Think of yourself as a member of a jury, listening to a lawyer who is presenting an opening argument. You'll want to know very soon whether the lawyer believes the accused to be guilty or not guilty, and how the lawyer plans to convince you. Readers of academic essays are like jury members: before they have read too far, they want to know what the essay argues as well as how the writer plans to make the argument. After reading your thesis statement, the reader should think, "This essay is going to try to convince me of something. I'm not convinced yet, but I'm interested to see how I might be."

An effective thesis cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." A thesis is not a topic; nor is it a fact; nor is it an opinion. "Reasons for the fall of communism" is a topic. "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" is a fact known by educated people. "The fall of communism is the best thing that ever happened in Europe" is an opinion. (Superlatives like "the best" almost always lead to trouble. It's impossible to weigh every "thing" that ever happened in Europe. And what about the fall of Hitler? Couldn't that be "the best thing"?)

A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay.

Steps in Constructing a Thesis

First, analyze your primary sources.  Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication. Does the author contradict himself or herself? Is a point made and later reversed? What are the deeper implications of the author's argument? Figuring out the why to one or more of these questions, or to related questions, will put you on the path to developing a working thesis. (Without the why, you probably have only come up with an observation—that there are, for instance, many different metaphors in such-and-such a poem—which is not a thesis.)

Once you have a working thesis, write it down.  There is nothing as frustrating as hitting on a great idea for a thesis, then forgetting it when you lose concentration. And by writing down your thesis you will be forced to think of it clearly, logically, and concisely. You probably will not be able to write out a final-draft version of your thesis the first time you try, but you'll get yourself on the right track by writing down what you have.

Keep your thesis prominent in your introduction.  A good, standard place for your thesis statement is at the end of an introductory paragraph, especially in shorter (5-15 page) essays. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. Although this is not required in all academic essays, it is a good rule of thumb.

Anticipate the counterarguments.  Once you have a working thesis, you should think about what might be said against it. This will help you to refine your thesis, and it will also make you think of the arguments that you'll need to refute later on in your essay. (Every argument has a counterargument. If yours doesn't, then it's not an argument—it may be a fact, or an opinion, but it is not an argument.)

This statement is on its way to being a thesis. However, it is too easy to imagine possible counterarguments. For example, a political observer might believe that Dukakis lost because he suffered from a "soft-on-crime" image. If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you'll strengthen your argument, as shown in the sentence below.

Some Caveats and Some Examples

A thesis is never a question.  Readers of academic essays expect to have questions discussed, explored, or even answered. A question ("Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe?") is not an argument, and without an argument, a thesis is dead in the water.

A thesis is never a list.  "For political, economic, social and cultural reasons, communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" does a good job of "telegraphing" the reader what to expect in the essay—a section about political reasons, a section about economic reasons, a section about social reasons, and a section about cultural reasons. However, political, economic, social and cultural reasons are pretty much the only possible reasons why communism could collapse. This sentence lacks tension and doesn't advance an argument. Everyone knows that politics, economics, and culture are important.

A thesis should never be vague, combative or confrontational.  An ineffective thesis would be, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because communism is evil." This is hard to argue (evil from whose perspective? what does evil mean?) and it is likely to mark you as moralistic and judgmental rather than rational and thorough. It also may spark a defensive reaction from readers sympathetic to communism. If readers strongly disagree with you right off the bat, they may stop reading.

An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim.  "While cultural forces contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played the key role in driving its decline" is an effective thesis sentence that "telegraphs," so that the reader expects the essay to have a section about cultural forces and another about the disintegration of economies. This thesis makes a definite, arguable claim: that the disintegration of economies played a more important role than cultural forces in defeating communism in Eastern Europe. The reader would react to this statement by thinking, "Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim."

A thesis should be as clear and specific as possible.  Avoid overused, general terms and abstractions. For example, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because of the ruling elite's inability to address the economic concerns of the people" is more powerful than "Communism collapsed due to societal discontent."

Copyright 1999, Maxine Rodburg and The Tutors of the Writing Center at Harvard University

What are your chances of acceptance?

Calculate for all schools, your chance of acceptance.

Duke University

Your chancing factors


writing a thesis hsc

How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement: 4 Steps + Examples

writing a thesis hsc

What’s Covered:

What is the purpose of a thesis statement, writing a good thesis statement: 4 steps, common pitfalls to avoid, where to get your essay edited for free.

When you set out to write an essay, there has to be some kind of point to it, right? Otherwise, your essay would just be a big jumble of word salad that makes absolutely no sense. An essay needs a central point that ties into everything else. That main point is called a thesis statement, and it’s the core of any essay or research paper.

You may hear about Master degree candidates writing a thesis, and that is an entire paper–not to be confused with the thesis statement, which is typically one sentence that contains your paper’s focus. 

Read on to learn more about thesis statements and how to write them. We’ve also included some solid examples for you to reference.

Typically the last sentence of your introductory paragraph, the thesis statement serves as the roadmap for your essay. When your reader gets to the thesis statement, they should have a clear outline of your main point, as well as the information you’ll be presenting in order to either prove or support your point. 

The thesis statement should not be confused for a topic sentence , which is the first sentence of every paragraph in your essay. If you need help writing topic sentences, numerous resources are available. Topic sentences should go along with your thesis statement, though.

Since the thesis statement is the most important sentence of your entire essay or paper, it’s imperative that you get this part right. Otherwise, your paper will not have a good flow and will seem disjointed. That’s why it’s vital not to rush through developing one. It’s a methodical process with steps that you need to follow in order to create the best thesis statement possible.

Step 1: Decide what kind of paper you’re writing

When you’re assigned an essay, there are several different types you may get. Argumentative essays are designed to get the reader to agree with you on a topic. Informative or expository essays present information to the reader. Analytical essays offer up a point and then expand on it by analyzing relevant information. Thesis statements can look and sound different based on the type of paper you’re writing. For example:

  • Argumentative: The United States needs a viable third political party to decrease bipartisanship, increase options, and help reduce corruption in government.
  • Informative: The Libertarian party has thrown off elections before by gaining enough support in states to get on the ballot and by taking away crucial votes from candidates.
  • Analytical: An analysis of past presidential elections shows that while third party votes may have been the minority, they did affect the outcome of the elections in 2020, 2016, and beyond.

Step 2: Figure out what point you want to make

Once you know what type of paper you’re writing, you then need to figure out the point you want to make with your thesis statement, and subsequently, your paper. In other words, you need to decide to answer a question about something, such as:

  • What impact did reality TV have on American society?
  • How has the musical Hamilton affected perception of American history?
  • Why do I want to major in [chosen major here]?

If you have an argumentative essay, then you will be writing about an opinion. To make it easier, you may want to choose an opinion that you feel passionate about so that you’re writing about something that interests you. For example, if you have an interest in preserving the environment, you may want to choose a topic that relates to that. 

If you’re writing your college essay and they ask why you want to attend that school, you may want to have a main point and back it up with information, something along the lines of:

“Attending Harvard University would benefit me both academically and professionally, as it would give me a strong knowledge base upon which to build my career, develop my network, and hopefully give me an advantage in my chosen field.”

Step 3: Determine what information you’ll use to back up your point

Once you have the point you want to make, you need to figure out how you plan to back it up throughout the rest of your essay. Without this information, it will be hard to either prove or argue the main point of your thesis statement. If you decide to write about the Hamilton example, you may decide to address any falsehoods that the writer put into the musical, such as:

“The musical Hamilton, while accurate in many ways, leaves out key parts of American history, presents a nationalist view of founding fathers, and downplays the racism of the times.”

Once you’ve written your initial working thesis statement, you’ll then need to get information to back that up. For example, the musical completely leaves out Benjamin Franklin, portrays the founding fathers in a nationalist way that is too complimentary, and shows Hamilton as a staunch abolitionist despite the fact that his family likely did own slaves. 

Step 4: Revise and refine your thesis statement before you start writing

Read through your thesis statement several times before you begin to compose your full essay. You need to make sure the statement is ironclad, since it is the foundation of the entire paper. Edit it or have a peer review it for you to make sure everything makes sense and that you feel like you can truly write a paper on the topic. Once you’ve done that, you can then begin writing your paper.

When writing a thesis statement, there are some common pitfalls you should avoid so that your paper can be as solid as possible. Make sure you always edit the thesis statement before you do anything else. You also want to ensure that the thesis statement is clear and concise. Don’t make your reader hunt for your point. Finally, put your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph and have your introduction flow toward that statement. Your reader will expect to find your statement in its traditional spot.

If you’re having trouble getting started, or need some guidance on your essay, there are tools available that can help you. CollegeVine offers a free peer essay review tool where one of your peers can read through your essay and provide you with valuable feedback. Getting essay feedback from a peer can help you wow your instructor or college admissions officer with an impactful essay that effectively illustrates your point.

writing a thesis hsc

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

writing a thesis hsc

Save My HSC

Writing Band Six Essays-Intelligent Introductions

The first thing the marker reads is your introduction, and thus a solid introduction can engage the marker and make them actually want to read your essay. The other advantage of a decent introduction is that if for some reason you don’t get to finish your essay, the marker will at least know what you intended to talk about, and can give you some credit for being on the right track. It will definitely improve your mark overall if you can indicate that you know what you are talking about and what you would say if you had time in your introduction. This is not to say you should waste your time writing a perfect page long introduction, but rather that the introduction is important so don’t spoil your chances of getting a good mark by not introducing your essay properly!

A good introduction will always:

a) Start with a thesis that DIRECTLY RESPONDS TO THE QUESTION. You have 40 minutes to write an essay so there is no time to start with philosophical musings about the topic or write random things you happen to remember about the module you are writing about.

What is a thesis?

A thesis is just a fancy word for an argument or overall point of view. Your opening thesis statement basically needs to state an argument that you will develop and provide evidence for throughout your essay. There is no need for this to be complex, but better essays generally will have a thesis that responds to the question without using the exact wording of the question. For example:

“Curiosity is essential to finding a true sense of discovery” Discuss

An A-grade thesis would be something that indicates your personal response to the question. Remember that you do not have to agree with the statement, you can disagree or you can be really tricky and agree and disagree with the question. Better essays are always those that can argue and counter argue.

Sample thesis:

The complex nature of the concept of discovery means that a true sense of discovery can be found in different circumstances for different people, however, many individuals find that they discover the most when they trust in their curiosity.

This is a good thesis because it

  • Shows you know something about the concept of discovery
  • Refers to the question without using all the exact words
  • Is broad enough to allow you to develop good arguments, and then counterarguments
  • Uses definitive words such as “means” and “find” instead of using words such as may. This makes it sound argumentative, which is a good thing as the purpose of an essay is to argue.

However, writing a thesis such as the one above will not come naturally to a lot of students. For these students who find it difficult to develop thesis statements, the best route is to take words out of the question. This will show the marker that you have understood the question and know what you need to write about in order to answer this question.

In order to discover, people need to seek out ideas as well as develop relationships with other people and places.

This is also a good thesis because:

  • It is a direct response to the question
  • It is broad enough to allow you to develop an argument
  • It demonstrates that you have understood the question-the word “essential” basically means something that you need or must have.

When writing a thesis, remember that it has to be an argument, but also that you must be able to support this argument with evidence in your body paragraphs. There is no formula for writing a perfect thesis as every question is different, but if you keep in mind the above points and practice, writing theses will hopefully become a lot easier!

b)         A good introduction will have at least one sentence that expands on the thesis.

This will help you to show you know what you will be talking about in the essay and hopefully make the point you are trying to prove by writing this essay a little clearer to the marker.

c)          Name the texts and composers that will be referred to throughout the essay

Names of texts should be Underlined. How exactly you name the texts and authors really depends on the module, so see the specific post for each of these!

d)         Outline the points you will be making in the essay

To fulfill its purpose, the introduction must give a proper overview of the arguments you will be making. There is no need for excessive detail here, just state the general arguments you will be making in one long or two short sentences if necessary. See the sample introduction and each module’s essay writing blog post for further guidance on how to outline arguments in the introduction.

Also, make sure to read:

Writing Band Six Essays-Body Paragraphs

Writing Band Six Essays – Conclusions

writing a thesis hsc

Similar Posts

Sample Essay-Advanced English Module C, History and Memory-The Queen.

Sample Essay-Advanced English Module C, History and Memory-The Queen.

Take note and learn from the way this essay has been structured. This essay received a mark of 20 out of 20 and captures the essence of the module with reference to a really good related text! Question: Compare how the texts you have studied emphasize the complexities evident in the interplay of history and…

5 Things Every Band 6 HSC English Essay Must Have

5 Things Every Band 6 HSC English Essay Must Have

Achieving excellent grades in HSC English is something that not all students believe that they can achieve. The reality is that every single paper can be distilled into a few core elements…. And you know what the good news is? There is a formula that you can learn. All the good work of your teachers…

Area of Study Discovery

Area of Study Discovery is the big scary phrase that you will be accosted with for a good portion of the year. This portion of the syllabus relates to your first HSC examination or as it is more notoriously known ‘Paper 1’. This paper is broken up into three sections.   Section 1: Comprehension Throughout your…

Assessments during the HSC Year

Assessments during the HSC Year

Each school will conduct assessments differently; however there are some prescriptions from the syllabus which regulate how students can be assessed. For both standard and advanced English, listening, speaking, and viewing/representing assessments will account for 15% each of your total assessment. This means you may have a listening task, a speaking task and a viewing…

TS Eliot Essay

TS Eliot Essay

This is an example of a high range response of a TS Eliot essay. As a critical study, the respondent must assess his work as a whole and be aware of the broader contextual impact of the work. This response is for the 2013 English HSC.   Explore how time and place are used in…

HSC English Trials Past Papers AND Marking Guidelines

This is the best resource you will find online! The new syllabus has only been in effect for over 2 years, so it is very difficult to find papers that are relevant to what you have been studying in class. We have collected a number of past papers from different sources and will continue to…

  • Pingback: Studying for Exams and More Sample HSC English Papers « Save My HSC

thanks so much! love.

If your going to teach us how to write an introduction, at least have a sample!!!!

lol momo ur face is a sample :’)

Leave a Reply Cancel reply


  1. How to Write a Strong HSC English Essay Thesis Statement

    Step 1: Answer the Question. The biggest mistake rookies can make when it comes to arguing against the question is forgetting to actually answer the question. This happens in two ways: Your thesis becomes too complex and you lose the original point. You ignore the question and make a totally new thesis.

  2. How To Write a Thesis Statement: Step-By-Step

    Learn how to write a successful thesis statement in Part 1 of our Essay Writing Guide. Read this 2022 update of our popular guide.

  3. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Step 1: Start with a question. You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis, early in the writing process. As soon as you've decided on your essay topic, you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

  4. How to Write a Thesis Statement for Module A

    Learn how to write a thesis statement for the 2020 HSC Module A essay question. We will provide an example based on Mrs Dalloway and The Hours. Watch how we ...

  5. How to Write a Kickass Band 6 HSC English Essay

    Step 4: Write Your Body Paragraphs. Now, before you get straight into writing your body paragraphs and using various paragraph structures, you need to understand the purpose of a topic sentence and how they'll back up your thesis and inform the rest of your paragraphs.

  6. 3 Steps To Write a Thesis Statement: Texts and Human Experiences

    HSC English Resources: the 3 steps for writing quality thesis statements in your essays.Thank you so much for watching. I h...

  7. Part 6: How To Write An Essay

    Read this guide to learn how to write an essay for Year 11 and 12. Writing practice essays is an essential part of getting Band 6 for English.

  8. How to Write a Band 6 English Essay (Scaffolding)

    Essay Scaffold (1000 words) Use this as a scaffold but you can replace the sentences in each paragraph with a scaffold of your own choosing. Example: PEEL, STEEL, PETEL, TEAL etc. Introduction (Leading competing opinions on the subject - 100 Words approx. ) [Thesis Statement: What I think on the issue] [/]

  9. How to Write a Thesis Statement for The Merchant of Venice (2020 HSC

    Learn how to write a thesis statement for the 2020 HSC Common Module Essay question. This time, we provide an example based on Shakespeare's play 'The Mercha...

  10. How to Write a Thesis Statement for T.S. Eliot

    Learn how to write a thesis statement for T.S. Eliot. In this video, we provide an example based on the 2019 HSC exam. To access our specialised HSC resourc...

  11. Developing A Thesis

    A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay. Steps in Constructing a Thesis. First, analyze your primary sources. Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication.

  12. How to Elevate Your Essays in English Using 'Thesis + 3'

    How to Write a Thesis + 3 Step 1: Find an essay question Head to our site where you can find a whole bunch of practice questions for the module that you are studying! You can also check out past HSC papers from NESA. Step 2: Set a 5-minute timer. When you first start writing thesis + 3s you don't need to complete all 3 statements within 5 ...

  13. HSC English

    You have 45 minutes of writing time for Section I of the examination. So, to make sure you answer all the short-answer questions within this time, practice using this timing guide: • Complete questions worth 3 marks in 7 minutes. • Complete questions worth 4-5 marks in 10 minutes. • Complete questions worth 6-7 marks in 13 minutes.

  14. What is a thesis

    A thesis is an in-depth research study that identifies a particular topic of inquiry and presents a clear argument or perspective about that topic using evidence and logic. Writing a thesis showcases your ability of critical thinking, gathering evidence, and making a compelling argument. Integral to these competencies is thorough research ...

  15. How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement: 4 Steps + Examples

    Step 4: Revise and refine your thesis statement before you start writing. Read through your thesis statement several times before you begin to compose your full essay. You need to make sure the statement is ironclad, since it is the foundation of the entire paper. Edit it or have a peer review it for you to make sure everything makes sense and ...

  16. How to Write an EFFECTIVE Thesis Statement

    A good thesis statement acts as the basis of your essay. In this short video series (focused on essay writing), you will learn how to write an effective and ...

  17. Developing a Thesis Statement

    A thesis statement . . . Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic. Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper. Is focused and specific enough to be "proven" within the boundaries of your paper. Is generally located near the end ...

  18. PDF Discursive Writing for the HSC

    Discursive Writing for the HSC Mel Dixon and Kate Murphy Discursive writing and syllabus intent The 2019 HSC brings with it many changes, not least ... argumentative essay that seeks to develop a thesis statement in a persuasive manner, discursive writing explores and examines themes and issues

  19. Writing Band Six Essays-Body Paragraphs

    Being able to define a thesis statement is an imperative skill in the HSC. The success of your English essay almost entirely hinges on how good your THESIS is. Your essay should be understood as an extended exposition of your thesis, with every point being a further piece of evidence in favour of it. All our…

  20. How to Write a Strong Thesis for Your HSC Modern History Essay

    Writing a strong thesis for your Modern History essay may seem more important than you think. Imagine you're sitting in a hard chair in the middle of the HSC marking centre marking yet another Modern History essay on why Albert Speer was a bad person.. They all say Albert Speer was bad because 'he was a Nazi'. Now imagine you read another 20 essays arguing the exact same thing.

  21. How to Write a Thesis Statement for Past the Shallows (2020 HSC

    Learn how to write a thesis statement for Past the Shallows, as we use an example from the 2020 HSC. Watch how we UNPACK the key terms of the question by fir...

  22. Writing Band Six Essays-Intelligent Introductions

    When writing a thesis, remember that it has to be an argument, but also that you must be able to support this argument with evidence in your body paragraphs. ... The Creative Writing section of the HSC Paper 1 exam offers students the chance to display their understanding of Discovery by using their imagination to construct a short fictional piece.