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How to Write a Diagnostic Essay: 25 Topic Ideas and Outline Examples

When students are asked to write diagnostic essay, they are instantly frightened by the name as they wonder about how or what exactly the diagnostic essay definition is. Often, they want to scream "someone, please, help me to write my essay!". In reality, diagnostic essay is not really functioning as a typical one. It aims to test or diagnose a set of skills that college students are supposed to have. Usually given at the beginning of academic year by college professors, it helps teaching staff to evaluate existing knowledge of a particular student or course audience. As with every assignment, there are specific rules and things to check, which we are going to review in our special diagnostic essay guide. Remember that EduBirdie experts provide professional help writing essay of any type and complexity. Let us look through our guide! Trust us, there is no reason to panic!

What is a Diagnostic Essay?

For majority of university courses in the United States, diagnostic essay may be defined as tasks that already present a known topic assigned or pose a prompt that should be replied to in an essay form. In most cases, your time is limited, therefore, with strict deadlines and not much space left for thinking, diagnostic essays can easily become challenging! Note that there is no need to do any researching per se because of time restrictions and strict deadlines.

A purpose of diagnostic essay is to help professors evaluate skills, writing style, and define level of knowledge related to each student. It does not have to show that you have read through particular books or did an in-depth research. Assisting in discovering of strengths and weaknesses, diagnostic essay may be compared to a time limited creativity test. Once a paper is completed, college and university professors analyze it to offer their further recommendations, writing tips and comments on critical flaws. From grammar to formatting rules, these things are truly important to consider!  Moreover, teachers also plan their own work and assignments according to the level of skills presented by each student.

Even though such assignments are almost never graded, they still have to be completed in such way that allows professors see student's ability to work on preparation, essay creation, logic, strategic thinking, and editing! Remember that good proofreading skills should be there as well!

Diagnostic Essay

Diagnostic Essay Format and Structure

Do not forget that your time isn’t endless, so it is crucial to mind correct structure first! Such an approach will help you to eliminate additional editing or rewriting challenges. Unless instructed otherwise, general diagnostic writing should include Introduction, 3 Body Paragraphs, and Conclusion part.

  • Introduction

Repeat the prompt in your own words to introduce assigned topic or question. Then briefly tell of three main points (arguments) that will be introduced in body paragraphs. Last sentence in an Introduction is a thesis statement, which should be one sentence long, presenting a strong argument or a call to action.

  • 3 Body Paragraphs

Remember an old rule that says "1 idea - one body paragraph!". It is obligatory here! Make an argument and explain how it relates to your thesis. If any statistics, data or personal experience can be used to support diverse claims being made, feel free to include them here.

  • Conclusion part

Summarizing each main point of paragraphs in such way that makes even most complex information clearer. Do not introduce any new ideas in conclusion paragraph. Rephrase thesis statement in different words so that it brings no doubts among target audience. For your final sentence, speak of facts or an issue in question in such way that it encourages to act positively or research given essay topic more.

  • Remember to be as specific as you can when representing diverse ideas and arguments.
  • Avoid general sentences and offer examples that help teaching staff see that you are ready for assigned task and show some strategic thinking and analysis skills.
  • Always try to put down in short and logically-correct sentences because it makes it easier for further editing and proofreading. Moreover, with strict word count, things can easily go beyond what is allowed!

Read also: Writing a Reflective Essay: Top Secrets for Perfect Paper Composing

How to Write Diagnostic Essay Step-by-Step Guide

Knowing how to write a diagnostic essay will instantly become much easier as soon as you learn more about the required structure and a list of things to consider. This kind of writing must be precise and well-structured to show good writing skills. Such assignments are used by academic specialists to determine how well you can cope with structure and analysis. Here is what you have to know as you start writing your diagnostic essay:

  • Choose Your Topic. Here, you have to either respond to an already provided prompt or choose something that inspires you. For example, you may consider writing about the challenges students have faced while studying remotely or talk about the problems of racial prejudice in society. The topic choice should ask a question or pose an important problem so you can “diagnose” the subject and share some of your thoughts.
  • Come Up With A Strong Thesis Statement. A good thesis statement means you should consider some idea that reflects your attitude regarding your chosen topic. A thesis statement is a key point or an explanation of your take on things. It is recommended to start with your thesis statement first. Consider the list of reasons and arguments that would support your thoughts. It must have the "because it..." part that supports your thesis.
  • Create An Outline. Of course, if your time is limited, you can safely ignore this part, yet it can help you to keep things organized and your thoughts structured. It is a good way to write down those ideas that seem important so you do not forget them as you write. It must be one idea per paragraph. By keeping to this rule, you won't ever go beyond your word count or make your chosen topic too broad.
  • Think About Introduction. You must start your diagnostic essay with a hook sentence or a catchy phrase that will keep your readers inspired. Remember to introduce your subject and explain what it means or why it is relevant for society. This is also a paragraph where you should provide your thesis statement. It must be connected to your thesis statement. Otherwise, it may sound out of place, which is not a good thing!
  • Topic Sentences In Your Body Paragraphs. You should include at least three body paragraphs unless specified differently. This is where you include real-life stories, examples, statistics, or any facts that you may find relevant. Explain your opinion by providing some evidence. If you are using any sources, always give credit to the original source.
  • Conclusion. This is where you must summarize your thoughts and ideas. As for your thesis, it must be written in different words or a sentence that makes it even clearer. Do not introduce any new ideas. Just mention all the key findings as if you had the bullet points to do. Avoid repetitions and keep things short as your conclusion should be about 10% of your total word count.
  • Proofreading & Editing. Never ignore this part as it is what helps to avoid both major and minor mistakes. Learn to read your essay aloud and start with the editing part first before you start to proofread (this part determines how good it sounds). Make sure to be critical and check things with your grading rubric or prompt as you do!

Fortunately, writing a good diagnostic paper is not as challenging as the other essay types that you may encounter during your college course. You do not have to start some research or synthesize information taken from various academic sources. Of course, you can include some external information or statistics, yet you may not have to do so if it is not required. The most important is to feel inspired as you start writing and show good grammar and structure that will be logical, interesting, and accessible. And before we proceed with trendy 25 diagnostic essay topics, let us remind that at EduBirdie, you can always get papers delivered in time!

Best 25 Diagnostic Essay Topic Ideas

Even though most university professors in the United States offer prompts, there are still some that like to offer freedom to think, create, and analyze to see whether students come up with something on their own. Basically, choose anything that fits your course contents or work at something that truly stands out and shows your skills and knowledge best. Look through several diagnosis essay topics to brainstorm already existing personal ideas on diagnostic writing. Below are diagnostic essay prompts in several popular disciplines.

Society and Computers

  1. Is social media helpful or damaging to physical communications between people?
  2. Should alcohol consumption age be lowered for American youth?
  3. What are the flaws of distance learning education compared to standard learning methods?
  4. Are racial prejudice conflicts based on psychology or physiology grounds?
  5. How do you foresee a role of social networking in 10 years from now?

Healthcare and Nursing

  1. How does college life impact sleep patterns of modern students?
  2. What nursing theorists have influenced me and how do I foresee my personal social input?
  3. Working in ER department, how could stress levels be reduced?
  4. Should traditional medicine practices be considered acceptable?
  5. Should nursing personnel be entirely honest or politically correct?

Business Management

  1. Why do most business enterprises turn to offshore solutions?
  2. How gender bias issues in the workplace may be prevented?
  3. What are the cons and pros of outsourcing?
  4. Does social media presence contribute to success or violate company’s privacy due to digital footprint?
  5. Successful business is impossible with good employers, yet without a strong team leader. Do you agree?

Political Science

  1. Presence of United States in Afghanistan is damaging to country’s foreign policy.
  2. Can political agreement be achieved with the help of mediation methods?
  3. Does transparency of information in the media contribute to unbiased coverage on TV channels?
  4. What political personality has influenced me the most?
  5. Religion conflicts and political conflicts do not have much in common and should not be linked together. Do you agree with such take? Why yes or why not?

Culture and Education

  1. Will electronic books replace usual print books?
  2. How does social media impact body image among young people?
  3. Are online bloggers journalists?
  4. Can interactive content replace physical teachers?
  5. Should there be a unified education system in the United States or do alternative teaching methods have a right to exist as well?  

Read also: The Most Useful Extended Essay Topics

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Diagnostic Essay Outline Example

In order to know how to write a diagnostic essay, one has to create an outline before actual writing. For our example we will choose a prompt related to social media and business management. Like in this diagnostic essay example:

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

- Introduction starts with a good hook sentence, summary of 3 body paragraphs, and strong thesis statement.

According to network security experts, a digital footprint is left online long after information on social media is modified or even deleted.  It makes social media potentially damaging to businesses along with two other reasons that are identity theft and incorrect management. Combining aforementioned reasons, one can assume that social media presence for businesses requires strict control of what is being shared to maintain corporate ethics and safety policies.

- 3 Body Paragraphs part starts with topic sentences that instantly introduce an idea.

A digital footprint is a sum of information shared online that may be obtained either with search enquiry or shared links.

Identity theft online is a second major reason for businesses that makes CEOs consider online presence.

Weak management of online content or absence of strict policies may be as damaging as identity theft or financial risks. It is so because…

- Conclusion part is summary, thesis restatement, and last sentence to inspire one’s audience for action.

Social media online presence should be damaging for businesses only with incorrect content management and absence of strong security policies. In my opinion, online policies should be a part of corporate ethics to make digital footprint clear. It is also a good reason to consider and review personal online behavior and information being shared.

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How Do You Start a Diagnostic Essay?

Start by learning more about your topic and picking up some ideas by reading through various sources. Even though you do not have to include any external information, doing so will help you to support your thesis statement. Always remember about plagiarism risks when you use any sources. As you start a diagnostic essay, think about some fact or a life story that will keep your readers inspired as they start exploring your writing.

How Many Paragraphs is a Diagnostic Essay?

As a rule, it will include five paragraphs, which are: an introduction with a thesis statement, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. However, your college professor may ask you for three paragraphs only where your body paragraphs will become a single bit of text.

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