’. However, third person (‘he,’ ‘she,’ or ‘it’) can also be used.

Before writing a narrative composition, ensure the following:

  • You have an interesting incident to relate about which you have some personal experience.
  • Make brief character sketches of some characters in your plot.
  • Select a proper background or backdrop of the place or time the incident occurred.
  • Decide on the mood of the composition i.e., Whether it is sad, humourous, frightening, or educative.

Prompts to help write a narrative essay:
If you are having trouble choosing an experience to write about, take a quick glance through these prompts. They might help you remember or identify a particularly interesting or significant experience to focus on.

1. A childhood event: Think of an experience when you learned something for the first time like riding a bicycle, swimming, or when you realised how important someone was for you.

2. Achieving a goal: Think about a particularly meaningful achievement in your
life. This could be something as seemingly minor as achieving a good grade on a difficult assignment, or getting the job you desired, or getting admission into the best school to which you applied. ”

3. A failure: Think about a time when you did not perform as well as you had wanted. Focusing on an experience like this can result in rewarding reflections about the positive, emerging from the negative.

4. A good or bad deed: Think about a time when you did, or did not stand up for yourself or someone else, in the face of adversity or challenge.

5. A turning point in your life: Think about a time when something significant changed in your life. This could be anything from a move across town, a major change in a relationship, the birth or death of a loved one, a failure or success in an examination.

6. A realisation: Think about a time when you experienced a realisation. This could be anything from understanding a complicated math equation, to gaining a deeper understanding of a philosophical issue or life situation.

7. An interesting event: In which you had participated like a marriage, festival or a school function.

8. An accident or a natural calamity

9. A vacation or a visit to a place of interest

Suggested guidelines for writing a narrative composition

1. Keep to the chronological order in which the incident happened. You can however make variations for creating special emphasis like using a flash back (event that happened earlier) before coming to the present to make it interesting.

2. Arrest the immediate attention of the reader by beginning with a bang. This is quite difficult, but effective. You may start a narrative composition by

  • Plunging straight into action
    “ Bang, Bang ‘ the sound of gunfire made me sit up instantly.
  • Setting the scene of the incident
    It was a bright warm day unusual for the month of December
  • Beginning with a dialogue
    “Halt! Who goes there? ” The stem command of the sentry sent a chill down my spine. .

3. Create the right atmosphere or the scene: By dwelling on the place of the incident i.e., describing the surroundings, the time of day whether dusk or dawn, the weather etc.

4. Introduce the characters by creating a clear visual image of the character:
Do not only write about his looks, but describe him in a manner that would make the reader see the character, as given below

The weather had improved, a brisk wind from the south west had driven off the fog. Mr Cronch to please himself had walked into the city. He had fifteen pounds in his pocket and looked into the shop windows. He still wore his large black hat and the beggars avoided him. They took him to be a Jewish moneylender or else a Baptist minister. Beggars are shrewd judges of character. They have to decide quickly. Their income depends on it. To beg from the wrong man means loss of time -perhaps prison.

Types of Essays

Example of a narrative essay

Learning To Swim

Learning something new can be a scary experience. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was learn how to swim. I was always afraid of the water, but I decided that swimming was an important skill that I should learn. I also thought it would be good exercise and help me to become physically stronger. What I didn’t realise was that learning to swim would also make me a more confident person.

New situations always make me a bit nervous, and my first swimming lesson was no exception. After I changed into my bathing suit in the locker room, I stood timidly by the side of the pool waiting for the teacher and other students to show up. After a couple of minutes the teacher came over. She smiled and introduced herself, and two more students joined us. Although they were both older than me, they didn’t seem to be embarrassed about not knowing how to swim. I began to feel more at ease.

We got into the pool, and the teacher had us put on brightly coloured water wings to help us stay afloat. One of the students Mary, had already taken the beginning class once before, so she took a kickboard and went splashing off by herself. The other student, Jerry, and I were told to hold on to the side of the pool and shown how to kick for the breaststroke. One by one, the teacher had us hold on to a kickboard while she pulled it through the water and we kicked. Pretty soon Jerry was off doing this by himself, travelling at a fast pace across the short end of the pool.

Things were not quite that easy for me, but the teacher was very patient. After a few more weeks, when I seemed to have caught on with my legs, she taught me the arm strokes. Now I had two things to concentrate on, my arms and my legs. I felt hopelessly uncoordinated. Sooner than I imagined, however, things began to feel “right” and I was able to swim! It was a wonderful free feeling – like flying, maybe – to be able to shoot across the water.

Learning to swim was not easy for me, but in the end my persistence paid off. Not only did I learn how to swim and to conquer my fear of the water, but I also learned something about learning. Now when I am faced with a new situation I am not so nervous. I may feel uncomfortable to begin with, but I know that as I practice my skills would get better. It is a wonderful feeling, when you achieve a goal that you have set for yourself.

Note the following in the above essay

The essay begins with a general statement, “Learning something new can be a scary experience.” This statement introduces the subject of the essay, which is a particular learning experience that the author had. The use of “I” in the essay indicates that what is being described is a personal experience.

The essay is essentially a story about something that happened. The author gives sufficient details about the people, place, and events so that the reader gets a clear idea of how the author feels about them. In the essay, the author “stood timidly” and the teacher “smiled” and was “patient.” These words indicate the author’s fears and the sense of security provided by the teacher who helped the author get over her fear.

In the final paragraph of the essay, the author reflects on the larger meaning or importance of the experience. The author concludes that learning to swim has made her more confident about herself. The idea that self-confidence comes from conquering fear is something that all people can relate to. This is the main point of the story.

Narrating an interesting incident

An Interesting Incident

Once I found a fat female scorpion in the wall, wearing what at first glance appeared to be a pale fawn fur coat. Closer inspection proved that this strange garment was made up of a mass of tiny babies clinging onto the mother’s back.

With infinite care I maneuvered the scorpions into a matchbox and then hurried home. Unfortunately, just as I entered lunch was served; however, I placed the matchbox carefully on the mantelpiece in the drawing room and joined the family for the meal. Dawdling over my food and feeding Roger surreptitiously under the table I completely forgot about my exciting new capture. At last, Larry having finished, fetched the cigarettes from the drawing-room, put one in his mouth and picked up the matchbox I had brought. I watched him as still talking he opened the matchbox.

Now I maintain to this day that the female scorpion meant no harm. She was annoyed at being shut up in a matchbox for so long and so seized the first opportunity to escape. She hoisted herself out of the box with great rapidity, her babies clinging on desperately and scuttled onto the back of Larry’s hand. Larry, feeling the movement of her claws glanced down to see what it was, and from that moment things got increasingly confused.

He uttered a roar of fright, and with a flick of his hand sent the unfortunate scorpion flying down the table, and she landed between Margo and Leslie. Thoroughly enraged the creature sped towards Leslie, who leapt to his feet and flicked out with his napkin, sending the scorpion rolling towards Margo, who promptly let out a loud scream. Mother, completely bewildered by this chaos, put on her glasses and peered down the table to see what was causing the pandemonium, and at that moment Margo, in a vain attempt to stop the scorpion’s advance, hurled a glass of water at it. The shower missed the creature completely, but drenched Mother, who, not being able to stand cold water, promptly lost her breath and sat gasping at the end of the table. The scorpion had now hidden under Larry’s plate, while her babies swarmed wildly all over the table. Roger, mystified by the panic, ran round the room barking

“It’s that boy again,” bellowed Leslie.
“Look out! Look out! They’re coming,” screamed Margo.
“What on earth’s the matter with you all?” Mother kept imploring, mopping her glasses.
“That bloody boy. Every matchbox in the house is a death-trap,” shouted Larry.

Since no one had bothered to explain things to him, Roger assumed that the family was being attacked. As Lucy was the only stranger in the room, he concluded that she must be the responsible party, so he bit her in the ankle.

Note: the narrative style of the composition. The use of ‘I’ in describing the incident makes it more direct and personal. Effective use of dialogues makes the composition more lively and colourful. ’

Descriptive Essays

A descriptive essay mirrors the mood of the writer and conjures images that breathe. It is often regarded as the most structured form of writing, for it is associated with the ability to transfer emotions to the reader through the use of words. A good essay arouses the reader’s senses, and impacts his mind. The writer succeeds if he is able to capture the reader’s attention, and retain it till the end.

The tone of the essay should be gradually built, so that there is one strong dominant emotion. If the purpose of the essay is to cause concern or arouse fear, then the trend must be set in the introduction itself. It prepares the reader for stronger and worse emotions to follow. Before you set about writing such a composition you should identify the following

What do you want to describe?

It’s important for you to identify exactly what you want to describe. Often, a descriptive essay will focus on portraying a person, a place, a memory, an experience or an object. Thus descriptive essay topics can range from describing a rainy day, a sunset or a sunrise or writing about your home, parents, pets, personal success and failure, happiest and saddest moments in life, thrill of achieving a personal goal and ambition. Other topics could be describing, a storm, hurricane, cyclone or any other natural calamity. All such compositions call for creativity, evoking emotion, colour and imagination, so that the reader is able to visualise the event.

Guidelines for Writing a Descriptive Composition

1. ‘Show don’t tell’. An important principle that you must remember while writing a descriptive essay, is the famous saying: ‘show don’t tell’. To understand the difference between showing and telling consider these two simple sentences

I grew tired after dinner.
As I leaned back and rested my head against the top of the chair, my eyelids began to feel heavy, and the edges of the empty plate in front of me blurred with the white table cloth.

The first sentence ‘tells’ the reader that you grew tired after dinner. The second sentence ‘shows’ the reader that you grew tired. Good descriptive essays are loaded with such showing because they enable readers to imagine or experience something for themselves.

The use of active verb helps the reader visualise the nature of emotions, rather than stating the characters or scene in an inanimate and passive manner. Vivid use of words and verbs are thus very effective.

2. Create a vivid experience for your reader: Focus on the five senses sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.

When you focus your descriptions on the senses, you provide vivid and specific details that show your readers, rather than tell them what you are describing. The example below illustrates this.
Types of Essays-Descriptive essays- 1

Example of a descriptive essay highlighting the use of senses.

Going Fishing

Uncle George and I would head out before it got light. The trek to the pond was always exciting. The earth smelled fresh and new. promising warmth, and as the birds awoke, they’d tentatively practice the prologues to their songs. We’d walk past the apple trees, and I could smell the sharpness of the rotten fruit that had dropped to the ground. Occasionally, I’d slip on a peel, so I learned to be careful not to run too quickly. We’d walk past the water troughs where the tadpoles were busy wiggling their way to frog hood and pick up the pond trail on the other side of the musty-smelling old bam. At this point I had to be careful not to get my pole tangled in the underbrush-which constantly grabbed for my dangling hook and bobber-while Uncle George’s flashlight jumped and weaved as he made sure the small circle of light was set for my height. He would hold my hand and tell me about the fish, and I was never scared.

Notice that all senses have been used to describe the scene like touch, smell, hearing, taste, and vision, although you may just pick one or two depending on your style.

2. Dwell on the significant details like the

  • time and season
  • place and the surroundings
  • people around their looks, their attire

3. Start with the general and proceed to the specific detail. It is important to be selective. For example in describing a man, it is not necessary to dwell on every physical attribute like his eyes, nose etc .It would be more apt to dwell on his unique physical attribute like his colour, unusual height, gait, or mannerism. If you are writing about an event, give your paragraphs a chronological order. If you are writing about a place or thing, arrange your paragraphs so that they go from general to specific.

4. Use figurative speech, active verbs and words that vividly describe. The reader is thus able to visualise what is being described. Thus instead of saying she had good hair, it would be more expressive to say she had thick black curly hair that hung down up to her shoulders.

5. Make effective use of comparison, simile and metaphors. This can make the description lively and realistic. Thus instead of describing a room of size 15 ft by 40 ft you can say that the room was the size of an ‘auditorium’.

6. Organize your composition using the time span sequence or the people sequence.
In describing a person or a place you could use the following guidelines.

Describing a Person

  • Write about someone you know well.
  • Give details which make the person different from others.
  • Dwell on the physical characteristics, mannerism, personality traits, especially those that make the person unique.
  • Like the way he or she smiles, laughs, talks, dresses or wears her hair.
  • Based on the above, decide on the overall impression the subject has made on you.
  • Make this a part of your topic sentence and list out the points you intend to cover under it.
  • The reader is thus able to ‘picture’ the person you are describing.
  • Use vivid words to create a colourful and memorable picture of the subject.
  • Provide dialogues. Let the person speak for himself /herself.
  • Give an anecdote or incident that helps illustrate the person’s character.
  • End your description interestingly, by either coming full circle and end where you began, or by stating what you learnt or felt about the person.

Some prompts that would help in describing a person

1. Shape of the face Could be square, round, wide, oval, triangular, or chiseled

2. Skin and complexion This is the natural appearance and colour of the skin, especially of the face. For example, “Sita has a soft, creamy complexion.”
Other expressions that you could also use are: wrinkled, freckled, shallow tanned, pale, fair, spotless, silky, smooth, creamy, baby-soft,, glowing, rough weathered, weather beaten, leathery, etc

3. Eyes Focus on the eyes for they often reveal a lot about a person. Their shape like large, small, almond-shaped, round, squinty, bulging, heavy’-lidded, hooded, hollow, tear- filled,

4. Eye expressions like piercing, mesmerizing, sad, sorrowful, haunted, sympathetic, compassionate, expressive, twinkling, lively, shifty, sly, etc.

5. Mouth and Lips their shape and size like thin, full, pouting, pursed.

6. Mouth Expressions like grin, frown, scowl, sneer, pout, toothy, toothless, dimpled, serious, snarling

7. Hair like black, brunette, blond, gray, silver, white, salt-and-pepper.

8. Texture or appearance like wispy, fuzzy, wavy, curly, unmanageable, straight, spiky, neatly-combed, cascading, long, short, cropped.

9. Facial hair: Goatee beard, bushy, stubbly, bristly, unshaven, clean-shaven, neatly- trimmed.

10. Body: While describing the body use strong verbs and adjectives like : small, slim, thin, lean, skinny, bony, chubby, portly, plump, round, stout, broad shouldered, burly, muscular.

11. Posture: Slouch, flop, lean, recline, sprawl, squirm, slump, stoop, hunch.

12. Adjectives describing appearance: stylish, smart, chic, classy, elegant, polished, casual, carefree, crisp, sparkling, glittery, sloppy, torn, ripped, tattered, disheveled, slovenly, unkempt, faded, worn, frayed.

Describing a Place

  • Write about a place you know, and the impression it had on you.
  • List out the features that make it different from others and the important feelings as you visit the place.
  • Show how it looks, sounds, feels, and smells, and what it means to you.
  • Based on the above, evolve an overall impression the place has made on you.Work this into a topic sentence.
  • Alternatively you can choose to begin with a strong historical background of the place.
  • Use vivid words to make your description colourful and memorable to the reader.

Example of a descriptive composition illustrating the difference between telling and showing.

Describing a Person

I have a co-worker. Her name is Linda. She has three dogs, whom she takes to dog shows very often. During work breaks we would get together and talk about her three dogs and her boyfriends.

The more I get to know her, the more I realise she has low self-esteem. For one thing, she thinks she is over-weight, and her troublesome relationship with her boyfriends seem to confirm that fact for her.

At first, I did not know why she never talked much about her family. But as I got to know her, I realised they were never there for her. Her lousy dad left her shortly after she was bom, and her depressed mom was always drinking. Perhaps that is why she has so much trouble with personal relationship.

Comment: The narrator spends too much time telling us what Linda is like, but readers would rather see for themselves. Besides, the piece moves at one pace and seldom dwells on details, readers would like to know more. The above composition could be made more interesting and colourful by using dialogues and anecdotes as given below.

“Look at my kids! He won Best in Show and she won Best of Breed in the dog show” Linda went on and on, flashing photo after photo of her victorious poodles before my eyes.

I keep no dogs, but have a boyfriend and a cat to look after. During our work breaks, I walk to her cubicle so we can brag about our “kids”. Her 12-by-14 cubicle is right at the far comer with pictures of her dogs all lined up on her shelf, next to her Bible. Numerous dog show certificates on the cubical walls, but no sign of any family photos.

Our daily chat, other than pet anecdotes, consists of not much more than tireless streams of grievances – more from her than me. She could not have lavished more adjectives on canine beauty than on her frustrations of life. “My idiot boyfriend left me again.” “All these stupid people think I’m stuck with losers.” “My boss promoted a tall skinny blonde over me.” “I’m too fat to get a husband.”

When I first heard the last complaint, I took a good look at her – short, plump, black curly hair, hazel eyes, and really rosy cheeks. She looked almost pretty in loose clothing. I told her I would rather be a little bigger myself, skinny as I am. But she said I was closer to the norm, and since her parents passed her such fat genes, she elected not to contribute to the gene pool. She would breed dogs instead.

Describing an Experience Caught in a Tornadoe

Tornadoes are one of the deadliest and most unpredictable villains mankind will ever face. There is no rhyme or reason, to it’s madness. Tornados are one of the most terrifying natural events that occur, destroying homes and ending lives every year. April 29th, 1995, a calm, muggy, spring night I may never forget. Joey, a buddy I grew up with, agreed to travel across the state to visit a friend in New Jersey. Joey and I were admiring the beautiful blue bonnets, which travelled for miles like little blue birds flying close to the ground. The warm breeze brushed across the tips of the blue bonnets and allowed them to dance under the perfectly clear blue sky. In the distance,- however, we could see darkness. A rumbling sky was quickly approaching.

We continued down the infinitely long interstate towards our destination. Thunder clouds continued to rumble in, like an ocean tide rolling closer and closer to the beach front. Within minutes the entire landscape was calm and dark. It looked like a total eclipse of the sun, and the once moving blue bonnets were now completely still and sombre. The rain began to trickle down the sky. The sound of the rain, as it hit our car, was like that of pins dropping on a metal surface. The intensity of the rain increased as we ventured further into the eye of the storm.

As we approached an overpass, we noticed a parking lot of used cars piled underneath. By now, the rain had created a wall of water, which surrounded our car. We decided to pull over and sprint to the underpass to join the other frightened observers. What Joey and I were unaware of, what we couldn’t possibly know, was that a tornado was already on the ground frantically spinning its way towards our position.

The twister had just hit the ground and was gaining power and strength as it devoured everything in its path. We found ourselves even more frightened than we were just moments ago. The whirling “finger of God” was approaching us at a tremendous rate. The sound surrounding us was outrageous, it sounded something like a steam, locomotive roaring towards us, whining and whistling with an awful high pitched roar. As the rumbling cloud of darkness approached us, we started to realise its outstanding power. This event would be one that we wouldn’t soon forget. The rain had almost completely stopped, but the wind was nearly blowing us off the ground as we huddled together under the overpass. We could hear the screeching sounds of car tyres as they started sliding across the rain-soaked cement pavement. Electrical explosions lit up the darkened sky as the tornado ripped over power lines, snapping them as if they were toothpicks. Screams erupted from the crowd as the tornado crossed directly over us, smashing large objects into the overpass pavement. We were terrified as the twister rumbled over the roadway leaving us untouched.

Shortly thereafter it vanished from the sky, leaving only shattered pieces of falling fence posts and telephone poles. Everyone slowly unravelled from the huddle that had protected them moments earlier. The sun started poking holes in the dark rumbling sky; the wind and rain had completely ceased, leaving it morbidly calm. The sun burned away every trace of lingering darkness in the sky. It was amazing to look back and see a mile long trail of destruction surrounded by homes and fences that were left totally untouched.

I remember thinking to myself how amazing this moment was, and how grateful I was to be alive. Anytime I look back on those few moments of my life, it makes me realise that I must cherish every single moment of it.

Argumentative Essay

An argument is defined to be ‘a well-structured, well-reasoned and well-supported point of view on a topic about which there is good reason for disagreement.’ Thus an essential characteristic of an argument is the sense of opposition. Hence an argument has two sides – proposition and opposition (for or against). In order to persuade the opposition, you need to take into account their beliefs and see how effectively you can convince them to support your proposition. Therefore, besides putting across your beliefs, you must also anticipate and overcome objections which the opposition might raise, so as to bring them around to your point of view.

An argumentative essay is therefore a logical presentation of the topic, supported by sound reasoning. It presents one side of an issue using evidence and logic to convince the reader, to draw the same conclusion as the author.

Personal opinion or insight could be the foundation of an argumentative essay, but it must be supported by reason, evidence, and factual information. Needless to say, that a good knowledge of the subject matter is essential, for writing such a composition.

Guidelines for writing an argumentative essay

  • Jot down all the points that come to your mind under the heads ‘for’ and ‘against’.
  • Decide whether you are going to write ‘for’ or ‘against’ the statement. In case you are to discuss or give advantages and disadvantages, then you have to dwell on both aspects of the subject.
  • Begin with a statement of your assertion on the issue, whether it is for or against the proposition. State its importance and relevance.
  • In the body of the composition justify your assertion, by giving practical, and historical evidence, to substantiate your point.
  • Begin each point / justification in a separate paragraph, substantiating it logically.
  • Refute your opponents arguments/points already listed by you point by point, with practical and historical evidence to support your assertion.
  • Don’t use first person. Instead of saying, “I don’t think global warming is worth worrying about”, you may say, “A two degree rise in temperature over the next hundred years makes global warming a trivial problem.”
  • Reserve your strong points or argument towards the end.
  • Conclude with a well thought out personal view on the subject.

Pitfalls of writing an argumentative composition

Having chosen your line of argument, do not waiver, by acceding to the point in favour of the opposition. You may only do so if you are required to discuss the subject, where you have to dwell on both the aspects.

Writing this type of composition is very rewarding. You should attempt it only if you have complete knowledge of the subject. Illogical arguments or arguments not properly supported by factual data or evidence would be counter -productive.

Example of an Argumentative Essay

‘Should Capital Punishment Be Abolished?’ Give Your Views For Or Against The Statement

Introduction: What is Capital Punishment?

List out the points for and against



Should not be abolished as there is need to check increasing incidence of crime in modem society. Should be abolished for such a form of punishment is barbaric and has no place in a modem society.
Most effective way of getting rid of undesirable elements to preserve society. Life is a God given gift and nobody has a right to take it away
A physiological deterrent for criminals It is inhuman and cruel. Has no place in modem civilization.
Proved ineffective in controlling heinous crime in countries where it has been abolished Does not deter criminals Advanced countries have abolished
Requires scientific investigation and more transparent and equitable judicial system, Justice is fallible and this form of punishment is irrevocable.
The death penalty should be awarded in the rarest of the rare cases

Topical Essay Or Reflective Essay

A reflective essay is your chance to reveal and talk about your personal insight about a topic. They are used as a self-assessment measure of sorts, for they allow you to address your experience or knowledge. The goal of the essay is to successfully bring out your beliefs, attitudes and observations. The composition could also include abstract topics that are based on social, political and domestic issues like education, democracy, discipline, friendship, patriotism, love etc. Thus for example if you were to write an essay on an abstract topic like ’love’, you could begin by writing your own philosophical meaning of the term, through the prism of your experience. You can further develop on the common attribute by simply answering the questions given below.
Types of Essays-Argumentative Essay- 2

Therefore before writing a reflective essay, make a list of all the relevant material that you plan to include.

Before writing a reflective essay

  • Write down all the material points you have on the subject or the experience.
  • Carefully choose some prominent ideas. It could be the difficulties you faced and how you solved them.
  • Describe your experience as specifically and lucidly as possible.
  • Analyse the weak and the strong aspects of the experience or subject.
  • Evaluate and draw conclusion on the experience.
  • Conclude by summarising the main idea or the learning you got from the experience.

Sample Of Topical Or Reflective Essay

Growing Up

Like all children, when I was growing up, all I wanted to do was to be big. I always kept a close eye on ray role models (my parents) and always tried to do everything they did. The skills I learnt and the attitude I acquired from a young age were of immense help to me in my later years.

From the age.of five, the memories I have are those of following my father around the yard watching him wash the car and mow the lawn. My father would sometimes give me a small sponge so that I could help him wash the car. Although the job I did was insignificant and most likely not done properly, I always got a sense of pride and satisfaction in my work.

In my teenage years my role around the house had changed. My father was no longer around and my mother had the pressure of providing for my younger sisters and myself. During school holidays I was responsible for looking after my sisters and keeping them amused at the same time. Not an easy task at all! Gone were the days of washing the car and playing around. During this time I managed to get casual employment in a departmental store. Although the money I earned was not significant, but it was enough for me to pay for my hobbies and ease some pressure off my mother.

Now as an adult I have a steady job and a tertiary education behind me. I have never seen myself as a victim nor did I accept sympathy from anyone because all the good and bad experiences of my younger years have helped me become a successful and determined person. The support I received and continue to receive from my family was also a major drive for me to want to succeed.

I think that everyone’s life is always full of good and bad experiences. The key is to appreciate the good and find a way of turning a negative situation into a positive one.

Critical Essays

A critical composition is a critique or review of another work, usually a work of art like a book, play, movie, painting etc. It is more than just a summary of the contents of the work of others or your opinion of its value. The critical essay is an objective analysis of the work, examining both its positive and negative aspects. You need not be an expert critic to write such a composition. However, you should have read the book, seen the film or play to enable you to write authoritatively.

In writing a critical essay introduce the topic, including the name of the work that you are analysing, the era in which it pertains to, the author or artist of the work.

In the body, dwell briefly on the theme and the plot.

Comment on the way it is presented – it’s style. Whether it is tragic, philosophical, comical, thrilling, adventurous or it evokes horror.

Comment on the story line, characters and other aspects like dialogues. If writing on a film comment on the direction, acting, dialogue delivery, screenplay, and cinematography etc.

Conclude by stating your personal opinion. How it affected you and why the book or the film impressed you?

Write about a film you have just seen and state what you liked or disliked about it.


The Titanic is a real life tragic drama, enacted more than one hundred and fifty years ago, on the luxurious and invincible ship ‘Titanic’. The ship struck an iceberg in the Pacific Ocean, and sank with more than fifteen hundred people on board. The director Steven Spielberg of Jurassic Park fame ingeniously weaves a love story against the backdrop of this tragedy that keeps you glued to your seat.

The film is the story of a poor girl Rose, who falls in love with a young lad Jack, emigrating to America for work. Rose’s mother, an ambitious woman wants her to marry a wealthy young man, travelling aboard the ship. The drama has the usual twists and turns, with the wealthy man conspiring, and accusing Jack of stealing a diamond necklace ‘The Heart of The Ocean’. At this juncture the ship collides with an iceberg, and starts to sink gradually. There is a wild scramble, as people behave like animals, for their own self-preservation fighting for life jackets and lifeboats. The young couple on the other hand, risk their lives to save each other. The hero finally succumbs to the icy waters, to save his beloved.

It goes to the credit of the director, who has been able to extract a stellar performance from Kate Winslet as Rose and Leonardo Di Caprio as Jack in their debut performance. The film has excellent cinematography and elaborate sets. The grandeur of the ship has been recreated, by actually constructing the same. The excellent camera work, and digital stereo sound effects, give a ‘true to life’ experience. So much so, that you can actually feel the emotions of the people struck by the calamity. The screenplay, dialogue delivery, costumes, make up and props, truly reflect the period of the tragedy.

So realistic was the film, that it is bound to strike an emotional chord in the viewers, some of whom would be moved to tears. On the whole, it is a well-made film offering wholesome entertainment and thrill, justifying the cost of one hundred million dollars that went into making it. Undoubtedly, it deserves the eight Oscar awards, and is bound to be a runaway success.

Short Story

This is difficult to attempt in 35 minutes, unless you have very good command on the language, and the ability to weave a unique plot. The story should be original for it is specifically enumerated in the rubrics which states ‘Write an original story’.