Here’s the Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Critical Essay

Posted on: 29th April 2020

Who enjoys completing their college assignments? We’re a group of nerds, and not many of us enjoy it. But we’re pretty good at it.

Anyway, you’ve now been given a critical essay assignment, and you have no idea how to write one. Luckily, the essay writing pros from custom writing bee are here to offer valuable insights on all things writing a critical analysis essay.

Curious already? You’ll find the definition of a critical essay, a systematic approach to writing such a report, tips for writing a critical analysis essay, among other useful info. If you learn better through example, you can access our archives for a critical essay sample.

Let’s not keep you waiting.

What Is a Critical Essay?

A critical essay definition is a type of academic writing that analyzes, interprets, a given text. With critical essays, authors make claims about how he can convey a particular theme or idea in text form. Then back up the claims using shreds of evidence from either a secondary or primary source. 

Kindly note that the term “critical” is not the casual associated with negative perspectives. Instead, in this context, it merely means critical analysis and discerning since they mainly aim in evaluating and not judging the content.   

What are the Features of a Critical Essay?

This is not the first or the last time in your coursework where you’re being asked to write a critical analysis essay.  It also possesses vast-ranging textual subjects like visual art, video games, poetry, novels, films, et al. While there are various types of critical analysis essays, they all share similar characteristics.

A Central Claim

They contain the text’s central claim. You write the argument expression when you are starting the essay in the thesis statements. It is then backed up by pieces of evidence in every paragraph.  

Supporting Evidence 

A critical essay’s central claim has to be supported. Most evidence comes in textual support forms particularly, the details of a text which bolster an argument. These essays are also inclusive of secondary sources like scholarly works, which will strengthen the case.

A Conclusion

When done with supporting your claim, a critical essay should provide a concise conclusion. It summarizes the argument’s trajectory as well as emphasizes the most crucial insights. 

With that said, here’s how to write a critical essay step-by-step.

Section 1: Preparation to Write

This section will discuss the pre-writing stage, a crucial step that shouldn’t be ignored when writing an educational essay.

Let’s get to the first step.

Internalize the Assignment

Immediately you are assigned a paper, read through the guidelines as you highlight sections you don’t understand well. Clarify with the teacher if there are unclear things or you don’t understand your assignment excellently. 

Read the Article Critically

As earlier stated, analytical essays are about evaluating an article, a painting, a movie, et al. Therefore, to do that, you have to be at home with its primary text. 

Be at home with the text to know the ins and outs by severally reading it. Should you need to evaluate a film or visual texts, you have to watch the clips individually. If it’s a painting, study the art from differing distances and angles.  

Jot Down Notes When Reading Texts

When you do this, you will remember vital text aspects and think critically. Jot down questions and try to answer them via notes.

  • What does the text address?
  • Which are your text’s main ideas?
  • What puzzles are there concerning the text?
  • What’s the text’s purpose?

Review The Notes to Identify the Pattern

When done reading, take notes, look over them to determine the trends as well as challenges presented in the text. Attempt to identify solutions to the problems found. These solutions need to assist you in developing a focus for the essay. However, you shouldn’t necessarily have a strong argument about the text at this point. While you precede thinking about your writing, you’ll find near the thesis and focus on the critical analysis essay.  

Section 2: Conducting Research 

The research stage is an equally important stage of writing a critical analysis. It’s the milestone where you gather all the necessary evidence to support your critical analysis essay thesis statement. 

Let’s start with the first item on the list.

Get Suitable Secondary Sources 

Should you be required to utilize sources, you’re needed to do research. Look at your assignment’s guidelines then ask the instructor if the source types are not clear. References are on reliable websites, articles, journals, and books. Also, use library databases rather than internet research.  

Evaluate The Sources to Determine Credibility

Using credible sources is essential in academic essays; otherwise, you are going to damage your integrity as a writer. With the library’s database, be sure of reliable, credible sources. 

Here’s how you can tell whether a source is credible and trustworthy.  

An Author’s Credentials

Always source your information form a reference that has an author’s credentials and names. Their particulars must indicate what makes them qualified to talk on an authoritative subject


you have to think if the author possesses adequate topical research. See also if their bibliography cited page. It there are seamlessly no or few sources, then his sources aren’t trustworthy.


Credible sources are supposed to provide an objective assessment. Biased ones, on the other hand, will favor one point of view. An unbiased author will provide both sides of the story impartially and leave you to pick a stance. 

Here are some points to note when evaluating the credibility of a source.

  • Never dismiss authors for favoring a specific view.
  • Critically engage with the arguments they present and utilize the well backed-up claims.    

Review your Research

After gathering sources, ensure that you read them. Use the exact reading strategy for the primary sources. 

Take Notes When Reading Sources 

Underline and highlight significant passages to quickly get them later. When reading, you have to pull much info from the sources by penning them in a book. Indicate when quoting origins word to word by putting quotation marks and citing the source with the page number too. 

 Care for some tips?

  • Never highlight phrases because they seem meaningful.
  • Highlight phrases which undermine or support your argument

 Section 3: Writing the Essay

Everything you’ve done up to this point was leading you to this moment. This is where you get to lay down your argument and support it with the evidence you gathered during research. As always, let’s take a systematic approach.

Develop A Tentative Thesis

After developing your ideas concerning the primary source and also reading them, you are all set to write the thesis statement. The purpose of a thesis statement is to adequately express the paper’s primary focus as well as to state arguable claims. It is vital to utilize a multiple sentence statement whereby the first sentence provides a general idea as the next one refines it to specific plans. Ascertain that the thesis offers sufficient details. Place the thesis statement in the first paragraph’s end unless otherwise specified by your instructor. 

Use these tips the next time you’re developing your thesis. 

  • Never put obvious facts
  • Always present arguments that will support the evidence 

Develop a Critical Analysis Outline

Curating a critical essay outline before drafting the essay will aid in organizing the info you begin writing your essay will help you to organize your information efficiently. You are free to outline as scant or as detailed as you desire. Remember, the more detail included in the outline, the more materials you are going to ready for the paper. You might also need to use formal outline structures that use letters, Arabic numerals, and Roman numerals.

Craft your Critical Analysis Introduction 

The introduction needs to begin the topic discussion immediately. Consider what you’re going to discuss to assist you in determining what you will include in the first paragraph. Remember that the intro has to identify your main idea and act as your essay’s preview. 

As you write your introductory paragraph, have these points in mind;

  • Never begin with cliché. 
  • Open with a hook; it can be an anecdote or intriguing facts that have relevant content
  • Include evocative details to link you to vast ideas and provide compelling statics

Provide Background Information

Providing sufficient background context will guide your audience throughout the essay. Think about what readers will have to know to comprehend the article by giving the info in the first paragraph. The info is going to vary dependent on the text type that you’re required to write. 

Never summarize the plot parts that are irrelevant to the essay. Also, you need to tailor the intro to your readers. An English professors’ conference wants less background information.

Have these considerations on your fingertips next time;

  • When analyzing a book, offer a brief plot summary, the author’s, and the work’s name
  • If you’re writing about a film, provide a synopsis. 
  • If it is an image or a painting, give a short description

Remember that the background info in your first paragraph has to lead up to the statement. Clear out everything your audience might want to know to comprehend what the topic is about. Subsequently narrow it until you reach your critical thinking analysis topic.   

Use The Body Paragraphs to Discuss Specific Text Components 

Instead of attempting to consider several aspects in one section, ensure that every part focuses on one point. Each text discussion has to contribute to proving your thesis. For every paragraph, do as follows: 

  • Offer several claims at the paragraph’s beginning
  • Back up your argument with an example from the primary sources
  • Use secondary sources to support your thesis statement 

Develop Your Critical Response Essay Conclusion

 The conclusion has to emphasize what you were trying to prove to your readers about the text. However, before writing the conclusion, take time to reflect on what you wrote so far then determine how effectively you can end the essay. 

Academic essays have several good ending options. For instance, you may;

  • Review and summarize the main ideas  
  • Justify how your topic will affect the audience 
  • Explain how the narrowed topic applies to vast observation or theme.  
  • Call your audience to action or to further explore the topic  
  • Provide new queries that your essay introduces

 You can consider using these pointers when writing your essay ending.

  • Never repeat the exact ideas you stated earlier made 
  • Refer to the earlier points then connect them into one argument.

Section 4: Polishing-Up Critical Analysis Essay

There’s a catchphrase used by Grammarly proofreading software. It says, to err is human. To edit, divine. We’d like to echo the same message. It is in this section where you iron out your critical analysis essay. You want it to be in tip-top shape when your instructor is reviewing it. 

Put Aside the Paper Before Revision 

When you take a break, your brain gets to rest. Hence when you revisit it, you’ll get a fresh view. It’s crucial to start writing an essay way ahead of the allowed time to get adequate time to revise. If you haven’t allowed yourself additional time, you’re prone to make simple mistakes, consequently earning yourself pathetic grades.  

Get Adequate Time to Perform Major Revisions 

When revising the paper, you have to consider several writing aspects to ensure that your audience will comprehend your critical essay. These are questions to consider when polishing your critical analysis.

  • What is the main point?
  • How can I convey the main point effectively?
  • Who are my readers?
  • How can I meet their expectations? 
  • What is the purpose
  • How well have you achieved it with the essay?
  • How compelling is your evidence, and how can you strengthen it?
  • Do all the parts relate to the thesis? If not, how can you bring the connection?
  • Is there anything confusing about the structure of your paper? How about the delivery?
  • Is your work free of grammatical errors such as punctuation and spellings? 
  • What can someone with a differing perspective say about your paper?
  • Did you address the opposing arguments?  

Finish by Proofreading a Printed Final Draft

 Read the paper out loudly. It’s easier to identify incomplete sentences, wordy parts, grammatical errors, typos, et al. It’ll be a shame if you let such minor errors lower your grades. After identifying all small mistakes, you can now revise the paper then get a fresh print copy for you to submit to the professor. However, if you’re to send via email or online, clarify with the professor to know their format preference. You should save your paper as the PDF file of you are using textual formatting to preserve is as it is.  

Golden Tips when doing Critical Essays 

As earlier stated, these essay types require meticulous arguments and rigorous analysis building process. These tips will greatly help if you are finding it hard to write a critical analysis essay. Have a look.

Practice Active Reading

These reading strategies will help you to be focused as well as retain information to assist you in identifying particular text details that serve as argument evidence. 

 Read Critical Analysis Essay Examples 

Should you be unfamiliar with these essay forms, obviously writing one will be a daunting task. Before diving into writing a critical essay, read several published several critical essay examples while paying attention to the writing style and structure.  

Resist the Urge to Summarize

Critical response essays need to consist of your text interpretation and analysis and generally to summarize the text. In case you start writing character descriptions or lengthy plots, stop and consider if these summaries are in your main argument’s service. Are they also taking up unnecessary space in your paper? 

Get Proofreading Help 

Request your family member, a friend, or an acquaintance to give you a constructive comment after proofreading your document. Proficient writers pass through many draft papers of their assignment, and you need to do likewise.  

A Placeholder Intro is your Friend

 It is more straightforward to write a rough introduction then proceed onwards before revising your introduction. If you’re struggling to craft a good intro, a placeholder introduction can be useful.

Work On Your Process 

What do I mean? Well, all students aren’t created equal. For instance, some writers require an outline to start writing, while others find it unnecessary. As such, you must recognize what works best for you and adjust accordingly. 

Start Early 

By doing so much, you will produce proficient better work and be less distressed. To achieve this, write your essay throughout plenty of evenings rather than one speedy session.  

Narrow Down your Topic as You Proceed

A lot of students usually make a mistake when they pick overly vast critical thinking essay topics. They hope to have enough to discuss. However, it is easier to present a narrower argument since you will understand it well. By doing so, even your hard to please professor will know that you comprehended the subject. You know that is the trick to getting fantastic grades, right? 

You Can Always Make a New Outline

Should you be in trouble when structuring your essay, you need to make a new outline of what you want to discuss based on the topical sentences in each paragraph. On the framework, write sentences that examine the relationship between the thematic sentences. However, if it’s challenging to do the explanation easily, this should tell you that the paragraphs aren’t in order, and there is a need to reorder them. 

There isn’t sufficient time to scrutinize ten books on the topic you chose. That’s why you should utilize the book’s content table as well as an index. Doing so will help you in the search for the most helpful relevant chapters. 

Cite Everything

Ensure to cite everything in your research inclusive of theoretical concepts, stats, and quotations very accurately. If you’re in doubt, err less on the citing since failing to do so results in committing plagiarism- the worst essay sin you can do. 

Avoid Last-Minute Rush

Never write your papers in the last-minute rush. It will cause poor grammar and logic gaps. Do not forget that the instructor has gone through thousands of documents. As such, he can quickly tell apart a last-minute delivery from a well-researched and outlined report.  

Need Assignment Help with Your Critical Analysis Essay?

That’s it! As you can see, writing a critical essay isn’t exactly rocket science. As long as you’re systematic in your approach, you’ll have no problem impressing your professor. 

We also understand that you may be strapped for time. If this occurs, never hesitate to call us. We’ll write you a custom essay from scratch in an hour or two. 

If you need assignment help with your college essay, order from the essay writing experts now.

  • Do you need help with an
    online class, essay or assignment?

  • Find the right expert among 500+

    We hire Gradewriters writers from different fields, thoroughly check their credentials, and put them through trials.

    View all writers

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Essay Writers!

We have subject matter experts ready 24/7 to tackle your specific tasks and deliver them ON TIME, ready to hand in. Our writers have advanced degrees, and they know exactly what’s required to get you the best possible grade.

Profile picture of ProfWriter



( Reviews)

Staff Level Intermediate

Total orders 7134

Profile picture of ProfWriter1



( Reviews)

Staff Level Intermediate

Total orders 3848

Military sciences
Profile picture of Revaz Pataradze

Revaz Pataradze


( Reviews)

Staff Level Elite

Total orders 1020

Health sciences and medicine
Profile picture of Pro. Nicole

Pro. Nicole


( Reviews)

Staff Level Advanced

Total orders 1026

Human Resources (HR)
Macro & Micro economics
Profile picture of Nicole Ashton

Nicole Ashton


( Reviews)

Staff Level Advanced

Total orders 1197

Gender & Sexual Studies
View all writers

Find the right expert among 500+

We hire Custom Writing Bee writers from different fields, thoroughly check their credentials, and put them through trials.

View all writers

Do you need help with an
online class, essay or assignment?