Diagnostic Essay Tips, Tricks, and Writing Guide

Last Updated: 28 January 2023

how to write a diagnostic essay

If your next assignment is to write a diagnostic essay but you do not know where to begin, our diagnostic essay tutorial will cut you the worry. We have put up pretty much every little detail you need to understand to write a diagnostic essay that easily scores you great marks. The good thing is that these are comprehensive insights provided by our top essay writers who have written many diagnostic essays in their lifetime with our company.

Essay writing is dreaded and loved at the same time yet it applies almost in all careers and general life. The art of essay writing has been under transition and has kept improving each other time. What makes it beautiful is that the writing rules keep changing, and essay writers will need to update themselves frequently.

We have brought you the current trends that have come up with essay writing. We will focus on how to write diagnostic essays that are very good at giving details about diagnosis. Some of the things that we will learn in our guide include the writing tricks, format, steps, and tips. After reading the guide, you should have known how to write convincing and detailed diagnostic essays.

What is a diagnostic essay?

A diagnostic essay is an essay that has less influence on the student's final grade. Its purpose is to help the tutor understand your strengths and weaknesses. As a result, the teachers shape your course regarding the achievement of the curriculum objective. At the beginning of the semester, the students and the teachers define the curriculum and then the diagnostic essays towards the end of the diagnosis.

The essential thing about the diagnostic essays is that the students are not expected to perform. Each student will have a chance to showcase their knowledge and the skills they have acquired. It is a diagnostic task and will take some specific time before it ends.

The diagnostic essay comes in 5 paragraph format that involves the introduction, the body, which may take 3 paragraphs, and the conclusion.  The teacher gives the students a similar topic and sometimes may give two or more other topics. The question usually has a prompt design that will make the students reason and write the content they have gathered all through the term.

Purpose of a diagnostic essay

The purpose of the diagnostic essay is to allow the tutor, professor, or lecturer to assess your knowledge, skills, and general creativity. In simple terms, a diagnostic essay helps your teachers to assess your aptitude.

It is the same way a nurse or doctor assesses your symptoms to diagnose a disease. But in the context of academia, the teacher uses the diagnostic essay to understand whether you have issues with sentence construction, reading comprehension, essay formatting, citation, plagiarism, mastery of subject, vocabulary, language, or grammar.

However, it has to align itself to the specific parts that the students have learned. After the choice of the essay topic comes, each student has to write according to the content they have. Therefore, it also evaluates the level of the students understanding with the ability to express themselves. The ability to use strategic thinking and real-life application exposes itself too when you write a diagnostic essay.

In most cases, diagnostic essays are used to assess your readiness to transfer to a new school, job, scholarship, or grant application, and as entrance or admission exams.

9 simple steps for writing a diagnosis essay

Essay writing is not something you will sit down and begin to write like a text message. It has a format and then the various steps that you need to follow when writing. Before writing the diagnostic essay, you have to go through the instructions to know the exact task and the rules you will need to follow. The steps that you will follow include the following.

Step 1- Read the Diagnostic Essay Prompt

Before writing an essay, assignment, or homework, reading the prompt is a given first of firsts. It is no different when you are assigned to write a diagnostic essay. Go through the prompt keenly to understand the topic, length, formatting style, and language to use in your diagnostic essay. If possible, read through the rubric as well.

Step 2 - Choose the title and topic

Some tutors may want their students to choose the titles that they desire. Usually, the lecturer chooses a topic, and then the students get their titles or have to come up with topics and titles they will write about. If students have a specific topic by the lecturer, they will get a title and then write about it.

The tutor usually comes up with a question that triggers the students thinking so that they get answers. In answering the question, they have to come up with the titles and topics that will better define the answer. Each title comes in a statement form such as 'challenges from covid-19 in the third world countries.

Step 3- Research the topic

After choosing a topic, research online to understand what other scholars say about the issues surrounding the topic. As you read, you will notice that you develop ideas, stance, and understand deep concepts about the topic. Do not fear reading about what people think from blogs, Wikipedia, or the news, these non-scholarly sources finally shape the direction of your essay. when researching, set aside some of the academic sources that you are sure can be used in your essay. This way, you save yourself the trouble or re-researching later. Taking notes as you do your research is a great way to track your thoughts and ideas later when writing the outline. And with the information, you can now decide what to write as your central idea.

Step 4 - Create the thesis statement

The next thing that the student has to do is to come up with the thesis statement. The statement must be a good idea right from the beginning of the essay. The thesis statement must have a direct relationship with the topic and the title. In other words, it should create a highlight of the problem that you want to get an answer for.

Step 5 - Develop an outline

When writing an essay, you are likely to have several ideas that you may lose as you write. You will need to write them in the manner you want the essay's flow to take. Your ideas and thoughts must have some clarity and should have a mnemonic way that helps you remember the whole concept. Each idea must cover an entire paragraph.

Step 6 - Do the introduction

The next thing after preparing the outline of the diagnostic essay is to come up with the introduction. A good introduction must be that which covers the need of having the answers to the topic and then the things that are likely to appear in the whole essay. The thesis statement is the first sentence of the introduction, and then the other parts follow.

You need to ensure that you have started the essay with a catchy introduction. Most people will prefer to start with questions or some facts that bring some attention to the reader. A catchy introduction will create the urge of the reader to go through the whole essay.

Step 7 - Write the body and the paragraphs

The primary task of the essay is to come up with the body, which needs to be in paragraph form. In the body, each point gets covered by the paragraph, and all the issues are captured. Facts and statistics are some of the things that you must include. The strongest argument should always be the first, and evidence from reliable sources must follow.

Step 8 - Do the conclusion

You now have to do the conclusion of the diagnostic essay. The conclusion needs to cover specific things such as the summary of the findings that must always have a restatement form. The conclusion needs to cover the aspects in the body and then the final verdict, which must always have a statement form.

Step 9 - Proofread and edit the essay

Finally, you have to proofread and do the necessary edits to the essay. While proofreading, you have to check on the errors, such as grammatical mistakes and facts. Once you achieve the essay's clarity, you will leave it at this point and let the tutor give the feedback.

Diagnostic essay Format

The outline of the diagnostic essay is not different from the other essays. If anything, it follows the five-paragraph essay format and is written in MLA, APA, or Harvard formats. Some of the things you need to look at are the format and the flowing of the points.  If there is no other guide, the diagnostic essay outline has three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion.

Some tutors will prefer to have a slightly different format depending on their needs. If there are no instructions, you will have the following parts as the outline.


This is the first part of the essay. The writer has to introduce the title and the whole essay in straightforward terms. You have to highlight the argumentative points that set the base of the essay. The last sentence of the essay is usually long and covers the whole major issue that the writer wants to address in the essay.

The body

The body carries the significant components of the essay, and a diagnostic essay will have three major points. The points that you highlight in each paragraph must be comprehensive and will cover the entire argument. Diversity of thoughts and personal experience are things that you need to ensure that you have done comprehensively.


The last part of the diagnostic essay is the conclusion. The conclusion covers the summary of the whole essay and the paragraphs that you have done. In conclusion, you don't include any new ideas as you will cover what is already existing in the essay. The last statement of the article must give a positive encouragement about the whole topic.

Diagnostic Essay Outline Example

Before finally submitting your diagnostic essay, some professors prefer to see your outline. Others might only need the essay but some will want both submitted alongside each other.

If asked to write a diagnostic essay outline, here is an example of a format you can follow when writing yours.

Introduction Paragraph

First Body Paragraph

Second Body Paragraph

Third Body Paragraph


Diagnostic essay topics

Essay topics come with a variation depending on the things that the students have covered in a term. The diagnostic topics should have a criterion that they meet for the students to meet their needs. They are everything that covers anything under any field of knowledge. A good diagnostic essay topic should be;

Tough and challenging - the students to reason and come up with argumentative solid points. Analytical thinking and writing skills are things that the students should do in all diagnostic essays.

Cover a limited scope- the coverage of the topic must have some limited scope. This means that the title must be specific and narrow. The students' reasoning must, in this case, be in-depth and cover the areas that have not been covered. The coverage can be specific in that it covers a specific part of art or even music.

Topic ideas that diagnostic ideas can cover

Diagnostic ideas cover several specific subjects that further divide according to the tutor's needs.

Although many universities in the United States, Australia, and some in Canada offer diagnostic essay prompts, some allow you the freedom to think and choose a befitting topic for your diagnostic essay.

If and when this happens, ensure that you select a topic that you are comfortable handling. Also, make sure that the topic of choice is relevant to your course content. Still, ensure that it’s a topic that you can use to show how skilled a writer you are.

Below are some of the diagnostic essay topics that cover specific subjects and topics, you could use them to spark your creativity.

English and literature

English and literature are some of the areas that the tutors love covering. Some of the topics that arise from the subject include;

Topic in history

History has the most exciting aspects that bring about diagnostic essays. The beauty of the history topic is that they cover the past happenings and will reference past events. Some of the questions that you can get in the essay questions include;

We have done history and English as the specific topics. We have general topics that have more comprehensive coverage and scope. These cover the general subjects that cover life aspects and other areas. Some of the general topics you can get include;

FAQs about Diagnostic essays

What do you need to know about diagnostic essays?

Diagnostic essays are assignments that come from tutors intending to assess the progress of the learner. Part of the things that the lecturer assesses is understanding the topic and other things such as facts and grammar. It checks on the strengths of weaknesses of the student.

What are the common mistakes that people make when writing essays?

One of the biggest mistakes the essay writers make is to write essays that look like articles. They write subheadings and the lead terms which do not apply. They end up missing the format.

Poor research is another problem that essay writers make. They do shallow research, which results in points that are not adequately cooked. Facts and errors become spoilers in the essays.

Missing the basics is another grave mistake. Some of the basics you need to be clear about in essay writing is the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Most essay writers will write something on the introduction and then repeat it all through the essay. Some come up with new ideas in conclusion.

What are the features of the best diagnostic essays possess?

An excellent diagnostic essay must be comprehensive. It must cover the aspects that come along with the topic. Moreover, it should also get the facts and the figures. Finally, the format must be clear and covering the proper aspects of the topic.

Wrapping up

Diagnostic essays are effective because they focus on the areas that cover the needs of the students in terms of weaknesses and strengths. They have rules that guide the outline and the proper writing. Coverage of specific topics is one thing that diagnostic essays focus on. Our article has covered the things that will make writers do the best diagnostic essays.