Writing the Conclusion

Just as the introduction is critical in establishing a benchmark for your essay, the conclusion is the last impression that you are leaving with readers (and examiners before they finalise your grade!).

You can write a good conclusion in two steps. First, summarise your overall argument. Finally, end your essay by demonstrating your personal voice.

Step 1: Summarise overall argument

Rather than merely regurgitating your points, a good conclusion offers a synthesis that pulls together your arguments and insights, helping your reader to connect the dots.

Step 2: Demonstrate personal voice

There are infinite ways to express your unique personal voice — here are two reliable methods that you can use, whether singly or in combination.

(i) Highlight the core value / what is ultimately at stake

Emphasise the key theme that is central to the discussion and explain why the issue is so important that you have to take a stand on it.

Some common themes that can be invoked are freedom, equality, justice, peace, and so on.

How far is it possible for one country to forgive another for its past actions?

Summarise overall argument

Tip: Introducing a framework (e.g. ideal vs reality, minority vs majority) to resolve contrasting arguments gives your reader a balanced overview.

It is certainly possible for a country to willingly and fully forgive another for its past actions when the aggressor nation has atoned for the suffering it has caused, and later generations have grown up without experiencing the injustice inflicted upon their country. However, in reality, it is often difficult for a country to fully do so. Most countries merely “forgive” their former enemies begrudgingly, as they prioritise their present circumstances and recognise the mutual benefits that come out of cooperating rather than focusing on their enmity.

Demonstrate personal voice

Highlight what is ultimately at stake

Yet, genuine forgiveness must remain a goal that nations should strive for. In order to ensure that future generations are not trapped in the cycle of their predecessors’ trauma and mistakes, countries need to rise above their grudges and make steps to willingly and fully forgive nations who have wronged them in the past.

(ii) Project into the future

Express your hope for the future and propose a course of action that can be taken to resolve the key underlying tensions of the issue. Possible solutions should be grounded in concrete and actionable steps to inspire confidence.

In your society, how well are the demands of the economy and the environment balanced?

Summarise overall argument

Tip: Weigh the arguments explored in the essay to help your reader understand your overall view.

In conclusion, Singapore society has made a commendable effort in ensuring that the needs of the economy and the environment are balanced. However, this balance is rather precarious as it is largely a result of governmental and corporate efforts, with little done on the part of the everyday consumer. Though Singaporeans have changed some of their habits to be more environmentally sustainable, there is plenty of room for improvement.

Demonstrate personal voice

Project into the future

Moving forward, there is a clear need to inculcate values of environmental protection in the general population. This will encourage ground-up initiatives instead of relying on established institutions to take the lead. By doing so, balancing the demands of the economy and the environment can be a more sustainable and long-term endeavour.