How to Write a Synthesis Essay: A Beginner’s Guide


Essay writing is a skill that students are taught in high school and colleges. Learning to write different types of essays, among other academic activities, can be challenging for students. While some types of essays are easier to write, others are not. For instance, the majority of students keep searching for the answer for how-to-write-a-synthesis-essay until the very end of their term. A synthesis essay is one of the most confusing tasks for many students because it is hard to understand what it is about from its name. So, when they are unable to guess what this essay is about, starting to write it is out of the question.

In this article, we have explained everything a beginner needs to know about a synthesis essay and how to write it.

What is a synthesis essay?

The word synthesis means combining separate elements to make a coherent whole. In other words, when separate pieces are put together to form a single whole, it means they are synthesized. So, in a synthesis essay, also known as a multiple-source essay, students gather information about a particular topic from multiple sources and piece it together. They use this information to formulate a unique argument, revealing their position on the topic.

While writing a synthesis essay may seem simple from its definition, in reality, it is not that simple. Students face a real challenge while writing a synthesis essay because they are not required to summarize the themes from the sources. Instead, students should describe how each source is related to the other in terms of information. Moreover, based on the information obtained from the sources, they should deliver their own unique point of view about the essay topic.

Synthesis essays are of different types, but the most commonly written types are as follows:

  • Background Synthesis
  • Thesis-Driven Synthesis
  • Literature Review

How to Organize a Synthesis Essay

The organization of a synthesis essay may vary, depending on its type. Generally, the synthesis essays written at the early stages of research do not require a perfectly crafted thesis statement. However, all synthetic essays must follow certain guidelines to ensure a uniform structure.

Some standard points to keep in mind while writing a synthetic essay are as follows:

  1. Start with an introductory paragraph.
  2. Divide the essay body paragraphs according to themes.
  3. Utilize words and phrases to signify a connection between multiple pieces of information.
  4. End with a conclusive paragraph.

Synthesis Essay Outline

Before getting into the answer of how-to-write-a-synthesis-essay, students must learn how to write a synthesis essay outline. An outline is like the backbone of any good essay, especially a synthesis essay. It serves as a guideline for writing the actual essay without wasting time and missing any important aspects.

An essay outline does not have to be perfectly flawless and well-executed, but it should be loosely touching each aspect you want to include in the essay. Moreover, it can be a rough outline that should be for the student’s help and not part of the actual essay.

Although synthesis essay outlines vary for each student, depending on their topic, they generally follow a standard pattern. It should include the following aspects:

  • Introduction – 1 paragraph
  • Essay Body – 3-4 paragraphs
  • Conclusion – 1 paragraph

How-to-Write-a-Synthesis-Essay: Structure and Format

While having substantial material and content for the essay is essential, presenting the essential information in a well-structured manner is even more crucial. A well-researched synthesis essay is nothing if it is not well-structured, too. So, before starting to write the essay, make sure you know how to structure your information.

The following tips should be followed in order to format a synthesis essay the correct way:

  • Stick to the basic five-to-six paragraph rule for the main essay body.
  • Correctly cite all the information taken from a foreign source.
  • Use transition words between sentences and paragraphs, where necessary.
  • Move from one idea to another in different paragraphs to keep a smooth flow of the essay.

Synthesis Essay Introduction

An impressive essay introduction goes a long way. If a student can grasp the teacher’s attention within the first few sentences of the essay, he’s likely to score better than others. Some traditional openers for synthesis essays are as follows:

  • Start with presenting a not-so-well-known fact about the topic of the essay.
  • Begin the essay with a famous quote from a well-known personality that is relevant to the essay topic.
  • Some synthesis essays also start with a pressing question.

So, make sure you leave an impression on the reader as soon as they read the first sentence.

Conclusion for a Synthesis Essay

Besides the introduction, the conclusion is the hardest part of the essay, because these two really leave an impact on the reader. Most students find it easier to write the introduction and main body of the essay, but they cannot nail the ending in most cases. Moreover, by the end of the essay, they become tired and want to wrap it up as soon as possible.

In order to score good marks and leave a lasting impression on the teacher, students must ensure a comprehensive conclusion. They should follow these tips to write an impressive concluding paragraph in a synthesis essay:

  • Restate the thesis statement.
  • Summarize all the main points discussed in the essay in two to three lines.
  • Write a powerful last sentence to leave an impression.
  • Making an outline before writing the essay also helps when penning the main points in the conclusion.

Start Writing a Synthesis Essay

Now that we have shared every essential aspect of how-to-write-a-synthesis-essay, it’s time to start writing your essay. If you follow these tips along with the essay writing pattern/style guidelines provided by your instructor, you can easily write a winning synthesis essay. Moreover, these tips can also help lower the difficulty level of the write-up, since a synthesis essay can become a little difficult to follow. So, follow these tips and craft the best synthesis essay there ever was.

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