How to Write a 500 Word Essay with no Stress: Complete Guide with Tips and Examples

how to write a 500 word essay
Table of Contents
  1. How to Write a 500 Word Essay with no Stress: Complete Guide with Tips and Examples
  2. What is a 500 word essay and when it is used
  3. How to format a 500 word paper
  4. 500-word essay structure
  5. How to create an outline
  6. How to write an A+ 500 word essay
  7. 500 word essay examples
  8. How to choose the right topic for a 500 word essay
  9. Ideas for 500 word essay topics
  10. Tips from professionals for writing an excellent essay
  11. How long does it take to write a 500 word essay?
  12. How many pages are in a 500 word paper?
  13. How long is a 500 word essay
  14. Where to get expert help

Remember the first time you’ve ever heard about a 500 word essay? Maybe, like many other students, you thought that it is a specific type of essay. As a matter of fact, it is a rather common format for various essay types. Another common misconception about this essay type is underestimating the complexity of your assignment. 500 words do require a lot of effort and adhering to a certain set of rules. If you want to master the format, keep on reading this guide on how to write 500 word essays with ease.


What is a 500 word essay and when it is used

Being one of the most common academic papers through High School and College years, a 500 word essay is considered a perfect format for students to showcase their potential and their writing skills. Professors love these essays as such assignments help them understand the level of the students in class and find out the most talented writers. It is also a popular format for a scholarship essay. Such an essay length is essential for tasks revolving around a narrow topic. Unlike in a 250 word essay, this essay word count compels a writer to develop the idea and leaves more room for analysis. In addition, you are not tempted by exploring too many concepts and making your paper about everything and nothing at the same time.

How to format a 500 word paper 

Luckily, there is one absolutely clear point about the paper format- the length of a paper. But what about other important aspects? The basic rule of formatting any kind of paper is to stick to the initial instructions. One of the most popular fonts are 12 point Times New Roman or Arial. It will take you either 2 double-spaced pages or 1 single-spaced page, simply check the requirements. As a rule, you should use the margins that are typical for a required format (i.e., APA, MLA). But make sure to check essay instructions before you choose the format.

500-word essay structure

A balanced structure is essential for any kind of paper, especially with a restricted word count. You should always include 3 basic structural parts: introduction, main body, and conclusion.

  • Pay specific attention to the introductory paragraph as it gives you a chance to grab the reader's attention and describe the main points of your paper. Of course, a strong thesis statement is also a point you shouldn’t omit.
  • The main body may consist of several paragraphs, so you should try to make their length appropriate and focus on a single idea in each of them. You should also remember the importance of placing appropriate topic sentences in each body paragraph. Depending on the requirements, you might need to incorporate in your essay citations from the used references.
  • Finally, remember that a weak conclusion can easily spoil a good impression of the essay in general. You shouldn’t simply repeat the thoughts from an introduction as well as introduce completely new subjects and ideas are also not welcome. Conclusion should summarize the paper and restate your thesis statement.

How to create an outline

Whereas skipping the outlining step might seem like a time-saving technique, unfortunately, it is likely to increase the time spent on the actual writing. Creating an outline is a crucial way to start a 500 word essay as it helps you to organize your thoughts and fit all structural elements logically into your word count. Enjoy sketching your plan with a table or diagram? Go for it! This approach will help you visualize the structure of your future academic paper and see what points can be left out or, on the contrary, added to the essay.

How to write an A+ 500 word essay


Writing a 500 word essay of high quality with a compelling argument will surely leave a lasting impression on your professor. Getting an A+ for this writing assignment can be easy with using these simple yet effective tips.

  1. Choose the right topic. Freedom to choose any issue to build your essay upon may be a challenge as you need to find something original and appealing to cover. Moreover, you should opt for a narrow topic keeping in mind that you have only 500 words to go.
  2. Do the research and read sample essays.  Try researching both outstanding and bad samples. Reading sample essays will not only give you inspiration but also provide you with an understanding of basic dos and don'ts.
  3. Create an outline. Create a mind map, draw a scheme, or simply write down all points in a logical order. An outline will guide you through the steps of the writing process, so you will save time and won’t forget what issues you want to include in the body of your essay.
  4. Create a draft first. Start a 500 word essay with a draft after composing an outline. Leave this initial version for a day or at least a couple of hours. You will be amazed by some new perspectives on the topic you will develop after letting the draft “cool down.”
  5. Work on your thesis. If you have no strong thesis, your whole essay is in danger. An effective thesis statement presents the main idea of the paper, preparing your readers for the content of the following body paragraphs. For example, if your topic is related to John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, your thesis might be the following: “In Cannery Row, Steinbeck presents a seemingly poor town of rich diversity.”
  6. Write an introduction. It should not only provide the reader with general background information but also explain the main focus of a paper. Following the prior example, this might be the introduction:

    “Cannery Row is a book that shows how stereotypes of certain areas can be misleading and even incorrect. The little town of Cannery Row is much more than a town full of beggars, drunks, and outcasts, but is instead a 'little piece of heaven'. In Cannery Row, Steinbeck presents a seemingly poor town of rich diversity.”

  7. Write the main body. Ensure that the body paragraphs support your thesis statement and arguments, and describe the ideas in a logical manner. For instance:

     “Mack and the boys are excellent examples of Cannery Row's rich diversity, and how the normal stereotype of "drunken bums" does not necessarily apply to them. For example, Mack and the boys appear to be outcasts in Cannery Row, but are actually quite respected. This shows that despite their outward appearance, the actions of the group help justify that they are as worthy of respect as normal people. This also shows that even the so-called "outcasts" of normal society can earn a place of respect in the simple social hierarchy of Cannery Row. Also, Mack and the boys decide to throw Doc two parties, with no rewards expected back. This shows that Mack and the boys are not completely selfish, and try to reward others' kindness with some gratitude. This also shows that this group of "bums" will try to work towards the happiness of others, and never give up until they can make their environment positive. Mack and the boys add color to Cannery Row with their humble personalities. They are not merely bums, but in fact more like saints.

    The most intriguing and colorful character in Cannery Row is Doc. Doc appears to be a lonesome scientist with little company, and a drunk at the worst, but Doc is more than what he seems. For example, when the flu epidemic hit Cannery Row, Doc took in "patients" for help, even though he was not a certified doctor. This shows that Doc will go out of his way to help the people of Cannery Row at any cost. This also shows that Doc cares enough for the people of the town to exhaust himself helping their needs. Also, Doc's presence is so cherished by the people of Cannery Row that they decided to throw him two (slightly chaotic) parties. This shows that even though he may seem like a drunken scientist at points, Doc is highly respected and loved by the people of Cannery Row. This also shows that Doc's actions eventually pay off for him, and he receives immense gratitude from the town. Doc is not someone who blends easily into Cannery Row, but his nature and personality is that of a Christ-like figure.”

  8. Write a conclusion. Conclude with a compelling final paragraph to sum up your essay. Avoid being repetitive, but don’t forget to answer the main question under your consideration.

    “Cannery Row is truly 'a piece of heaven'. The other areas may seem richer, and classier than this small town, but they are nothing when it comes to heart. Cannery Row first appears a home for the bottom feeders of society. But Cannery Row is a rainbow of colorful personalities, who are just misunderstood. Cannery Row is like a looking glass, whose view changes depending on the person. As Steinbeck states, Cannery Row really can be a place of "Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men", because of the unique characteristics that each of its inhabitants bring to the town.”

  9. Proofread and edit your essay carefully. Even if your content is deep and thoughtful, several typos can spoil the general impression and, consequently, your grades. Take your time to review and refine the final result.

500 word essay examples


Take a look at these 500 word essay examples to get a better understanding of the concept:


Check another sample essay on high school sports.

We’ve also prepared a great example of a scholarship essay to help you distinguish the main features of this task type more easily.


How to choose the right topic for a 500 word essay

Choosing the topic for a 500 word essay might become challenging even for the best students as it dictates certain boundaries. Try to find the broader theme that interests you and move gradually toward the smaller subject. For instance, you find video games amusing, but this is too general. Think about the reasons for people to play video games. One of them is that they use games as an outlet for their creativity. Here you go, you can easily cover this narrow topic in a short essay.

Ideas for 500 word essay topics

If you are currently stuck on the phase of finding the perfect topic, we can give you some food for thoughts. Consider these ideas while working on your next paper.

  1. The journey that changed my life>
  2. Simple ways to decrease a carbon footprint
  3. Can a human being be truly happy?
  4. The importance of life-long learning
  5. Pros and cons of homeschooling
  6. If you had a chance to relive one moment from your life, what would it be?
  7. Is space exploration a waste of resources?
  8. Is constant messaging killing the need for real conversations?
  9. What is the most history-changing event of the 2000s?
  10. Is the Internet making our generation stupid?
  11. How TV series are changing our perception of romantic relationships?
  12. Short critique on Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Tips from professionals for writing an excellent essay

  • Start early. Give yourself at least several days to carefully outline and draft your essay. A last-minute paper is likely to put your grades at risk
  • Choose the right topic. Find a narrow and interesting topic to focus on.
  • Read sample essays. Learn from examples to form your own style and approach.
  • Do research. Regardless of the word count, you should find enough background information.
  • Follow the essay prompt. Don’t ignore the instructions and adhere to the prompt.
  • Create an outline. Use it to improve the flow of your ideas.
  • Focus on content, not word count. You’ll be able to expand or to cut later.
  • Write the first draft. After that, you’ll see the areas for improvement clearly.
  • Mind proper essay structure. Introduction, several body paragraphs, and conclusion are essential for an essay.
  • Use appropriate vocabulary. Don’t forget to stick to the rules of academic writing.
  • Properly cite all the borrowed ideas. Plagiarizing any part of someone’s work is inadmissible, you should always cite the used references.
  •  Proofread for grammar and stylistic mistakes. Polish each sentence to avoid wasting your efforts because of grammar issues, typos, or poor style.
  • Ask for feedback from a friend. Receiving a second opinion about your paper enables you to test it on a reader and refine it accordingly.
  •  Look for professional writing assistance. If you’re not confident in writing this essay on your own, order a paper from an expert online. This will give you a valuable example for future College assignments.

How long does it take to write a 500 word essay?

If you’re already familiar with the subject, writing a 500 word essay might take about two hours of your time. However, writing a good paper requires rigorous preparation. If you need to research the topic first, the writing time will increase depending on the complexity of your essay prompt. Be patient, and take your time if you want to create a great piece of writing.

How many pages are in a 500 word paper?

The length in pages depends primarily on the page layout. Considering that you use common margins and 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font, a 500 word essay will take either two double-spaced pages or one single-spaced page.


How long is a 500 word essay

Surprisingly, a 500 word essay is actually 500 words long.A 500 word essay can easily be up to 100 words longer than its name claims. You might also make it 20-30 words shorter, but you should always consult with your professor before doing that.


Where to get expert help

Trying to figure out how to write a 500 word essay may leave you confused. Even though it is a short essay format, the requirements are quite strict. In cases like this one, consider turning to the best professional academic writers at for useful tips and a helping hand online.