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The Five-Paragraph Essay is the essay structure you will use for almost every piece of writing in high school—from term papers to standardized tests. Learn how to master this form of writing now, and you will excel at academic writing in the years to come.

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Have you ever gotten halfway through a writing assignment only to realize you have no idea what you’re saying or if you’re even addressing the topic? Yeah, us too. That’s why one of the first assignments you’re likely to get this year is the dreaded paper outline. Today, we’ll talk about why outlines actually do matter—and we’ll review some other ways you can start writing if you find yourself staring at a blank screen.