Complete Guide on Diagnostic Essay

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Posted on:
January 20, 2024
Updated on:
February 28, 2024
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Complete Guide on Diagnostic Essay

When students are asked to write a diagnostic essay, it might sound scary. But it’s just a way for teachers to test what skills you already possess. It’s not like a regular essay; instead, it’s like a test that helps the teachers diagnose the skill set that college students have. Teachers usually do this at the beginning of the school year to understand what students already know about a subject.

Are you still confused about the diagnostic essay’s meaning? Stay tuned to learn about every minute detail involved in creating and organizing your diagnostic essay. Our team of qualified writers will not only assist you in understanding rules and requirements but will also provide you with some useful examples. If you need customized examples, ask someone to “write my essay for me.” 

What is a diagnostic essay?

Here is the simple diagnostic essay definition:

In many U.S. university courses, a diagnostic essay is when your teacher gives you a topic or question to write about in a short amount of time. It can be tough because you have to think and write quickly, and there’s usually no time for research due to tight deadlines. A professor can evaluate each student’s abilities and assess their degree of knowledge in a specific topic by using the diagnostic essay. 

What is the purpose of diagnostic essay?

The diagnostic essay serves as a tool for instructors to assess students’ abilities, writing styles, and levels of knowledge. It’s not necessary to demonstrate that you’ve read through specific books or conducted in-depth research. 

Think of a diagnostic essay like a quick creativity test that helps you find out what you’re good at and what you need to improve. Teachers read your essay to give you advice, tips on writing, and feedback on important mistakes—like grammar and formatting rules. These are important things to consider! Also, teachers plan future tasks based on the proficiency level of each subject.

Even if these tasks don’t usually get a grade, you still need to do them well. This shows your professors how good you are at preparing, writing essays, thinking logically, planning, and editing! Don’t forget to check for mistakes, too!

Diagnostic essay outline

Remember, you don’t have a lot of time. So, it’s important to make the essay structure first. Using this method will assist you in removing extra editing or rewriting difficulties. If not directed otherwise, the introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion should all be included in typical diagnostic writing.


Most students are unaware of how to start a diagnostic essay. Let us explain how to write an introduction for a diagnostic essay. 

When introducing the given topic or question, restate the prompt in your own words. Next, provide a brief summary of the three primary ideas (arguments) that the body paragraphs will present. The final sentence in an introduction is a thesis statement, which should be one sentence long and convey a compelling argument or call to action.

3 Body paragraphs

Keep in mind a rule: one idea should go in one paragraph! It’s a must! Share your main point and say how it connects to your main idea. If you have numbers, facts, or your own experiences to support what you’re saying, go ahead and add them.

Conclusion Paragraph for diagnostic essay

In the end, summarize each important point in a way that makes even the tricky stuff easy to understand. Don’t add any new ideas. Use different words to say your main point again so everyone gets it. In your concluding statement, discuss facts or a relevant problem in a way that motivates readers to take action or learn more about the essay’s topic.

  • Always remember to portray various ideas and arguments with as much detail as possible.
  • Stay away from generalizations and provide examples that will show the teaching staff that you are prepared for the assigned task and possess some analytical and strategic thinking abilities.
  • Always use short and clear sentences. It makes editing and proofreading easier. Plus, when there’s a word limit, it’s easy to go over if your sentences are too long!

How to write a diagnostic essay? A Step-by-Step Guide

Knowing how to write a diagnostic essay will become much easier as you discover more about the required format and a list of considerations. To show strong writing abilities, this type of writing needs to be accurate and organized. Academic experts use these types of projects to assess your proficiency in structure and analysis. Before you begin writing your diagnostic essay, keep the following information in mind:

Steps on how to write a diagnostic essay

Steps on how to write a diagnostic essay

Pick Your Topic

You can either answer a given diagnostic essay prompt or choose something that interests you. For instance, you might write about the difficulties students face with online learning or discuss issues related to racial prejudice. Make sure your topic asks a question or highlights a significant problem so you can examine and share your thoughts on it.

Create a Powerful Thesis Statement

A good thesis statement is like your main idea about the topic. Think about what you believe and want to say. Start with your thesis statement and think of reasons and arguments that back up your idea. Make sure to include the ‘because it…’ part to support your thesis.

Make a diagnostic essay outline

You can safely overlook this section if you are short on time, but it can still be helpful for maintaining a clear structure in your thoughts. It’s a useful technique to jot down ideas that come to mind so you won’t forget them when writing. A single concept per paragraph is required. Applying this rule will ensure that you never exceed the word limit or choose a topic that is too broad.

Write introduction

Start your diagnostic essay with a hook statement or catchy phrase that will keep your reader interested. Don’t forget to give a brief introduction to your topic along with an explanation of its importance to society. You should also provide your thesis statement in this paragraph. It needs to be related to the main idea of your argument. If not, it may sound inappropriate, which is not good!

Talking about each idea in body paragraphs

You need to have three paragraphs or more unless told otherwise. In these paragraphs, share real stories, examples, numbers, or any facts you think are important. Explain your opinion by providing proof. If you’re using information from somewhere else, always give credit to the original source.


Here’s where you need to summarize your ideas and thoughts. It is necessary to write your argument in a sentence that clarifies it even further or in different words. Don’t offer any novel concepts. Simply list all of the major facts as if they were bullet points. Your conclusion should make up no more than 10% of the entire word count, so stay away from repetitions and write briefly.

Proofreading and editing 

This section is crucial for avoiding both major and minor errors, so never overlook it. Read your essay aloud to yourself, and focus on altering it before moving on to proofreading (this step decides how excellent it sounds). Be careful to exercise critical thinking and double-check your work using your grading rubric or diagnostic essay prompt!

Fortunately, writing a diagnostic paper is not as hard as some other essays you might do in college. You don’t need to dig into a lot of research or put together information from different sources. You can add some extra info or stats if you want, but it’s not a must. What matters most is to feel excited about writing and make sure your grammar and structure are clear, interesting, and make sense. Before we get into cool diagnostic essay topics, remember you can always get papers on time at Do Write My Essay!

Diagnostic essay formats

How do I identify the diagnostic essay format? The three most common formats for your paper are Chicago, APA, and MLA. The text will vary depending on its stated purpose. For instance, Chicago style is widely used in academic writing that focuses on the source of an origin, and APA citations are more frequently used by college students. 

MLA APA Chicago
Interval Double-spaced Double-spaced Double-spaced
Font Times New Roman, 12 points Times New Roman, 12 points Times New Roman, 12 points
Margins 1-inch margins on top, bottom, left, and right 1 inch all round Use 1-inch margins from the right side
Running Head The last name and page number should be placed on each page of an essay A shortened version of your title in the upper-left corner and a page number in the upper right corner of each page Last name, page number in the title of each page and at the top right corner

Best diagnostic essay topics

Although many professors in the United States give specific topics for essays, some prefer to let students think and create on their own. You can pick a topic related to your course or choose something unique that showcases your skills and knowledge. Check out some diagnostic essay topics in different subjects to get ideas. Here are prompts for diagnostic essays in various popular fields.

Business Management

  • Why do many businesses use offshore solutions?
  • How can we stop gender bias at work?
  • Does being on social media help a business succeed, or does it invade a company’s privacy because of the digital trail?
  • Can a business be successful without good employees, but with a strong leader? What do you think?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing?

Society and computers

  • Is social media helping or hurting how people talk face-to-face?
  • Should the legal drinking age for young Americans be lower?
  • What are the downsides of online learning compared to traditional teaching?
  • Are disagreements about racial bias based on physical or mental factors?
  • What do you think social networking will be like in ten years?

Political Science

  • The United States being in Afghanistan hurts the country’s foreign policy.
  • Can we reach political agreements through mediation?
  • Does having clear information in the media make TV news fair?
  • Which political figure has influenced me the most?
  • Religious conflicts and political conflicts are different and shouldn’t be connected. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Culture and Education

  • Will e-books replace regular printed books?
  • How does social media affect how young people see their bodies?
  • Are online bloggers the same as journalists?
  • Can interactive content replace in-person teachers?
  • Should the United States have one education system, or is it okay to have different ways of teaching?

Helpful Tips for writing a diagnostic essay

Here are some helpful tips for writing a diagnostic essay:

Helpful Tips for writing a diagnostic essay

Helpful Tips for writing a diagnostic essay

  • You must understand the diagnostic essay prompt thoroughly.
  • Make an outline for your essay before writing.
  • Start your essay with a captivating introduction. It will help to grab the reader’s attention from the first line. 
  • Clearly state your thesis, then support each point with the help of strong evidence. Moreover, express your perspective confidently.
  • Maintain a logical flow between paragraphs.
  • Be mindful of word count limits.

Common mistakes to avoid in diagnostic essay

  • Do not use complex language that may confuse the readers.
  • Avoid adding unnecessary details that are not relevant to your topic
  • Do not exceed specified word counts or time limits.
  • Do not ignore the instructions provided by your professor. 
  • Don’t hesitate to express opinions or take a stance on the topic.

Diagnostic essay examples

To learn how to write a diagnostic essay, it’s important to create an outline before you start writing. Let’s take an example with a prompt related to social media and business management:

Prompt: “Why is social media considered potentially damaging to businesses?”


Start with an engaging hook sentence, provide a quick summary of the three body paragraphs, and present a strong thesis statement.

According to experts in network security, the impact of social media on businesses goes beyond just the information shared. This essay will explore the potential damages, including a lasting digital footprint, identity theft, and the risks associated with weak management. Controlling what is shared online is crucial for businesses to maintain ethical standards and safety policies.

Body Paragraphs:

Digital Footprint:

Topic Sentence: A digital footprint is the collection of information available online, which can be accessed through search queries or shared links.

Identity Theft:

Topic Sentence: Identity theft is a significant concern for businesses, making CEOs cautious about their online presence.

Content Management:

Topic Sentence: Weak management of online content or the absence of strict policies can be as damaging as identity theft or financial risks. This is because…


Summarize the main points discussed in the body paragraphs, restate the thesis, and end with a sentence that encourages the audience to take action.

In conclusion, social media’s potential damage to businesses lies in the mismanagement of content and the lack of strong security policies. I believe that online policies should be an integral part of corporate ethics to maintain a clear digital footprint. It is also a compelling reason for individuals to reconsider and review their online behavior and shared information.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How long should a diagnostic essay be?

The length of the diagnostic essay depends on your professor’s instructions. It will often consist of five paragraphs: an introduction with a thesis statement, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. However, your college instructor might ask for only three paragraphs, with your body paragraphs combined into a single piece of writing.

How to write a diagnostic essay about yourself?

For writing a self-diagnostic essay, you should start by understanding its prompt. After reading the prompt carefully, make a plan. Then, start by introducing yourself in an interesting way, and each part of the essay focuses on different things about you—like experiences and goals. Think about what you’re good at and where you can improve, and share some challenges you have faced. Then, end it by summarizing everything. Make sure to be honest and clear. After writing, check it for mistakes and make it better. It was a chance to express yourself and show your writing skills.

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Lara Ramos
I'm Lara Ramos, a seasoned Blog Author. I've found immense joy in guiding students through the complexities of their thesis and dissertations.

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