A Quick Guide to Expository Essays

Just like the argumentative essay, the expository essay is one essay type that many students steer clear of because they believe that they can never lay out the content well. The discursive essay, also known as the expository essay, seeks to present facts and arguments in an objective manner. However, once students have a good grasp on what an expository essay is (read on to find out!), the expository essay can become your best friend in the O-Level Paper 1 exams.

What is an expository essay? 

The expository essay seeks to present the different perspectives of an issue in a balanced way. However, this does not mean that you ‘sit on the fence’ – your examiners want to know your stance on the issue.

What are the different types of expository essays?

Expository essays are a good medium for presenting a variety of viewpoints. They can take different forms in the O-Levels, especially ones that require you to integrate your own thoughts into the essay. One such form is the personal response, in which the student has to present a few perspectives, but also share his/her personal viewpoint. Find out more about the other types of expository essays in our iThink magazines! 

What is the difference between an expository essay and an argumentative essay?

Both essays require you to discuss a controversial issue. However, whereas you attempt to persuade the reader to your stand in an argumentative essay, in a discursive essay, you simply lay out the facts for the reader and provide a balanced examination of these facts. Therefore, your stand for the discursive expository essay can be neutral or a one-sided stand. 

How many paragraphs do I need to write for an expository essay?

Well, you definitely need an introduction and conclusion – that’s already two in the bag.

To explain and illustrate the issue clearly to the reader, you need at least one point from each side in your content body. However, your essay might not hit the minimum word count if you write only two points in total. A better bet is to have at least three main points to develop. Or even better yet, two points per perspective if you have the time, making up a total of four body paragraphs.

(A word of caution, though: a ‘balanced’ perspective does not mean having ‘same’ number of paragraphs per side!)

You can check out our article on expository essay structure for more tips.

How do I write a good expository essay?

Check out our beginner’s guides to writing expository essays: