ESL Essay Writing Exercises for International Students

ESL Essay Writing Exercises for International Students

If you’re an ESL student you will probably be all too aware of the difficulties faced when writing essays in English. As an ESL student, at first, you’re probably not ready to write standard English assignments and essays. This seems logical because as an ESL student, you wouldn’t have the necessary skills to write an essay or take an exam.

To begin with, the best advice is, to begin with, short writing exercises. Once you are able to write a few sentences you will soon see how you’re progressing with your English writing skills. Expert essay writers from WriteMyPaperHub paper writing service provide you with some short writing exercises that you can begin to practice and then we will take a look at aspects such as spelling, vocabulary, and grammar. 

Short Writing Exercises


A lot of ESL students study English abroad and postcards are a great way of writing about your experiences. Postcards tend to follow a standard format and allow you the opportunity to practice writing in the past or present tense. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to use vocabulary related to geography or holidays. In general, a postcard has five aspects to it:

  • A greeting
  • A sentence related to where you are
  • A couple of sentences about what you are doing or have done
  • A closing sentence
  • Your signature


You could practice writing memos and follow the format of a memo. A memo needs to have: to, from, date and the subject. Memo tends to be short and only be a few sentences long. You could practice writing a memo where you announce a team meeting and make your co-workers aware of a pending audit, for example. 

Thank You Letter

It’s not difficult to think of someone or something that you can thank. Practice writing a thank you letter/note using the format below:


Thank you for……..( add a sentence here about what you liked and how you will use it etc. Add a sentence to show you appreciate their generosity/thoughtfulness.)


Basic Paragraph

When you learn to write English, it’s common to be asked to write a composed paragraph. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this as if you break a composed paragraph down, you can see that it consists of smaller elements of approximately 4-6 sentences. The first aspect of a composed paragraph covers the topic and highlights your key point of the paragraph. Next, you will need to include 2 to 4 sentences, which expand on your idea, argue your point or provide examples. Finally, you will need to add a concluding sentence. 


We live in an era surrounded by technology and there’s nothing much more popular than email. These days, emails seem to have taken over any form of written correspondence and for ESL students, that’s not such a bad thing. Emails are easy to write as they are shorter than formal letters and tend to be more informal, so practice sending emails to friends and family.

Personal Advertisement

It doesn’t matter if you are on the dating scene or not, writing a personal ad is an easy way to practice your English writing skills. Take a look at examples of personal ads from a newspaper or on dating websites. Take note of what kind of information the ads contain. Bear this in mind try and try and write your own ad using the simple present tense. Consider adding a sentence about how you look, what you enjoy doing and what you are looking for in a partner. 


Spelling in English is confusing but it is possible to improve your English spelling using the below techniques:

  • Using mnemonics such as songs and rhymes or acronyms
  • Learn words that are commonly misspelt
  • Compile a list of words that you struggle to spell
  • Sound out words
  • Play word games
  • Learn some of the rules of spelling such as: 
  • Words contain one vowel
  • Each syllable has a vowel
  • Q is always followed by a `u’ (quick)
  • All names need to be capitalized as do the names of places
  • If you hear the sounds ‘k’ at the end of a sound you can use ‘k’ or ‘ck.’ ‘ck’ is used after a short vowel (sick) ‘k’ is used after anything else (milk) 
  • Words don’t end in ‘j’ or ‘v’ as a silent ‘e’ is added to the end of a word (save)


There isn’t a single way of learning English vocabulary.  However, there are ways to go about learning English vocabulary. 

  • Make a note of every new word that you hear
  • Try using these new words in conversation
  • Play English language board games
  • Watch movies in English
  • Write an English blog
  • Read books in English
  • Take English vocabulary quizzes


If you want to understand grammar, then consider getting to grips with these aspects:

  • Understand the parts of speech and these are: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.
  • Learn about sentences and know that a sentence contains a subject and a verb. 
  • Punctuation is an important aspect of grammar and you need to have an understanding of how basic punctuation works. 

Basic punctuation includes:

  • Full stop/ period: this is used at the end of a sentence.
  • Question Mark: this is used at the end of an interrogative sentence
  • Comma: this is used to separate items in a list, for a pause or to separate clauses
  • Quotation marks: These are used to show when somebody’s speaking
  • Exclamation mark: This is used to show emphasis or loudness.