How to write a conclusion to an essay

  • A conclusion is the final idea left with the reader at the end of an essay.
  • A conclusion should link back to the essay question and briefly restate your main points.
  • It could also include a final thought or reflection to highlight the significance of the topic.
Learn how to reflect on your main points in a conclusion to an essay

If you think of your essay as a type of argument, persuading the reader to a particular point of view, then the conclusion can be a powerful way of bringing together the most important aspects of your argument.

Link back to the question

Keep your conclusion focused by linking back to the question, title, statement or topic of the essay. This can be achieved by using key words from the essay question.

Summarise the main points

In the conclusion, you should not simply repeat what you have said in the rest of the essay, but aim to reinforce these key ideas by briefly summarising your main points. One way to do this is to look back at all the topic sentences from the paragraphs in your essay and bring them together.

Reflection

Your conclusion should leave the reader thinking about the significance of the whole topic. It is a good idea to include a final thought or reflection.

Sentence starters

You could use one of the following sentence starters to signal to the reader that you are concluding the essay:

  • In conclusion …
  • Finally …
  • Overall …
  • In summary …
Phrases like ‘In conclusion ...’ clearly signal that you are coming to the end of your essay

What to avoid

  • Avoid including any new points or ideas
  • Avoid making your conclusion too long
  • Avoid lots of repetition

Remember

The conclusion is an important way to wrap up your ideas. Without a conclusion, your writing may seem unfinished or your overall aim may not be clear. The conclusion is your final chance to leave an impression on the reader.

Quiz

Find out how much you know about writing an essay conclusion in this short quiz!