How to write a Diagnostic Essay

How to write a Diagnostic Essay

Majority of students when asked to write a diagnostic essay, it tend to be quite challenging since they probably don’t know where to start. Writing a diagnosis about an essay is not an essay task. This article elaborates on what it is, how to write it, and its examples. 

 What is a diagnostic essay? A diagnostic essay is writing used to gauge students’ writing skills and styles about a specific topic or subject. It evaluates their talent in writing. It is mainly used in educational, personal, and professional incidences. This type of essay is more of creativity test to a student since limited time is allocated to diagnose specific topics.

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 By writing this type of essay, they help your teacher/ tutor to know your ability in writing and assess if you need any assistance to improve your writing and communication skills. This is by checking if you have problems with comprehension, constructing sentences, vocabulary, and grammar.

A diagnostic essay is used as a formal way of helping students acquire academic assistance. This type of assistance ranges from financial support to get a private tutor and any other support materials that might be required.

Uses of diagnostic essay

The following are some of the uses of a diagnostic essay.

  1. To evaluate your mastery of english language
  2. To evaluate your linguistics
  3. Help in determining knowledge you have on several subjects. E.g. history, philosophy
  4. Helps your tutor to know where to place you in relation to the knowledge you have
  5. Helps in evaluating students’ advancements in learning English as an auxiliary language
  6. Help determine whether there is a need to transfer the student to a different school
  7. Helps in knowing the requirements needed in the new the admission requirements
  8. When learning how to write a diagnostic essay, there are factors you put into consideration. These include;
  • Avoid panic in your writing. Choose an appropriate method that will favor your writing skills despite having a limited time
  • Ensure you understand the questions clearly. This will enable you to write as per the requirements. Wrong answering of the questions presented will portray negligence, thus affecting your writing skills. Allocate yourself enough time to get the objective of your essay before your actual writing.
  • Do not be hasty. Plan your work before writing. You can achieve this by putting down all ideas you want to write in your diagnostic essay. This will enhance your writing skills by helping you avoid getting mix up when forming your thesis.

Diagnostic Essay Format

A well-structured format is crucial when writing a diagnostic essay. Your tutor may provide you with a format on how he/she want the essay to be presented in regards to the number of words, pages, etc.

However, your formatting style can vary from the types of essay you intend to write. When narrating about an instance, you have more freedom in your writing than when writing similarities and differences of a subject.

Just like any other type of essay writing, a diagnostic essay is not exceptional. It has three body parts that constitute; introduction, body (3 paragraphs), and a conclusion.


When writing your introduction, always ensure that you start with a strong statement. It is in your introduction that you capture the attention of your readers. A good introductory paragraph portrays what to expect in the rest of your essay, so make a good choice of words.

Ensure you bring out the main objective of your diagnostic essay here. Let the conclusion of your introductory paragraph be a thesis statement. This will bring out a clear picture of what will be discussed in the body.


A diagnostic essay has 3 body paragraphs. Ensure each paragraph consists of one main idea. Provide supportive information to ideas presented and explain how they relate to your thesis. You can do this by quoting/referencing or paraphrasing ideas or texts from reliable sources.

Know the differences between primary and secondary sources. For instance, primary sources refer to the work you are writing at that particular moment.

Ensure every quote you include in your diagnostic essay, you explain reasons or purposes why you used it. This will make your essay legible to your reader. Use the correct formatting style during your referencing e.g. MLA, APA, or Chicago.


Your conclusion should be the summary of the main points laid in each paragraph or rather the whole context of your essay. Write your conclusion in a simpler manner. This will help your reader understand the complex ideas you may have written in your essay. Avoid introducing new ideas in your conclusion that was not previously stated in your thesis.

Always avoid rewriting your introduction in the conclusion part. The use of different and simpler words when writing your conclusion will enhance your readers understand your essay better. The main objective of a conclusion is to show your reader that the topic has been covered fully.

Be specific when presenting your ideas. Avoid hypothesizing your work so that your tutor can gauge your seriousness for the task given. A good conclusion will bring out your analysis skills. Write short but logical sentences in your conclusion.

How to write a diagnostic essay

At the beginning of a course, the teacher or tutor may request students to write a diagnostic essay. This is to determine their ability of writing and weigh the strength and weaknesses. Through this, the tutor will know the kind of assistance required.

When writing a diagnostic, you are required to show your knowledge in writing by being creative and logical. Diagnostic essays are usually time-limited so prior planning of your time is important to enhance productivity.

Some examples of diagnostic essays are; the importance of education, causes of global warming, etc. Here are some essay guidelines a student should adhere to, to present a good diagnostic essay.

  1. Select your Topic

Start by selecting a topic for your essay. If you have to choose a topic, select one that you are conversant with so that you can have more to write about.  Your tutor might also be the one to give you a topic to write about. Diagnostic essay topics can also be presented in question form. Students are required to answer these questions in form of an essay.

  1. Formulate your thesis statement

It is quite challenging to most students when told to form a thesis statement despite having written it throughout their course. When writing a diagnostic essay, the sooner you create your thesis statement the better since you got limited time to think during your actual writing. This will also enable you to work out your essay easily.

In case you are not sure of what to write, you can start by writing a rough copy of your argument. This argument will be revised later after you complete writing the body of your essay.

  1. Write your outline

Having a well-laid outline will enable you to organize and compose your mind despite having less time to write your essay/thesis. Write a list of your ideas and thoughts to avoid forgetting. Continue by writing your essay once you are through with your outline.

  1. Write your introduction

Write a strong and catchy introduction. This is because it is in the introduction that your readers get the impression and learn about the contents of your article. Ensure you start it with a hook. This will give your readers the urge to continue reading your essay.

Your hook sentence should be relative to the diagnostic essay topic you are writing about. Include your thesis statement in your first paragraph of your introduction. This will bring out the main objective of writing your diagnostic essay.

  1. Compose the body of your essay

When writing the body of your essay, outline your ideas and thoughts on the topic your essay is based on. Support your ideas with facts or provide rational arguments that are valid from reliable sources. Avoid hypothesis.

Always start your body paragraph with the most important points to the least. Ensure the main ideas are laid in each paragraph to give your readers the meaning of that paragraph. Use transition sentences to allow easy flow of ideas from one subject to another.

  1. Write your conclusion

Ensure your conclusion consists of a summary of all ideas raised in your essay. These include facts, researches done, and your opinion about the subject matter. It is also in your conclusion that you provide solutions to problems you might have encountered during your writing.

Avoid rewriting your introduction. Instead, paraphrase your arguments not forgetting to mention the major points of your diagnostic essay. When writing your conclusion, avoid introducing new ideas that were not previously mentioned in your thesis. Summarize in a short but logical manner.

  1. Re-read, Revise and Edit your essay

Despite having limited time to write your diagnostic essay, allocate time to proofread your work. Go through your essay making necessary corrections. Check any grammatical errors, punctuations and edit them. You can also read your essay loudly, listening to yourself, and make amendments.

Editing diagnostic essay

Writing a diagnostic paper is not as complex as it may appear to beginner students because it does not call for research. This is because students present their own ideas on the topic they are writing about. Presenting facts or providing research data during presentation of a diagnostic essay is optional. Your teacher will not use this type of essay to grade your performance though a good presentation will not hurt.

Note that, the format of your essay will depend on the diagnostic essay topic given and instructions provided by your tutor. During presentation of diagnostic essay ideas, ensure you start with the most crucial ones to the least.

Diagnostic essay prompts

What is a diagnostic essay prompt? This is a directive or an order, or signal shown to somebody to help in understanding the message conveyed better. A student sometimes relies on diagnostic essay prompts when writing. These prompts help them to remember the most important points during their actual writing.

A prompt is usually short, consisting of a few sentences i.e. 1-3. Teachers are obliged to provide prompts to students as part of their assignments.

There are various types of prompts which include, visual prompts, full verbal prompts, partial and full physical prompts, positional prompts, etc. Prompts are faultless ways of teaching.

When prompts are used in teaching, they help in encouraging students to make progress in their writing. Due to the wide variety of prompts, learners pick the most accommodative prompt to increase their learning abilities and writing skills.

Though using prompts is helpful to the learner during the writing process, overuse can make a student be prompt-dependent. This is why students are discouraged from over-relying on prompts to increase their independence in writing.

A tutor uses prompts to students in three instances. They include; when a student is almost to respond wrongly when he/she responds wrongly or does not give any response at all.

It is important that a tutor corrects students with prompts whenever they make mistakes as a way of helping them.

For students to be reliant on themselves, make them repeat the task but use fewer prompts until it becomes unnecessary. Using mechanical prompts has proven to be practicable especially to students who are autistic. This is because they easily fade off than human prompts.

Diagnostic test

What is a diagnostic test? This is a test used to identify weaknesses, strengths, or skills a student might be having. This test is performed before a teacher gives instructions or offers help to the learner.

By writing diagnostic tests, the tutor will be able to point out talents, skills, and needs of students in the school. These tests can also help the teacher to know if there is any progress with the learners. In addition, diagnostic tests help to develop computable goals and encourage independent marking.

A student can be asked by his/her tutor to write an essay about any topic and given instructions on how to present it. For instance, one can be asked to write a college diagnostic essay or even required to write an essay about him/herself. Let us begin.

College diagnostic essay

A college diagnostic essay is different from essays written by high school students. This is because it does not have an introduction like other essays that must include thesis a statement. When writing a college diagnostic essay, let your first paragraph capture your audience. This will make them want to read more.

You can start with a strong statement or even by asking questions. Using interesting quotes can also be a good way of presenting your essay. A good student will also tend to challenge his/her readers. He/she can do this by asking or talking directly to them while maintaining eye contact. Stating what he/she doesn’t want to include in his/her writing can also be another tactic to use.

In college essays, students should be factual while writing thus making the essay interesting. This will make your audience know that the author is real and not a robot. Present your essay in a manner that your readers will be attracted to you by making it impressive.

Give your essay a different approach by dealing with issues differently from other people. Ensure everything you include in your essay is rational and understandable. At the end of your diagnostic essay, make the summary memorable or write something catchy that will leave your audience emotional.

Step by step guide on how to write diagnostic essay about yourself

When asked how to write a diagnostic essay about yourself, it might look challenging despite knowing yourself better. These types of questions are common in colleges or when applying for study scholarships.

Some of the commonly asked questions are; describing oneself and challenges you might have overcome to be the person you are today, outlining your goals and ways to achieve them etc. In case of a scholarship, you will be required to put all your details to the light to prove to the scholarship provider the reasons why you deserve it.

Your essay should be appealing. Here are some of the tips on how to write a diagnostic essay about yourself.

  1. List your questions down. Write down questions that relate to the type of essay prompts presented but write in short form. Having this list will help you in answering questions given to you easily since you will have details in advance.
  2. Analyze and outline. Analyze your answers accordingly. Organize your work to enhance good flow and avoid getting off-topic.
  3. Be confident. During your writing being confident is crucial so that you can deliver the best essay. Be honest and don’t be scared to portray your weaknesses and strengths. It is through this that the admission committee will be able to evaluate you.
  4. Offer examples with yourself. Since this essay is about yourself, let each example be about you. This will make your essay stand out amongst the many applicants applying for the same scholarship.
  5. Write your essay in active voice. When writing a diagnostic essay about yourself, use “I” and “Me” since your essay is a narrative of yourself. In case you are offering examples from experiences learned elsewhere, paraphrase them into active voice.
  6. Brag around but stick to your Topic. When analyzing your answers, brag but ensure you don’t go off-topic. Present all your achievements and strengths but in an informative manner. Ensure your facts are impressive.
  7. Display your personality. Ensure your personality is well portrayed in your diagnostic essay. It is in writing this that you can outshine majority of applicants. Let your essay express your feeling and emotions when need is and do not shy off to write this. This will increase your chances since the admission committee will know the kind of student you are.
  8. Identify your target audience. Knowing who your essay is targeting will help in determining content and choice of words. It will also help in knowing the objectives of your essay and if any references are required.
  9. Revise and edit your work. Double-check your work and make corrections before submission. Check for any grammatical errors, typos, and punctuations. Read your essay loudly and listen to your voice to determine whether your sentences are sensible. Listen whether your essay is flowing in the right order.


This article explains more on diagnostic essay, to begin with, it states that a diagnostic essay is an article written to evaluate the writing skills and styles of a student given a topic to write about. It also evaluates the talents a student could be having. Diagnostic essays are common in educational, personal, and professional events.

When you write this type of essay, the tutor will be able to assess if there is any assistance required to help improve your writing and communication skills. In addition, the ability of a student to construct sentences and to comprehend is assessed also through writing.

This is why tutors use diagnostic essays as a formal way of assisting students academically. Just like any other essay, diagnostic essay also consists of three body parts. These are Introduction, Body (3 body paragraphs), and Conclusion.

In addition, you might opt to use diagnostic essay prompts which are usually provided by the tutor. These prompts refer to directives or signs given to help in understanding messages relayed better.

They also help to remember the crucial points when writing. They are short, and teachers can opt to provide prompts as part of an assignment to be presented as an essay. Writing of diagnostic tests can also help teachers to evaluate learners’ weaknesses and strengths in writing.

In case of any problem when writing your diagnostic essay, assistance, or clarifications on this article, seek help by creating an order. Get started by clicking here.

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