The typical essay tends to be 5 paragraphs with the following format:
a) Thesis (1-2 sentences; what are you arguing and why?)
b) Summary of claims
2) Body paragraph 1
b) Evidence 1
d) How does this support your argument
e) **provide at least 2-3 pieces of evidence followed by at least 3 sentences of analysis**
3) " " 2
a-e) repeat of body paragraph 1
4) " " 3 ** this is often a rebuttal paragraph
a) rebuttal: what is a valid argument against my own argument?
b) why your argument "overpowers" your rebuttal. "while this is true/despite this/but/however/etc. ..."
a) restate your argument
b) how do your claims support your argument?
c) limitations **if you are provided with documents (Document Based Questions DBQs) for evidence you must state why your evidence may be flawed (these are points on AP Exams! It would be best to dedicate an entire paragraph for this). If you are writing a research paper you will need to include this.
d) Universal theme/connection
**Please remember to cite your outside sources according to the appropriate format (i.e. MLA, APA, etc.). If you are quoting from one piece of literature you should include the page/paragraph/line number.
Good luck on your essay!