Good Ending Essays

2.3: Conclusions

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 22, 2013 .

Summary:

This resource covers writing a detailed conclusion for your GED essay.

Writing a Developed and Detailed Conclusion

It is important to have a strong conclusion, since this is the last chance you have to make an impression on your reader. The goal of your conclusion isn’t to introduce any new ideas, but to sum up everything you’ve written. Specifically, your conclusion should accomplish three major goals:

  • Restate the main idea of your essay, or your thesis statement
  • Summarize the three subpoints of your essay
  • Leave the reader with an interesting final impression

The paragraph below is an example conclusion. As you read, think about what each sentence accomplishes within the paragraph. What sentence(s) restates the essay’s thesis statement? What sentence(s) summarizes the essay’s three subpoints? What sentence(s) leaves the reader with an interesting final impression?

Getting a better job is a goal that I would really like to accomplish in the next few years. Finishing school will take me a long way to meeting this goal. To meet my goal, I will also prepare my résumé and search for jobs. My goal may not be an easy one to achieve, but things that are worth doing are often not easy.



Notice that the first sentence restates the thesis. The second and third sentences summarize the essay’s subpoints. Finally, the fourth sentence leaves the reader with an interesting final impression.

No new information is presented in this paragraph. Instead, the writer sums up what has been written so far and leaves the reader with a last thought. While the content of the paragraph is very similar to the introduction, the paragraph itself is not exactly the same. This is important. Even though the goal of the conclusion is to restate a lot of the information from the introduction, it should sound different because the conclusion’s purpose is slightly different from the introduction.

Practice writing a conclusion using the sample essay topic and the thesis statement. Remember to support the points you have gathered. Remember to restate your thesis, summarize your subpoints, and leave the reader with an interesting final impression.

For more information development and details, please visit these Purdue OWL resources:

To practice responding to a writing prompt, please use the CWEST GED Essay Game.

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Step Two: In your conclusion paragraph, try one or more of the following techniques:

Technique #1: Explore the consequences.

  • Address the negative consequences by asking: What happens if we don’t learn the lesson of the thesis? What has been (or what will be) the negative impact?

  • Address the positive consequences by asking: What can we do learn from the thesis, and what positive benefit will be gained if we do employ it?

Technique #2: Raise a counter-argument, then debunk it.

Bring up a point someone might make against your college essay. Then say why that person is wrong.

  • Tip #1: Make sure you’re using a counter-argument that you can debunk!

  • Tip #2: Be careful not to contradict or disprove your original thesis.

Technique #3: Provide a Call to Action.

Ask: What must we do as a result of this thesis/lesson?

Technique #4: Raise an Unexpected Value

Ask: What else may we learn or gain a result of this thesis/lesson? 

Tip: this one works well within a "Not only... but also..." construct.

Sounding kinda’ vague? Keep reading.

Remember the key is to:

  1. Clarify the thesis.

  2. Answer “So what?”

Here's an example thesis and some possible directions for the conclusion:

  • Thesis: Children should be taught the value of other cultures and religions from a very young age.

  • Negative Consequences: What might happen if children aren’t taught the value of other cultures and religions?

  • Positive Consequences: What might happen if they are?

  • Counter-argument—debunked: What might someone argue as a barrier/potential downside to teaching children about the importance of other cultures’ values and religions? (Example counter-arguments: Children might lose sight of their own values/religions (or) they may be uncomfortable at first… both are easy to debunk.)

  • Call to Action: If we believe children should be taught about other cultures and religions from a young age, what must we do? Either individually or as a society?

  • Unexpected Value: What else might we (as Americans, as humans) gain from this?

For an example of how a really awesome writer did this in Time magazine, read Jeffrey Sachs’s one-page article Class System of Catastrophe.

Take note of the:

  • Thesis

  • Supporting evidence/examples

  • Consequences

  • Counter-argument debunked

  • Call to Action

  • Unexpected value

Check out my annotated version of this article here.

To re-cap: first clarify your thesis. Then ask:

  1. What are the positive/negative consequences of this?
  2. What's a counter-argument I can debunk?
  3. What's a call to action--what must we do as a result?
  4. What's an unexpected value--something else we'll gain if we learn or employ the lesson of the thesis?

Got it? Email me with questions.

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