The Five Paragraph Rule

When writing an essay this technique is a quick and easy way to guarantee that you will write an essay of substance and length. Now I know that it is not ‘how much you write’ that is important but let me be controversial. After marking many essays over the years (including for the exam board) I pass judgement on a student’s work based on how long it is. Now whilst this judgement may quickly alter based on the quality of what is written, I often find that if I am presented with half a page of writing rather than a full page of writing I don’t hold out much hope for the high marks.

So this simple and easy to follow rule may be the solution to your problems:

*Summarise every topic/unit into five main points*

E.g. Natural Law:

1. Avoids the Divine Command theory, based on reason, open to everyone
2. Hierarchy moral code
3. Primary precepts
4. Secondary Precepts
5. Doctrine of Double Effect
6. Bonus paragraph (if you have time) untitledcdxzApparent and real goods, interior and exterior actions.

Each point then gets it’s own paragraph for full explanation with an example in your essay. All you have to do in the exam is relate each main point specifically and directly to the question.

This technique helps with the structure of an answer. if you would like more help with how to integrate evaluation (A02) into your essays please see: Are you arguing with me?: Adding the ‘critical’ to your critical analysis, Avoid ‘name dumping’: Developing A02 and The Four Steps to Teaching A01 & A02 Effectively

For further guidance in developing your essay technique  just click on the image below to download this product quickly and safely (for a small charge).


To view all available teacher and student materials click on: R.S Resources. This digital goods store will allow you to quickly and safely download all materials (for a small charge). These include PowerPoints, lesson packs (with all worksheets and activities) key knowledge test packs (with answers), essay writing skills pack, revision packs and much more. I am always uploading new materials (as and when I cover them with my students) so it is worth checking regularly. These are all the materials I use with my own students, so they are tried and tested and available for you to download, keep and adapt over the years.


One thought on “The Five Paragraph Rule

  1. Rebecca

    Hello, this is such a helpful idea, thank you. I will certainly try it with the other topics as well.
    Do you have the other sections split into 5 key topics as well please? I would love to be able to compare these to mine to check that I am on the right lines.
    Thank you ever so much.


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