How To Write A Critical Essay? – Top 10 Writing Tips

What is a Critical Essay and How to Write it

Being a student comes with its challenges. Exams, assignments, never-ending classes, and sleepless nights always surround you. On top of that, you might have a situation where you are requested to submit a critical essay, which is one of the most common assignments in college.

Wondering, how can you possibly do that? Well, we know that a critical essay is time demanding and needs a lot of analysis to be conducted. Also, once all the information is gathered you have to be a pro writer to write that document with efficiency. Thus, we have decided to give out some pro tips to you so that you can write a well-structured critical essay. But before we move on to the tips and tricks, let’s understand, what do you mean by a critical essay?

What is a Critical Essay and How to Write it


What Is a Critical Essay?

Also known as an analytical essay, a critical essay is a piece of the academic document where you choose a topic of interest and present your claim with hard evidence and literature support. It is more like evaluating work and presenting your analysis with solid referencing.

When you say, your essay is Critical:

  •  It mentions that the author has a complete understanding of the topic to make a claim
  •  It says that the essay has a central focus on the topic and claim is based on hard reference from credential literature

Popular Types Of Critical Essay

Critical essay writing has many different types. Let’s have a look at some of the most common ones:

  • Sociological Criticism
  • New Historicism
  • Gender Criticism
  • Psychoanalytical Criticism
  • Mythological Criticism
  • Reader-response Criticism
  • Biographical Criticism
  • Formalist Criticism

Major Characteristics Of A Critical Essay

A critical essay is basically an in-depth analysis of a diverse range of subjects such as poetry, films, painting, video games, novels, etc. They are a crucial part of academics. Certain characteristics remain common in critical essay writing practices, regardless of their type. Let us explain them one by one.

  • The central claim: A central claim is the core idea introduced at the beginning of a critical essay through a thesis statement. As we move forward, we share evidence in support of our claim in the body. You can further use counterarguments to strengthen your write-up and support them with reasonable evidence.
  • Evidence: As we mentioned earlier, you need to support the central claim with the help of evidence. You might need to go into the details to fortify your arguments. This includes descriptions, choice of words, dialogue, images, structure. While the evidence should be gathered from credible sources, you can also use scholarly sources.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion should be crisp, direct, and impactful. It must be powerful enough to leave the readers pondering over the entire write-up. It should provide the gist of the argument and highlight the crucial parts.

How To Outline A Critical Essay?

One of the most important things to keep your thoughts aligned while writing is an outline. It is a plan that simplifies the writing process. In general, an outline is divided into an introduction, main body, and conclusion.

  • Introduction: The introductory paragraph focuses on explaining the topic and background details. It must have a thesis statement to provide a clear picture of the subject.
  • Main Body: In the body paragraphs, discuss all the key ideas. Further, elaborate on the points you introduced in the beginning. Here, you can include facts, figures, examples, quotes, etc. You need to evaluate the information and present it to the readers. Hence, meticulously assess how the original subject is presented.
  • Conclusion: Here, restate the thesis statement of the critical essay. Write a summary of the core argument and highlight the major points in the write-up.

Critical Essay Writing Format

Here is the general critical essay writing format that you can use to keep your write-up organized.


  1. Share the background details related to the subject
    • Information about the publication
    • Title and author’s details
    • Topic and purpose statement
  1. A strong thesis statement


  1. Summarize the information on the subject.
  2. Evaluation and interpretation about the work
    • Discuss the style and organization of the work
    • Analyze the topic
    • Assess how effective the work is. Does it appeal to the audience?


    • Recall the significance of the topic
    • Describe the overall weaknesses and strengths of the subject.
    • Discuss what makes the work successful with a simple, concluding statement.

Step-By-Step Process To Write A Critical Essay

Step-By-Step Process To Write A Critical Essay

  • Step #1: Assess The Subject

You must first understand the subject of your essay. Whether it is a book, a movie, or a play; critically analyze the subject.

This includes:

    • Examine what is the piece about.
    • What are the features that set it apart from others?
    • Analyze the style of writing. Is it modern or post-modern?
    • Make a list of all the queries popping up in your mind while going through the source.
  • Step #2: Conduct The Research

Go through all the information you have gathered from credible sources. Further, prepare meticulous notes through your observations. Do not hesitate from including your ideas and opinions. Try collecting as many details as you can on the subject.

  • Step #3: Prepare A Strong Thesis

A thesis is the core of any piece of writing. It highlights a strong view of the point you are trying to prove. While composing a thesis, keep all the important resources in mind.

  • Step #4: Choose The Evidences Carefully

While including the evidence in your essay, keep these points in mind:

    • Select the evidence that supports your thesis.
    • Pick evidence from popular or recognized sources.
    • Look for an idea supported by more than one author.
  • Step #5: Prepare An Antithesis

Acknowledging an opposing idea strengthens your essay.

    • It provides readers with an in-depth view of the subject.
    • It establishes you as an authority on that specific subject since you are well-versed in it.
  • Step #6: Draft An Outline

An outline keeps your ideas organized and helps you deliver the message effectively. Here is how to plan the outline:

    • Introductory body
    • Supporting paragraphs
    • Anti-thesis
    • Conclusion
  • Step #7: Writing The Essay

Now that you are done with planning and outlining your critical essay, it’s time to start writing. Always start with a direct and interesting introduction. It’s best to include facts and claims in the main body. Doing this makes it easy to assess the information. Then conclude everything with a central idea.

  • Step #8: Editing & Proofreading

It’s always best to dedicate a significant amount of time to proofreading. This way, you can carefully evaluate the write-up and spot the errors. You must edit the grammatical and spelling mistakes, correct the sentence structuring issues, etc.

15 Awesome Critical Essay Topics For Students In 2022

If you are running out of critical essay topic ideas, check out this list!

  1. What are the impacts of technology on young children?
  2. Present the analysis of your favorite romantic comedy movie.
  3. What are the issues involved with healthy eating practices?
  4. Are humans related to nature? If yes, then how?
  5. What are the key causes of eating disorders and obesity?
  6. What is the reason behind a major decline in the word food resources?
  7. Share your critical analysis of single-parent families.
  8. Discuss the changing gender roles.
  9. How does the modern world pose a threat to biodiversity?
  10. Discuss the effects of junk food on human health.
  11. Describe the relationship between technology and education.
  12. Write about your favorite fictional character.
  13. How effective is America’s economic system?
  14. How does deep-fried food affect health?
  15. Write about the education system all around the globe.

Examples Of Critical Essay

Example #1: Share your views on whether or not Tess portrayed in, “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” responsible for her own demise?

As per the theory shared by Clement Scott (Scott, 1894, p 353-355) in 1894, women were born “angels”. And, the women involved in sex were termed as “perverse”. This is what led to the polarization of women in “chaste or the depraved, the virgin or the whore” (Boumelha, 1982, p 11). The moral values of chastity of the Christians were being scrutinized by the late 20th century. This has been mentioned in the “authority of biological law” (Boumlha, 1982, p 12). The worth of a woman’s purity became a popular reason for discussion, which has also been highlighted in Hardy’s “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” (Hardy, 2005). As per Hardy, with this story, he attempts to explain that “everybody nowadays thinks and feels” (Hardy, 2005, p 3). The strong Christian principles condemned the protagonists and termed them as “immoral”. These arguments point towards the claim about Tess’ demise due to self failure. It indicates an indecisive and passive nature.

On the other hand, Hellenists had opposite thoughts and claimed Tess’ innocent. The proposed argument suggested that the manipulative family and lovers led to Tess’ fall.

Example #2: Critical Analysis Essay Sample On “Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness”

Aesthetic philosophy has a major loophole, that is, the link between narrative style and moral judgment. This issue dates back to Plato. According to my, “Narrative Style” is the formal literary feature devised by the writers to build on a unique narrative. On the other hand, “Moral Judgment” is the message communicated through a given text while mentioning the objects that are beyond it. This aforementioned explanation deduces the relationship between moral judgment and narrative style. This analysis focuses on determining whether or not such a presupposition is justified.

“Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad is popular for its meticulous examination of European conduct and values. As per Ian Watt, “Heart of Darkness” comprehensively personifies the posture of doubt and uncertainty than any other previous fictional publication. However, it is important to analyze whether or not this reading is precise. If it is accurate, what are the stylistic devices utilized by Conrad to pose “uncertainty”?
“Heart of Darkness” utilized a slanted narrative style. Thus, an unnamed narrator can also relate to the narrative as he has linked it back with Marlow who is the main protagonist in Conrad’s novella.

Final Tips For Writing A Critical Essay 

  • Indulge In Active Reading: Practicing active reading is a smart technique. This keeps you focused on the information and retaining it. These details will help you in specifying the evidence and claims while establishing the main argument. Analyze how the author has presented the claims, the controversies involved, and the value of the content.
  • Check-Out The Examples: If this is your first time writing a critical essay then we highly suggest you go through a few examples. It provides you with a clear idea of formulating the essay. Hence, reducing the chances of error in structure or writing style.
  • Avoid Summarizing The Information: Many students commit the mistake of converting their essay into a mere summary. Avoid doing this at all costs! Take out some time to analyze the information. Rather than drafting wordy plots or descriptions, take out a minute and think whether or not this information supports your analysis. Do not retell the story. Formulate your own interpretation.
  • Start by outlining your essay: Before you put any content on the table make sure you have your essay outlined. It will save you a lot of time and effort. Start by making a list of ideas you will mention or elaborate on inside the essay. Then write down the main argument and reference surrounding it. If you will have an outline ready you will never miss out on any crucial point.
  • Get to know the rules of formatting: Formatting is very crucial be it a critical essay or any other type. Every academic document has certain rules and regulation that needs to be followed. Thus, get to know the rules you have to follow strictly. Any formatting errors will lower your grades and you wouldn’t want that.
  • Work on a catchy title of the essay: A catchy title will add a lot of importance to your work overall. The title can even make the users think about the analysis you are going to present. Ask a question or present a fact. This will make a user start questioning the topic and generate interest.
  • Gather critical Literature: There is no essay without supporting literature. You need to find the best sources such as peer-reviewed sites or databases to collect data. It should be relevant to your claim and back 100%. Literature is informative and educates the audience on a subject matter. Thus, you should spend most of the time finding the best literature available on your given topic. If you want you can reach out to your seniors or professors to know which are the best places to look.
  • Start with the writing process: This might be the toughest part for most students i.e. writing the essay. Putting everything together in the right sequence. You have the claim ready and all the supporting literature and even the outline but now you need a writing approach. Make sure you keep the paper scientific with professional lingo. The words or sentences you construct should focus on your topic. Make sure it is precise and informative. All the content should be dedicated to proving the point you wish to make. You may take from days to a week to complete the content but make sure you spend time and write only worthy content.
  • Proofread the essay from tip to toe: If you think writing the paper ends your responsibility, we hate to break it to you that you have to make sure your paper is of high quality. Keep an extra day just for proofreading your work. You need to check the grammar, construction of sentences, addition or removal of literature, etc. Also cross-referencing the citations and referrals is of great importance. So, don’t rush through anything and take it slow. After all, it’s about your grades and getting an edge. So read every line and sentence and make sure everything is relevant and connected.
  • Aim for 100% unique content: This is ethically important in academic writing. There can be serious consequences if your work is not 100% original. Do not dig the Internet to find patches of information only to compile it later and present it in the form of an essay. Your work is going to fetch you great results so you have to be honest in your approach and avoid any wrong ways of writing your essay or finishing it in a quick timeline. What’s the use of cut-copy-paste if your work is rejected by your institute or professors. You will have to start it over which will be even worse.


You will win your audience if your final argument has weight and is supported by credible sources. Also, doing extensive research on the subject is equally important. So go ahead and follow the tips mentioned above to nail your critical essay. In case you do not have the time or patience to pull off such an exhausting task then you might consider outsourcing it to experts like us. We have impeccable writers who know how to perfect the process of writing a critical essay. You can reach out to us on our contact page.


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