How to Write a Synthesis Essay: Basic Steps to Follow

As a student, before you reach the graduation stage, you will have to write several essays, one of them being a synthesis essay. Although it may seem a hard task from the start, with adequate resources, a good environment, and a proper understanding of essay writing, any student can write the best synthesis essay and score higher grades. However, this article will help you figure out useful aspects when writing a synthesis essay. Keep reading for a better understanding.

What’s a synthesis essay?

Commonly written by college or high school students, a synthesis essay is a five-paragraph piece of academic writing that requires students to research information from several sources before forming a new concept, argumentative thesis, or a question out of the research. Out of the different sources, the writer will create an original discovery and support the idea with evidence.

How to write a synthesis essay: the synthesis essay structure

Every academic task, especially an essay, should have a clear structure with sections explaining different concepts related to the main topic. The following is a synthesis essay format guide a student needs to follow when crafting the essay.

  • The Introduction

Under the introduction section of your synthesis essay, ensure you include the ideas explaining what your essay is all about. As you explain the general idea of your essay, try and introduce some of the sources you will use as part of the research. Also, determine your argument based on the thesis statement in the introduction section. Finally, the thesis statement will complete the introduction section in one or two sentences.

  • The Body

In a synthesis essay, the main body is around three paragraphs. This is the central point of your paper, where two paragraphs are meant to synthesize the sources and how they support your argument based on the thesis statement. The other paragraph is used to acknowledge opposing arguments.

  • The conclusion

In the conclusion of your synthesis essay, ensure you reiterate the argument you have been focusing on throughout your essay. Ensure that your conclusion emphasizes how every point in your essay aligns with your argument through the sources you have provided.

  • Bibliography

Once you finish your synthesis essay, you will need to add all the sources you used throughout the research process. Ensure you cite based on the stated requirements. It can be Chicago style, AP, MLA, or APA. This section takes about two pages at the end of your paper.

Pro tips for writing a synthesis essay

The synthesis essay prompts help to determine how easy and smooth your essay will be. So, ensure you select the best topic that will help you generate relevant content and get enough sources to support your ideas and arguments. Other significant tips include:

1. Write a synthesis essay outline

An outline is a rough draft of an essay that guides the writer in the right direction to follow. After evaluating different synthesis essay topics and settling on your ideal topic, make sure you create an outline with a clear structure and format of a synthesis essay.

2. Use credible sources

While there are many sources available, especially from online platforms, some aren’t accurate, and that is why it is significant to verify the sources you use to support your argument.

3. Read widely

A synthesis essay will require you to use different sources that will help you acknowledge your argument. This means that you cannot use any source without understanding all the concepts and ideas in them. So, ensure you read and comprehend every element in the sources you will use to ensure all the information in your essay is accurate.


Although some students find it tricky to compose a great synthesis essay, all they need are adequate resources and the right approach when writing the paper. With the above tips, you will realize how smooth it is to craft a synthesis essay.

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