General Advice On How To Build An Essay Outline

Even if you have done all the research that you need based on your knowledge of the topic of your essay, and you have made sure that you have worked out a great timetable so you can submit your essay on time you may find it difficult to start your writing.

Try some of the following advice to help you to build your essay outline to give you a kick start to writing and push ‘writer’s block’ out of the way. So let’s get started and write and stay on your planned timetable.

In reality an outline is a plan. You may already thought about the areas that you need to cover. So using those as a starting point get a sheet of paper and start by jotting down all the ideas that you have about this piece of work.

Time spent brainstorming and creating a plan with pay off.

  • Brainstorming helps organize your thoughts.

  • Brainstorming helps you to organize your ideas in a logical progression.

  • Brainstorming can help you to break down ideas so as they will become clear and concise.

  • Brainstorming can also help you to connect your ideas so as they show a progression of thought.

This process should take you between 20 to 30 minutes. In fact it is important to note that some tutors will look to see if you have also submitted the plan as that will help them see not only the progression of your ideas but the goal which you aimed to achieve.

In some exams this is also acceptable to add your plan at the beginning or your written answer. But the advice here is to check before your exam to make sure that this is acceptable.

A plan can be as brief as using single words or phrases, or it can be fleeting sentences that describe specific ideas. Ideally it should give some detail about the main topic and the subtopics, including some detail to show how the topics and subtopics are related.

If you have been told to write a plan for your work that will be marked alongside your paper, then you may need to use sentences but if the plan is just for you then it is OK to use whichever type you feel more comfortable with (you may decide to use a mixture).

The important thing is that once you have come up with a list of ideas you will need to start organizing them into logical groups. Don’t be surprised if you have to organize and reorganize your categories. It will be time well spend.

Good Luck!

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