A strong opening is always an opportunity to cause a lasting impression in readers; and this is something that good writes are aware of. This statement may not seem relevant if it was not for the fact that in this case we are the writers, and the Board of Examiners are the readers.

There is plenty of research on how a strong opening is decisive in a quality writing. In guise of a first approach, our introduction should hook the readers and leave a sense of “I want to continue reading”. This requires gathering our wits to come up with accomplishes the main purposes in an introduction: introducing the topic, giving a general background and indicating the overall structure and content in the essay… and all that in an appealing linguistic style.

Broadly speaking, an introduction can be approached by presenting general statements (to introduce the topic and give the background); and a thesis statement (to show the structure we shall follow along the essay, whether it’s a topic or a practical case study).

General statements as illustrative quotations of relevant authors in the matter are always a useful resource to start our writing, as long as they, for some reason, are in clear connection with the topic under consideration, or summarise the main ideas we want to transmit (i.e. an educational approach to develop a formative unit). Another possibility, just like in an oral speech, is to slip in a rhetorical question whose effect should be powerful enough as to encourage the reader see with other eyes the rest of our work. In this, we have to be very careful; for instance, an obvious question does not create any positive expectation. On the contrary, the subtle message we would be transmitting may be that of poor linguistic compelling abilities.

On the other hand, thesis statements are meant to provide clear and synthesised information about the content of the essay, in order to facilitate understanding and stress those aspects we want the examiners to pay more attention. Thesis statements are more effective at the end of the introduction, since they directly connect with the content developed in the body of the essay.

Introductions and conclusions are probably the most difficult part in any paper to write. In fact, these structural writing elements must transport the readers to the place of our analysis. How important is it to bother thinking of a strong opening? Well, there is never a second chance to make a first impression.

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