Major points are the building blocks of your paper. Major points build on each other, moving the paper forward and toward its conclusion. Each major point should be a clear claim that relates to the central argument of your paper.
Sample Major Point: Employment and physical health may be a good first major point for this sample paper. Here, a student might discuss how dropping out of high school often leads to fewer employment opportunities, and those employment opportunities that are available tend to be correlated with poor work environments and low pay.
Minor points are subtopics within your major points. Minor points develop the nuances of your major points but may not be significant enough to warrant extended attention on their own. These may come in the form of statistics, examples from your sources, or supporting ideas.
Sample Minor Point: A sample minor point of the previous major point (employment and physical health) might address worker injury or the frequent lack of health insurance benefits offered by low-paying employers.
The rest of the body of your paper will be made up of more major and minor points. Each major point should advance the paper's central argument, often building on the previous points, until you have provided enough evidence and analysis to justify your paper's conclusion.
More Major and Minor Points: In this paper, more major points might include mental health of high school dropouts, healthcare access for dropouts, and correlation between mental and physical health. Minor topics could include specific work environments, job satisfaction in various fields, and correlation between depression and chronic illness.
If you’re panicking over a deadline, take hope in this: it’s possible to write a five page essay in an hour. It’s not, obviously, going to be your best work, but it can be a very passable paper so long as you follow this guide.
Whatever the essay topic is, gather every bit of information you’ll need and have it on hand—right beside you is best. If there are digital sources, go ahead and open them, you can tab between them and the word processing document. Once you sit down to write, you don’t want to get up again and lose your focus, or spend too much time searching for something.
While you don’t have long to muse on a thesis statement keep in mind this one absolutely critical point: it must be something you can support with the materials you have on hand. Any thesis you come up with that is supportable with the sources you have handy is fine, given the time crunch.
Now, you may be thinking you don’t have time for this, but for the purposes of writing a five page essay in one hour, we’ll be suggesting a different manner of outline creation than usual. It will most definitely save you time.
Here’s an example of an introduction outline. Follow this template for each section. Research points and include them as you create it.
- Introduction: (3 paragraphs, 1 page)
- First paragraph: Introduce the topic
- Not your thesis mind you. While you might ordinarily introduce your thesis earlier, you’ll need to pad this paper as much as possible without adding too much fluff. To do so, introduce the general topic. Include useful information, but make sure you write a paragraph that covers about 1/3 of the first page.
- Second paragraph: Introduce your thesis
- Now, introduce your thesis. In the first sentence, state it. For the rest of the paragraph, refine and clarify it. Third paragraph: Introduce three supporting ideas.
As you’ve researched along the way and copied and pasted points, typed out quotes, and such in your outline, you can actually edit the outline itself by removing bullet points, adding clarification sentences, and polishing the entire thing. Proofread, and you’re done!