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How to Write a Diagnostic Essay

Words as “diagnostic essay” often scare students when they get a task to write such texts. The reason is simple: they don’t know what exactly there is to diagnose or (and) how to do that. Professional writers say the premiere difference you should understand is that a diagnostic essay doesn’t work as a regular research paper. The goal of this task is to check, diagnose, test a bunch of skills that college students should have.


Write a diagnostic essay


A diagnostic essay, which professors usually assign during the first weeks of the academic year, is a helpful instrument that serves teachers. It helps them estimate the knowledge that a student or a group of them has.

Just like any other task, a diagnostic essay has particular features and points to keep up with. The guide below reviews them and gives specific tips for students on how to write a diagnostic essay.

Definition and Goals of a Diagnostic Essay

Most of US universities usually might define it as a task presenting the topic already studied. On the other hand, it may also pose a prompt for students to write answers. Mostly, the task is limited with tight time frames, and strict enough deadlines, not leaving much space to maneuver or think. These features make a diagnostic essay a challenging task. Keep in mind that no research should appear due to the same reasons of tight time frames.

As we mentioned already, the goal of such tasks is to assist your teachers. They need to estimate the writing styles, skills, and knowledge levels of every student. That text shouldn't display the fact that you studied certain books or conducted some thorough research.

We can compare a diagnostic essay to a creativity test with time limits because of its function and ability to reveal your weak and strong sides. After you finish the text, college or university professors analyze it. Based on the gained information, they can give you tips on writing, recommendations on weak spots of your knowledge, or crucial mistakes in it. Besides, teachers make plans for their job and your future tasks taking the relevant skill level of students into account.

Despite the fact that they usually do not put grades for diagnostic essays, you should write it as well as you can. Otherwise, the professor won't be able to estimate your level of skills in preparation, writing, thinking, editing, and analysis correctly. Proofreading skill is another point you should use.

Write a Diagnostic Essay Correctly: Format and Structure

Remember that your deadline is limited, so it is good to have the right diagnostic essay structure in your mind at once. It is a time-saving approach: you won’t spend valuable minutes on unnecessary rewriting or editing. The standard text of that kind has a typical structure, including the intro, three paragraphs of the main body, and a summary section (aka conclusion paragraph).


To write an introduction to the topic or question that is discussed, it is usually enough to rephrase the prompt. Add some brief notes about three arguments you plan to reveal in the main body. The final intro sentence should be a thesis statement. It is one sentence containing a call to action or a solid argument.


There is a rule among writers: one idea means one paragraph of the main body. It is a restriction when you write a diagnostic essay. You state your argument and then connect it to your thesis with proofs. In case certain statistics, personal experience, or authority data is available to use it, include them here to support your words.


The conclusion is about summarizing each of the main paragraphs' points more simply. Try to conclude each point making it easy to understand even the most complicated aspects. 

A conclusion paragraph is not a place for new ideas! The paraphrasing of the thesis statement is enough. In the last sentence, mention facts or question issues encouraging positive actions or further topic research.


Diagnostic essay write


Diagnostic Essay Topic: 5 Worthy Ideas

Usually, teachers give some writing prompts on diagnostic essays. Nevertheless, some of them still like the “freedom of choice” policy and let students be creative and analyze things they want. Choosing any topic fitting the contents of your current studying course is enough. Still, you can try to work with an original point showing the best of your knowledge and writing skills.

Check some topics to boost your brainstorming process.

  1. Does social media improve or downgrade real-life interpersonal communication?
  2. How does college life affect students’ sleep patterns?
  3. Social media and business: does online presence boost success or violate privacy?
  4. U.S. Army in Afghan war: the military presence damages the international image of the country.
  5. Is interactive online content able to replace real teachers? 

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