Academic Essay Writing Checklist for Students

When you get stuck, it is a good idea to have this essay writing checklist in bookmarks, open it and follow it step by step. Feel free to use it every time you need to write a quality essay, especially under time pressure.


  • Do you have a plan/schedule for your essay?
  • Did you decide on the time frame applicable to this assignment?
  • Did you take into account emergencies?
  • Did you confirm your plan with your professor if required?
  • Does your plan allocate extra time for proofreading?
  • Does your plan include as many mono tasks as possible?
  • Do you feel like you know what to do in any given moment when you look at your plan?
  • Did you have a similar plan before? Was it successful?
  • Is your plan rigid or it can be adjusted according to some changes?

Choosing the Topic

  • Can you choose a topic or your topic is given by your professor?
  • If it is given by your professor and you don’t like it, can you change it?
  • If you need to approve your topic with your professor, did you prepare three options for him to choose from?
  • Is your topic fresh and engaging?
  • Are you interested in writing an essay with this topic in mind?
  • Do you have a fresh, unusual vision of the issue?


  • Did you state your thesis effectively and clearly?
  • Is your thesis not more than two sentences long?
  • Can you make your thesis statement fit one sentence?
  • Do you reveal your topic enough in your Introduction?

Body Paragraphs

  • Do you use strong arguments?
  • Do you have enough but not too many arguments to support your idea?
  • Do you mention limitations to your study and arguments against your vision?
  • Do you structure your arguments clearly?
  • Does every abstract logically continue the previous abstract?
  • Do you cite references immediately after using them?
  • Is your content original?
  • Is the main idea clearly stated?
  • Would you be interested in reading such arguments if you were just a reader not an author?
  • Does the used evidence support the chosen arguments?


  • Are you sure you didn’t add any not needed information, any new information to your conclusions?
  • Do your conclusions summarize everything stated before without new statements?
  • Do your conclusions confirm what was stated in the thesis statement?
  • Are your conclusions enough to finish this essay and be fully understood by readers?


  • Did you use proofreading websites? Did you use only free versions or also paid versions?
  • Did you read every abstract after writing it?
  • Do you have an opportunity to ask someone to read your paper with fresh eyes?
  • Did you read your text aloud to detect too long sentences?
  • Did you check both grammar and style?
  • Did you check instructions to your essay once again before submitting it?
  • Did you use plagiarism checker to detect technical plagiarism?


  • Did you cite all of the sources based on the required style MLA, APA, Harvard, etc.?
  • Did you use citation generators to make your job easier?
  • Did you check that every in-text citation has its match in a bibliography list?
  • Did you use relevant and up-to-date sources?
  • Did you use academically valid sources?

Plan B

  • Do you have a plan B for emergency cases?
  • Do you have a friend to help you out with your essay?
  • Do you know a quality writing service to assist you?
  • Did you allocate enough time to finish your essay before the submission date?

Of course, you can’t predict everything, but with some good planning and this checklist you will be able to get your essay written for free before the deadline. Done is better than perfect!