Decide on the essay topic. Sometimes, you're given a specific topic to write about. Other times, you are able to choose from a few different topics. If you have the opportunity to choose, analyze your choices and pick the one that you have the most to say about.
Research the topic. If necessary, do some research to help you get ideas for your short essay. This is a fairly short writing assignment, so you don't need to learn everything about the topic _ just the aspects that you plan to write about.
Start with a thesis statement. This is the main point of your essay. Even though you may have a general assignment, you are often able to choose the direction you want the essay to take. This direction is the thesis.
Choose three main points to support your idea. Brainstorm a couple of ideas to support your thesis statement. Out of your list, pick the best two or three.
Explain the three points in separate paragraphs. Elaborate on your main points to show how they support your thesis. Use about 200 words to write these paragraphs.
Write a brief introduction discussing the topic of the essay. Since you now know what the main portion of the essay says, writing an introduction should be easy. Introduce the topic and tell the reader your thesis. Do this in about 50 words.
End with a solid conclusion. Take another 50 words to wrap things up. Explain how your points support your thesis.
Edit your essay before turning it in. If possible, you may want to wait a day and come back to it. Sometimes you miss mistakes when you are in a rush to finish. By looking at the essay with a fresh eye the next day, you may catch some errors that you wouldn't have noticed before.