Another awesome blog from the Skills Team, this time about the art of the perfect conclusion. Remember you can follow their blog at hullunilibrary.wordpress.com

Conclusions are often overlooked, forgotten and unloved . Conclusions, in their imagined lowly position at the end of your writing, are often cursory and written last minute.

It’s time to change and give your conclusions some much needed attention. Your conclusion is THE WHOLE POINT of your essay. All the other parts of the essay should have been leading your reader on an inevitable journey to the wonderful place that is your conclusion. So make it count, give it some love and finish with a bang .

Too many students focus their essays on content rather than argument. This means they pay too much attention to the main body without considering where it is leading. It can be a good idea to write a draft conclusion BEFORE you write your main body. It is a lot easier to plan a journey when you know your destination!

A great conclusion should include:

  • A clear link back to the question.
  • A sentence that summarises your main argument but in a bit more detail than you gave in your introduction.
  • A series of supporting sentences that basically reiterate the main point of each of your paragraphs but show how they relate to each other and lead you to the position you have taken.
  • A final sentence that states why your ideas are important to the wider subject area and provides a sense of closure.

It should NOT include:

  • Any new ideas (if an idea is worth including, put it in the main body).
  • A change of style (i.e. being more emotional or sentimental than the rest of the essay).
  • Overused phrases like:
    • “in conclusion”
    • “in summary”
    • “as shown in this essay”

Constantly ask yourself “So what?” “Why should anyone care?” and answer these questions for each of the points you make in your conclusion.

Remember, your conclusion is the last thing your reader (marker!) will read. Spending a little care on it will leave her/him absolutely sure that you have answered the question and you will definitely receive a higher mark than if your conclusion was an unloved afterthought.

As stated in our previous blog post, your conclusion should be around 10% of your word count. There is never a situation where sacrificing words in your conclusion will benefit your essay.