A persuasive essay should take a person from their current opinion to the same one as you. At the very least, a persuasive essay should change an opinion, even if it is the one expressed in the essay thesis or conclusion. If the reader already agrees with what your essay says then they should be able to skim read it and agree without causing too much disruption to their current state of mind. In short, this means you should not add sarcasm into your essay because it will be misread by skim readers.
Where you given a marking guide?
They are not the same marking guide that your professor uses, but they show how the marks are going to be distributed and what sort of things affect the marks. If you were given one then use it. There are students that simply do not use it.
The best analogy is when a person applies for a job, they fill out the application form but they do not fill it out in full (they miss boxes). You must ensure you actually use your marking guide, especially when it comes to the easily defined things such as spelling. If you are not sure if the word you are using is the correct one, then look it up or change it.
If the marking guide shows lots of marks for one element of the essay, and few marks for another element, then concentrate most of your effort and word count on the bigger scoring item.
Plan your essay by listing the issues
Rank them from most important and most powerful to the least important and powerful. When you start your essay, you should start with the one you ranked at the top. Work on it and fully resolve it before moving on to the next point. Fully resolving means that you made your point, you made your counter arguments and you quashed the counter arguments so that your first point stands.
Structuring the essay when you write your plan
This is where you should be structuring your essay. You can work as per the previous tip and put in your point, argue it, and then move to your next point. Or, you can use a block technique where you start with all your arguments/points, and then you make your counter arguments. You then make your counter-counter arguments so that your first set of arguments stand tall. As you can imagine, the latter method may become confusing if you have a lot of points to argue.
How do you structure your conclusion?
Some essay guides say you shouldn’t mention or write up your thesis in the conclusion, but there have never been people that have lost marks for putting their thesis in the conclusion–on the other hand, there are plenty of people that have lost marks because they should have referenced or written their thesis statement in the conclusion. These are the people that make their conclusion look like a continuation of the rest of the essay, making it indistinguishable from the rest of the essay.
If you need a rough guide to structuring you conclusion then here it is: start by summing up what you have written in general, then mention your thesis statement, then finish with the resolution of your essay. The resolution point out how your thesis has been proven correct, or may be a further confirmation of the things you assumed within the thesis statement.
Pick a topic you are already quite passionate about
This will help you focus and will make the job of writing a little easier. Writing your essay is work, but if you are writing about something you like then it feels like less work. You may also be a little more convincing if you are trying to persuade people about things you actually believe yourself.
Do not use too many descriptive words
You may decide to use them as a tool to create a little emotion. For example, instead of saying that the people live in dirty surroundings, you may say they live in “a damp flea bitten pit of squalor.” it may be very descriptive and very convincing, but be wary of using this tool too often. You need to back your writing up with more than just emotional manipulation. You need facts, evidence, reasoning and any other tools you can use to convince the readers to think your way.