University of Newcastle

How to plan an essay: Essay Planning

How to plan an essay

Essay planning is an important step in academic essay writing.

Effective planning can speed up the essay writing process, and give the essay direction and precision.  As you are working through the process of drafting and writing your essay, you can record any changes you make on your essay plan, so that your essay and the plan develop side by side.

One way to start planning an essay is with a ‘box plan’.

First, decide how many stages there are in your argument – how many important points do you want to make? Then divide up a box into an introduction, one body paragraph for each part of your argument, and a conclusion.

Box plan

Next, figure out how many words per paragraph you will need. This depends on the word count and how many paragraphs you want. Remember you need one paragraph to discuss each main point you are making. The introduction and conclusion are both usually 10% of the word count and what is left is divided into how many body paragraphs you have.

Let's use the following example:  Discuss how media can influence children. Use specific examples to support your view.

1200 words  

Box plan with word count

Next, in each body paragraph box record your main argument, either as a heading or as your topic sentence. 

Box plan with main arguments

Finally, use dot points to list useful information or ideas from your research notes for each paragraph. Remember to include references so you can cite each idea in your essay.

box plan with dot points added

Remember, a useful document for essay planning is the marking rubric (also known as the marking checklist or marking criteria). This indicates what the lecturer is looking for, and helps you make sure that all the necessary elements are there.

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7 Steps for Writing an Essay Plan

Have you ever started writing an essay then realized you have run out of ideas to talk about?

This can make you feel deflated and you start to hate your essay!

How to write an Essay Plan

The best way to avoid this mid-essay disaster is to plan ahead: you need to write an Essay Plan!

Essay planning is one of the most important skills I teach my students. When I have one-to-one tutorials with my students, I always send them off with an essay plan and clear goals about what to write.

Essay Planning isn’t as dull as you think. In fact, it really does only take a short amount of time and can make you feel oh so relieved that you know what you’re doing!

Here’s my 7-Step method that I encourage you to use for your next essay:

The 7-Step Guide on How to write an Essay Plan

I’ve been using this 7-Step essay planning strategy since I was in my undergraduate degree. Now, I’ve completed a PhD and written over 20 academic journal articles and dozens of blog posts using this method – and it still works!

Let’s go through my 7 steps for how to write an essay plan.

Prefer to Watch than Read? Here’s our video on writing an Essay Plan.

how to write an essay plan

1. figure out your essay topic. here’s how..

Where did your teacher provide you with your assessment details?

Find it. This is where you begin.

Now, far, far, far too many students end up writing essays that aren’t relevant to the essay question given to you by your teacher. So print out your essay question and any other advice or guidelines provided by your teacher.

Here’s some things that your assessment details page might include:

The essay question is really important. Once you’ve printed it I want you to do one thing:

Highlight the key phrases in the essay question.

Here’s some essay questions and the key phrases you’d want to highlight:

This strategy helps you to hone in on exactly what you want to talk about. These are the key phrases you’re going to use frequently in your writing and use when you look for sources to cite in your essay!

The other top thing to look at is the marking criteria. Some teachers don’t provide this, but if they do then make sure you pay attention to the marking criteria !

Here’s an example of a marking criteria sheet:

Sample Essay Topic: Is Climate Change the Greatest Moral Challenge of our Generation?

Now, if you have a marking criteria you really need to pay attention to this. You have to make sure you’ve ticked off all the key criteria that you will be marked on. For the example above, your essay is going to have to make sure it:

The reason you need to be really careful to pay attention to this marking criteria is because it is your cheat sheet: it tells you what to talk about!

Step 1 only takes you five minutes and helps you to clearly clarify what you’re going to be talking about! Now your mind is tuned in and you can start doing some preliminary research.

2. Gather your Sources and take Quick Notes. Here’s how.

Now that you know what your focus is, you can start finding some information to discuss. You don’t want to just write things from the top of your head. If you want top marks, you want some deep, detailed and specific pieces of information.

Fortunately, your teacher has probably made this easy for you.

The top source for finding information will be the resources your teacher provided. These resources were hand picked by your teacher because they believed these were the best sources available our there on the topic. Here are the most common resources teachers provide:

The lecture slides are one of the best resources for you to access. Lecture slides are usually provided online for you. Download them, save them on your computer, and dig them up when it’s time to write the essay plan.

Find the lecture slides most relevant to your topic. To take the example of our climate change essay, maybe climate change is only discussed in three of the weeks in your course. Those are the three weeks’ lecture slides you want to hone-in on.

Flick through those lecture slides and take quick notes on a piece of paper – what are the most important topics and statistics that are relevant to your essay question?

Now, move on to the assigned readings . Your teacher will have selected some readings for you to do for homework through the semester. They may be eBooks, Textbooks or Journal Articles.

These assigned readings were assigned for a reason: because they have very important information to read ! Scan through them and see if there’s any more points you can add to your list of statistics and key ideas to discuss.

Next, try to find a few more sources using Google Scholar. This is a great resource for finding more academic articles that you can read to find even more details and ideas to add to your essay.

Here’s my notes that I researched for the essay question “Is Climate Change the Greatest Moral Challenge of our Generation?” As you can see, it doesn’t have to be beautiful #Studygram notes! It’s just rough notes to get all the important information down:

sample of rough notes scrawled on paper

Once you’ve read the assigned lecture slides and readings, you should have a good preliminary list of ideas, topics, statistics and even quotes that you can use in step 3.

3. Brainstorm using a Mind-Map. Here’s how.

Do your initial notes look a little disorganized?

That’s okay. The point of Step 2 was to gather information. Now it’s time to start sorting these ideas in your mind.

The best way to organize thoughts is to create a Mind-Map. Here’s how Mind-Maps often look:

sample blank mind-map

For your essay plan Mind-Map, write the essay question in the middle of the page and draw a circle around it.

mind-map with essay question written in center

Then, select the biggest and most important key ideas that you think are worth discussing in the essay. To decide on these, you might want to look back at the notes you took in Step 2.

Each key idea will take up around about 200 – 350 words (1 to 2 sentences).

Here’s a rough guide for how many key ideas you’ll want depending on your essay length:

Once you’ve selected your key ideas you can list them in a circle around the essay question, just like this:

mind map with essay question and key ideas filled-in

Last, we need to add detail and depth to each key idea. So, draw more lines out from each key ideas and list:

Here’s how it might look once you’re done:

completed mind-map

4. Arrange your Topics. Here’s how.

You’re well and truly on your way to getting your essay down on paper now.

There’s one last thing to do before you start getting words down on the manuscript that you will submit. You need to arrange your topics to decide which to write first, second, third, fourth, and last!

Here are some things to keep in mind:

To ensure your points logically flow, think about how you’re going to transition from one idea to the next . Does one key point need to be made first so that the other ones make sense?

Do two key points seem to fit next to one another? If so, make sure you list them side-by-side.

Have a play around with the order you want to discuss the ideas until you’re comfortable. Then, list them in order. Here’s my order for my Climate Change essay:

Each of these key ideas is going to turn into a paragraph or two (probably two) in the essay.

5. Write your topic Sentences in just 5 minutes. Here’s how.

All good essays have clear paragraphs that start with a topic sentence . To turn these brainstormed key points into an essay, you need to get that list you wrote in Step 5 and turn each point into a topic sentence for a paragraph.

It’s important that the first sentence of each paragraph clearly states the paragraph’s topic. Your marker is going to want to know exactly what your paragraph is about immediately. You don’t want your marker to wait until the 3 rd , 4 th or 5 th line of a paragraph before they figure out what you’re talking about in the paragraph.

So, you need to state what your key idea is in the first sentence of the paragraph.

Let’s have a go at turning each of our key ideas into a topic sentence:

6. Write a No-Pressure Essay Draft in just 3 Hours. Here’s how.

Okay, now the rubber hits the road. Let’s get writing!

When you write your first draft, don’t put pressure on yourself. Remind yourself that this is the first of several attempts at creating a great essay, so it doesn’t need to be perfect right away. The important thing is that you get words down on paper.

To write the draft, have a go at adding to each of your topic sentences to turn them into full paragraphs. Follow the information you wrote down in your notes and Mind-Map to get some great details down on paper.

Forget about the introduction and conclusion for now. You can write them last.

Let’s have a go at one together. I’m going to choose the paragraph on my key idea “Is climate change caused by humans?”

I’ve already got my first sentence and my brainstormed ideas. Let’s build on them to write a draft paragraph:

screenshot of a section of a mind map displaying key ideas for the essay

Your turn – have a go at your own draft paragraphs based on your Mind-Map for your essay topic! If you hit a rut or have some trouble, don’t forget to check out our article on how to write perfect paragraphs .

Once you’ve written all your paragraphs, make sure you write an introduction and conclusion .

Gone over the word count? Check out our article on how to reduce your word count.

7. Edit your Draft Once every Few Days until Submission. Check out this simple approach:

Okay, hopefully after your three hour essay drafting session you’ve got all your words down on paper. Congratulations!

However, we’re not done yet.

The best students finish their drafts early on so they have a good three or four weeks to come back and re-read their draft and edit it every few days.

When coming back to edit your draft , here’s a few things to look out for:

Before you go – Here’s the Actionable Essay Plan Tips Summed up for you

Phew! That essay was tough. But with this essay plan, you can get through any essay and do a stellar job! Essay planning is a great way to ensure your essays make sense, have a clear and compelling argument, and don’t go off-topic.

I never write an essay without one.

To sum up, here are the 7 steps to essay planning one more time:

The 7-Step Guide for How to Write an Essay Plan


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.

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How to Create a Video Essay for Your College Application

Some colleges may accept a video essay in lieu of the traditional written essay as part of the college application process.

[Featured image] Job candidate smiles at her tablet as she logs on for a video interview with a hiring manager in an open office space.

A video essay serves as a personal introduction on a college application. As a modern trend in the application process , some colleges and universities allow prospective students to submit a video essay, either in the place of the traditional written essay or, sometimes, as a separate element of the application packet.

With a video essay, you can naturally highlight your personality while providing the decision-makers with a glimpse into your world. You have the power to present yourself in your best light— literally —in a more personal medium than the regular written word.

What was once limited to art and design schools is now part of the normal process for schools like theUniversity of Chicago and Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. This modern twist on essays allows students to express themselves in a way that was once reserved for social media.

To impress the college admissions representatives of your chosen school, take the proper measures when planning. When preparing your video, give plenty of forethought to make your best first impression.

Learn more: How to Write a Personal Statement

How to make a video essay

Verify how long the video can run; this should be listed in each of your institutions’ requirements. For example, the University of Chicago allows videos of up to two minutes. Stay within the university’s range to be considered. The challenge is to focus on your presentation and choose your words wisely.

1. Choose a topic.

Next, decide on the topic of the video. Some schools may invite you to discuss a particular topic, and others will want the video essay to serve as a personal introduction in place of an interview.

If the video serves as an interview, include the answers to the following questions: 

Why do you wish to attend this specific school?

What will you bring to the college campus?

What will you do when you arrive?

Overall, you can use the video to show why you’ll be a natural fit at the school.

Read more: What Should I Major In? 5 Things to Evaluate

2. Create an outline and script.

Show off your production skills, but don’t overextend yourself. University representatives will focus on various aspects of your video in addition to its production. Plan your talking points, create a script, and practice by recording yourself multiple times before finally hitting the send button.

A video script is different from a written essay . Make a logically organized list of the topics you want to cover in a way that allows you to speak naturally and comfortably at the camera. Use the outline to guide you as you record in lieu of memorizing a script.

Record yourself with your phone’s camera, and practice the presentation repeatedly until you feel comfortable. Time yourself to stay within the time limit predefined by the college or university you're applying to. Once you feel satisfied with your script, you’ll be ready for the next step.

3. Use imagery and audio files.

Think about the scene you are depicting in the video. Verify your background. If you’re in your bedroom, for example, make sure it’s tidy and clean. Display things that visibly render your interests, such as a trophy from a swim meet or a stack of your favorite nonfiction books.

You can also film your video in a nearby park or landmark to represent your interests and make good use of the natural lighting. Use the setting to reveal a part of your personality and gain the interest of your college admissions representative. 

Along with video of you talking, you may wish to include additional images, video, and audio files that go along with your message. Collect all your content first before initiating the editing process.

4. Upload files into editing software.

Demonstrate your presentation skills by doing more than one take of your video and editing them to create a polished final cut. For this, you can use any of the trusted free editing software, including iMovie and Lightworks, which are typically user-friendly. You can drag and drop any file you upload and add sound and visual effects as you edit your content.

For tutorials on new software, look for relevant courses on Coursera like Mastering Final Cut Pro , where you’ll learn skills to make your video look professional.

Keep your post-production simple since you will principally be ranked on the content of your video rather than the graphics and transitions, that is unless you’re applying to become a videography student.


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5. Share or submit your work.

Follow the submission guidelines described in the university’s application process to ensure you meet all requirements. You may only need to submit a link to your video upload from a commonly used video-sharing website.

If such is the case, upload your completed video essay for free on popular video-sharing platforms like Vimeo or YouTube. Once you’ve uploaded your video to your preferred site, you will have the option to copy a shareable link. Before you send the link, test it on your computer or phone to make sure it leads to your video.

Use the Common App to submit your essay.

Many high school juniors and seniors are familiar with the Common App , which is used by hundreds of colleges and universities to streamline the process of application. For the 2021-2022 school year, there were seven different essay prompts that you could choose from for the traditional written essay.

For some institutions, you may have the option to submit your essay through the Common App. You may also be able to submit a video essay in place of a written essay or as its complement. You’ll need to research and follow the directions of the institution you’re applying to.

Take note of these best practices of video production to make sure your video is both memorable and favorable.

Videography tips for success 

Apply your top-notch creativity in this nontraditional medium to produce your video essay. Discuss ideas for your video with a guidance counselor, parent, or trusted teacher. Ask them for feedback to make sure the message resonates properly.

Reach for success in these other ways:

Have good lighting and sound: Avoid distracting the viewer with shadows, cluttered backgrounds, or loud background noises. Sit near a window to use natural sunlight and prevent a washed-out appearance.

Dress for success: Wear a presentable outfit like you would for an in-person interview. Aim for business or business casual attire, tidy hair, and positive body language. This will improve your confidence as well as send the message that you’re serious about this application.

Answer questions directly: If the school asks specific questions on their application process or has prompts that need to be included in your video essay, make sure to directly provide the answers to each of them. Avoid getting carried away during the creative process.Write the questions and timestamp of the video where they’re answered.

Be yourself : Perhaps one of the most important video tips is to be authentic and relaxed. Review your script and practice repeatedly so you can naturally express yourself without reading it. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the project, and remember to meet the submission deadline.

Express yourself: Interviewing Skills to Benefit Your Career

Practice your presentation skills and increase your confidence before working on your video essay with the following courses from top universities, available on Coursera: 

Effective Communication: Writing, Design, and Presentation Specialization

Storytelling and influencing: Communicate with impact

Speaking Skills for University Success

Speak English Professionally: In Person, Online & On the Phone

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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essay planning video

Essay Planning: Guidelines and an Example Structure

25 May 2021

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How to plan an essay, an example of an essay topic and a possible example of an essay plan, paragraph 1, paragraph 2, paragraph 3.

Before getting to the actual writing process, you have to think about an essay plan structure. The essay plan is drawn up to rebuild the stream of thoughts into coherent, logically combined sentences. Immediately after receiving the topic of the essay, ideas and images will start appearing in your head. Sketch out the phrases or words that come to mind on a draft sheet. Then they can be developed for the whole task. If you want to make an assignment well that it to be worth an A-level grade, use these recommendations from our essay writing guide to create the finest essays.

Detect plagiarism in your paper for free

Carefully think about what you want to say on the topic. Then write it down on the piece of paper in a column of thoughts. And only then decide in what order you want to display your list in your essay writing for college students. Writing an essay plan is necessary for a clear and crisp structure of work.

To make up a composition plan means to break it into pieces; mentally identify the main stages in the development of your idea. Each piece is a micro-text, which could be one paragraph or include several. To correspond to the planned items, the micro-texts have to be connected by the main idea, which has its beginning, development, and completion.

As a rule, the plan is made up of detailed phrases, not separate words or sentences. Individual words are too limited to represent the core idea or topic. Using complex sentences is also not the best choice as they already represent a completed thought. With this in mind, phrases are the most appropriate choice because this has a semantic unity that carries information in a condensed form. There are other possible question combinations and answers to them are found while writing essays online.

Essay planning is significant because the plan contains information on how an essay is built and specific information of the contents of each piece. The composition must be “viewed” through the plan.

Need help with writing an essay?

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Essay question / topic. People who go in for sports are not associated with material rewards suggests reasons that make people do exercises, and jog. Include in your discussion examples of your own or other people’s participation in sports.

Introduction. Physical activity is the main hobby among a considerable percentage of the Australian population. Although, the motivation of these people is not material reward. Money and awards are not important for them, they have other motivators for participating in sports activities.

Possible thesis statements. Make up a short list of possible motives for playing sports, later they will be outlined in this essay. Highlight the examples from your own and other people’s experience to illustrate the motives.

E.g. examples of my own participation in team sports as well as my friend’s participation in an individual sports will be given to illustrate these motivations.

Topic Sentence (idea / argument). One of the strongest motivations to do exercise is a human’s desire to keep fit. Evidence / elaboration. People are addicted to a healthy way of life. Nowadays, the necessity of being physically fit is on the top of the pyramid of human requirements.

Every week or even daily people join gyms, take swimming or running lessons (reference?). Here state an example from your own sports experience, for example, I play basketball each week as a way to keep healthy.

Topic Sentence (idea/argument). The next motivation for people to play sports is related to the social benefits they gain from participating in an activity with others.

Evidence/elaboration. Many sporting activities and sports facilities exist in densely populated regions (examples, references?). The reasons for participation in athletics is given in a survey conducted by  Victoria University's Sporting Association (2010). It is said that they meet new friends, get out of the house and socialize, feel more connected, etc.

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Topic Sentence (idea/argument). Achieving a personal challenge is one of the most widespread factors that push many people to play sports.

Evidence / elaboration. Evidence of this is in the responses given in focus interviews with two groups of first-year university students who said… (reference?) Mention your relatives and their personal stories in which way they do sports. My cousin is an amateur cyclist and enjoys participating in that sport because she can…

People’s motivations for participating in sporting activities are not solely related to material gains. This essay has provided other possible motivations and in addition to drawing on evidence from literature, has used examples from my own and other people’s experiences to illustrate this. References (Include all your references in your plan and gather the details for these. Format according to the style required in your discipline).

The plan of the composition must correspond to the topic and be logically consistent. Need some help with writing your assignment ? Out team should help realize your essay plan fast.

Keep in mind, the plan is made for you. It will help you organize thoughts, select the necessary material, and discard unnecessary.

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I am a proficient writer from the United States with over five years of experience in academic writing. I comfortably complete given assignments within stipulated deadlines and at the same time deliver high-quality work, which follows the guidelines provided.

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essay planning video

How to do a Video Essay: The Video Essay Process


This section will give an introductory overview of the stages required to create a video essay.  Video essayers advice is to start simple and work through each stage of the video production process. Visit the Resources page of this guide for more.

Identify what is your argument? What is it that you want to communicate to the viewer? Write this down in a few sentences, refer and modify it as required.

Watch Video Essays

Watch a selection of video essays, read blogs and web pages from video essayers and decide what type of video essay you would like to create. Start simple.

A storyboard is a detailed outline (similar to an outline in a written essay) that helps you to organise and visualise the video essay as to what is on the screen, text, media, message and transitions between shots.

Storyboards assist in determining the length, message and meaning of the video essay and help save time with editing and post production processes.

Collect & Edit

Collect video material as downloads, ripping DVDs, screen grabs, mobile phone footage and create voice-overs. Use research skills to find information and statements to support your argument. Maintain a standard of quality and manage your videos by naming conventions and storage.

Use editing software and experiment with available functionality to enhance and support your argument. Add a voice-over, sound effects, music and other aspects of multimodality. Be sure to include references and credits to all sources used in creating the video essay.

Revisit elements of your video essay and modify as required.

Visit the Resources page of this guide for more.

References & Credits

References to cite sources used in the Video Essay. Referencing is a formal, systematic way of acknowledging sources that you have used in your video essay. It is imperative that you reference all sources used (including videos, stills, music, sfx) and apply the correct formatting so that references cited can be easily traced. The referencing style used at ECU is the APA style, 6th ed. 2010. Refer to the ECU Referencing Library Guide for accurate citation in APA style.

Production credits Individuals: acknowledgement of individuals and their role in the production. Purpose: A statement for internal use, e.g. “This video was produced for [course name] at [institution’s name] in [semester, year]”

Edith Cowan University acknowledges and respects the Noongar people, who are the traditional custodians of the land upon which its campuses stand and its programs operate. In particular ECU pays its respects to the Elders, past and present, of the Noongar people, and embrace their culture, wisdom and knowledge.


Academic Writing

How to Plan an Essay

Essay planning is an important step in academic essay writing.

Effective planning can speed up the essay writing process, and give the essay direction and precision.  As you are working through the process of drafting and writing your essay, you can record any changes you make on your essay plan, so that your essay and the plan develop side by side.

One way to start planning an essay is with a "box plan."

First, decide how many stages there are in your argument – how many important points do you want to make? Then divide up a box into an introduction, one body paragraph for each part of your argument, and a conclusion.

Box plan

Next, figure out how many  words per paragraph  you will need. This depends on the  word count  and  how many paragraphs  you want. Remember you need one paragraph to discuss each main point you are making. The introduction and conclusion are both usually 10% of the word count and what is left is divided into how many body paragraphs you have.

Let's use the following example: Discuss how media can influence children. Use specific examples to support your view.

1200 words 

Box plan with word count

Next, in each body paragraph box record your main argument, either as a heading or as your topic sentence. 

Box plan with main arguments

Finally, use dot points to list useful information or ideas from your research notes for each paragraph. Remember to include references so you can cite each idea in your essay.

box plan with dot points added

Remember, a useful document for essay planning is the marking rubric (also known as the marking checklist or marking criteria). This indicates what the lecturer is looking for, and helps you make sure that all the necessary elements are there.

essay planning video

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Innovative assessment how to incorporate video essays in your classroom – easy edtech podcast 206.

In today’s episode, we will explore how teachers can guide their students through the process of creating video essays. You’ll hear some of my favorite movie-making tools for students, plus how to access my free graphic organizers you can use to plan for your next video essay project.

Listen to the podcast episode on your favorite platform:

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Monica Burns

Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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A good essay doesn't appear out of thin air — it develops from a plan. Essay planning is essential to ensure your essay is organized and coherent. Using a plan to begin your essay writing process will help you figure out your main idea , topic sentences, and details. Luckily, tried and tested essay planning sheets and templates can assist you with outlining your essay and improving your writing skills.

How to Begin Planning Your Essay

You need to take a few steps to begin planning your essay.

Decide on an Essay Topic

If your teacher didn't provide an essay topic, consider some questions, events, or ideas that you feel are important and would like to expand on. If they did provide an essay topic, identify keywords and phrases to focus on. You should strive to use these keywords throughout your essay and as a basis for your research plan.

Essay Plan: Research Your Thesis and Take Notes

Your teacher may have already provided you with some reference material or links to reputable sources. If so, plan on using this material to kickstart your research on the topic. Supplement this with your own findings as needed. If you're starting from scratch, use reputable sources to research your topic, and keep a list of references as you do this if you are required to cite your information. Some credible sources include dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks, and many websites with .edu or .org domains.

Essay Plan: Organize Your Research and Ideas

You can use a mind map, essay plan sheet, or other essay planning tools to organize your research and main ideas. See the essay plan sheet in the "Structuring your Essay" section for an example. Organizing your research and ideas will help you plan out your main topic sentences for each paragraph and the order of these paragraphs. You'll also use this step to structure your research into supporting sentences for each main topic. Write a concluding sentence at the end of each paragraph to summarize how they contribute to the main topic.

Essay Plan: Write Your First Draft

Once you've organized your ideas using an essay planning tool of your choice, you're ready to write your first draft. Use your essay plan sheet to form your introduction, the topic sentence for each paragraph, supporting details, concluding sentences, and your overall conclusion. Remember, your first draft doesn't have to be perfect.

Essay Plan: Edit and Revise

Once you complete your first draft, it's time to re-read, edit, and revise your essay. Use this time to cut out unnecessary details and restructure your essay. Here are some helpful tips to improve your editing skills:

Structuring Your Essay

Because structuring your essay can seem daunting, the best way to help you is to use an essay planning sheet.

Essay Planning Sheet

An essay planning sheet (sometimes called a template) is a document that gives you some suggested categories to organize your essay topic and main points. These plans will help to improve your essay formatting skills. Planning sheets have different formats and offer different suggestions, but most include the following:

You can find free essay plan sheets online or create your own. You can also use a mind map or box plan to organize your writing. Here is an example of an essay planning sheet for a general five-paragraph essay:

Essay Plan Essay Planning Sheet StudySmarter

Essay Plan: Introduction

In the introduction, you'll want to ensure you present your argument , idea, or thesis in this section. Do your best to start with an attention-grabbing hook or introductory statemen t that will keep your reader interested in your essay. Thought-provoking questions, interesting quotes, or controversial statements can be good tools to use in your introduction. After you have drawn your reader in, it is important to state your thesis statement (a sentence or two summarizing the main argument of your essay). Your order of topics comes last and gives your reader an overview of the main supporting points you will make in your essay. This will help your reader to follow your argument from the get-go. Improving the quality of your introduction is a skill that comes with time and is a crucial part of the writing process.

Essay Plan: Paragraph Structure

Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence that presents a main idea or argument that supports your main point. You should include at least three supporting details in each paragraph. These details should provide quotes from reputable sources, data, verifiable facts, or other information that gives weight to your topic sentence. Finish with a concluding sentence to summarize the overall argument in each paragraph.

Essay Plan: Conclusion

Writing an effective conclusion is an important skill to help your reader remember the main idea or argument of your writing. You should restate your thesis, main points, and key findings from your supporting paragraphs . Finish off your essay with your concluding statement . Similar to the concluding sentences you have created in your previous paragraphs, the concluding statement wraps up your essay and signals to the reader that you have completed your argument. Don't include any new information in your conclusion. This paragraph is intended to summarize and restate what your reader has already learned in your essay.

Remember, readers often remember the first and last few sentences of an essay more easily than the overall text. Use quotes, questions, or statements that will grab the attention of your readers and leave a lasting impression on them.

Essay Plan Example

Let's create an example essay plan using the planning sheet we previously discussed. First, if you don't already have an essay topic or thesis, take the time to choose one. For this example, we'll use the topic "intercultural awareness."

Your first step in the writing process would be to research intercultural awareness. There are many aspects to this topic, so it might be helpful to think of a question regarding intercultural awareness that you'd like to answer. A mind map can help organize your thoughts and discover what you already know about this topic. After completing your research and mind map, use this information to figure out your main topic sentences. Take the time to arrange these main topics in a logical order and ensure these topics relate to your thesis.

Essay Plan, A diagram of a Mind Map, StudySmarter

Now that we have our main topic sentences, we can use our research to add supporting details and form our paragraphs. Be sure to add references to the end of your essay if these details include quotes, data, paraphrased text, or facts. Once you've completed the body of your essay, you can flesh out your introduction and conclusion. Be sure to use attention-grabbing sentences and paraphrase your main idea and topic sentences in these introductory and concluding paragraphs.

Here is an example of a completed essay planning sheet:

Essay Topic: Why is intercultural awareness important for business?

Don't forget to add your references to your essay and cite them in the required format.

Essay Planning Next Steps

Once you've filled out your essay planning sheet, it's time to write your first draft! Using an essay planning sheet or template and looking at other essay examples can help you to organize your writing logically and coherently. These tools will help ensure you've included all the necessary parts for a successful essay in your writing process.

Essay Plan - Key takeaways

Decide on your thesis if your teacher hasn't provided one.

Use credible sources to research your thesis .

Use a mind map, essay planning sheet, or other essay planning tools to organize your ideas.

Write out your first draft.

Re-read, edit, and revise your essay.

1 Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989).

Frequently Asked Questions about Essay Plan

--> how to plan an essay, --> how do i structure an essay plan.

Make sure your essay plan structure includes space to note down your:

--> When planning a narrative essay what should the writer do?

Look for an essay planning sheet or template designed specifically for a narrative essay. This type of planning sheet can help you make sure you've included the necessary details and used the right structure in your essay.

--> How do I plan an essay outline?

First, decide on your thesis or main topic if you haven't been provided one. Next, use that as the basis for your research. Use an essay outline tool or make your own to organize your thoughts into the key parts of your essay.

--> How to plan an expository essay?

Look for an essay plan sheet designed specifically for an expository essay. This type of planning sheet can help you make sure you've included the necessary details and used the right structure in your essay.

Final Essay Plan Quiz

Essay plan quiz - teste dein wissen.

What areas should you check while proofreading your essay?

Show answer

Grammar, spelling, and typography.

Show question

What grammar points should you look for while proofreading?

Make sure your verb tense is correct, subject and verbs are in agreement and you've used the correct pronouns.

What tips can improve your proofreading?

Print your essay, read it out loud slowly and have a friend check it for errors.

What common spelling errors should you look for?

Check if you've properly used its vs. it's or you're vs. your. Also be careful about using their, there or they're.

How can you check your spelling?

Use online proofreading services or editing tools to check your spelling. Read your writing out loud. Have a friend read your essay and look for errors.

How can you make sure your verb tense is correct?

Print out a copy of your essay. Circle the verbs in each sentence. Make sure they are all in the same tense.

How can you make sure your subject and verb agree with each other?

Print out your essay. Find the subject and verb in each sentence. Check if they are singular or plural and make sure they are the same.

What typographical errors should you pay attention to?

Look at the punctuation you use at the end of your sentences and make sure it's correct. Read your paper out loud and add commas where appropriate. Make sure you've capitalized all proper nouns.

Which sentence had been proofread and corrected?

David wants to swim at the swimming pool.

Which sentence correctly used a modifier?

With my camera, we took pictures of a cow and a goat.

How do you know if a sentence is complete?

Make sure your sentence contains a subject, verb, and phrase. Read your sentences out loud and listen for these three parts. If your sentence is incomplete, add information or combine it with another sentence.

Which sentence is complete?

The boy is running to school.

How can you check if you've used the correct pronoun?

Circle the pronouns and antecedents in your writing. Make sure the gender and number of both words agree

Which sentence correctly used a pronoun?

The puppy was recognizable by its markings.

Which sentence uses the correct verb tense?

When I woke up I went to wash my face and then I ate breakfast

What are some essential parts of an essay?

An essay must include a thesis statement, introduction, topic sentences, supporting details, concluding sentences, and a conclusion.

What should you do if you don't have a thesis for your essay?

Think about some questions, events, or ideas that you feel are important and would like to base your essay on.

Which research sources are credible?

Dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks, and many websites with .edu or .org domains.

What can you use to organize your research and ideas?

A mind map, essay plan sheet, or other essay planning tools.

How many supporting details should each paragraph contain?

What should your introduction include?

An introductory statement, your main argument or idea, and the order of the following topics.

What should your conclusion include?

Restate the main idea, present your findings, and give a concluding statement.

What should you include in your introduction to grab your reader's attention?

A thought-provoking question, interesting quote, or controversial statement.

What is the main point of a conclusion?

To help your reader remember the main idea or argument of your writing.

True or False: You should include new information in your conclusion.

What should you do after filling out your essay plan sheet?

Write your first draft using the essay plan sheet as a guide.

Where can you find essay templates?

You can find essay templates online or in word processors. You can also make your own template.

How can a mind map help you plan your essay?

A mind map can help you organize your thoughts and discover what you already know about your topic.

What information should supporting details contain?

Quotes from reputable sources, data, verifiable facts, or other information that gives weight to your topic sentence.

What information does a topic sentence provide?

It presents one of the main ideas or arguments that support your thesis.

"Home Store has the lowest cost hammers." Is this a thesis statement? 

No. "Lowest cost hammers" among what? Always be specific. This position is also not complex. There is only one way to attack or defend this position.

When taking a position...

Avoid personal positions

Is a prompt more like an open or closed question?

Open. This means there is room for debate.

"How does a balloon stay afloat?"

Is this a closed question?

Yes. The answer is known science.

What is the strongest type of position, in terms of writing an essay?

A thesis statement.

What is a non-position?

A non-position is a brief personal decision regarding an inconsequential topic. This decision lasts mere moments.

What is a position?

Your stance on an open question or prompt.

If your position is arguable, have you created a thesis statement?

Not yet, as a thesis statement needs to be complex. It has many ways to attack it and defend it. It has a lot of room for discussion.

You can write a whole essay about your position. Are you headed in the right direction?

Of course you are! Writing an essay is kinda the point here, after all.

A position is stated in the first body paragraph.

Clarity is a secondary concern when taking a position.

Do not exaggerate your position in an essay.

Where does your position belong, first and foremost?

In the introductory paragraph.

When should you  not reassess your position?

If you find that it is weak. 

Your position is defensible and has no possibility for argument. Is it a strong position for an essay?

No. If your position cannot be attacked, it might answer a closed question.

What is the definition of a prompt?

A writing prompt is an introduction to a topic as well as instruction on how to write about it. 

True or false, a prompt could be a picture.

What type of writing prompt would require a response that tells a story?

What type of writing prompt would require a response that formulates a hypothesis and uses evidence to support it?

What should you do after reading the prompt several times for information and with a critical eye?

Summarize the prompt in a sentence

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How to Structure an Essay | Tips & Templates

Published on September 18, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on November 11, 2022.

The basic structure of an essay always consists of an introduction , a body , and a conclusion . But for many students, the most difficult part of structuring an essay is deciding how to organize information within the body.

Table of contents

The basics of essay structure, chronological structure, compare-and-contrast structure, problems-methods-solutions structure, signposting to clarify your structure, frequently asked questions about essay structure.

There are two main things to keep in mind when working on your essay structure: making sure to include the right information in each part, and deciding how you’ll organize the information within the body.

Parts of an essay

The three parts that make up all essays are described in the table below.

Order of information

You’ll also have to consider how to present information within the body. There are a few general principles that can guide you here.

The first is that your argument should move from the simplest claim to the most complex . The body of a good argumentative essay often begins with simple and widely accepted claims, and then moves towards more complex and contentious ones.

For example, you might begin by describing a generally accepted philosophical concept, and then apply it to a new topic. The grounding in the general concept will allow the reader to understand your unique application of it.

The second principle is that background information should appear towards the beginning of your essay . General background is presented in the introduction. If you have additional background to present, this information will usually come at the start of the body.

The third principle is that everything in your essay should be relevant to the thesis . Ask yourself whether each piece of information advances your argument or provides necessary background. And make sure that the text clearly expresses each piece of information’s relevance.

The sections below present several organizational templates for essays: the chronological approach, the compare-and-contrast approach, and the problems-methods-solutions approach.

The chronological approach (sometimes called the cause-and-effect approach) is probably the simplest way to structure an essay. It just means discussing events in the order in which they occurred, discussing how they are related (i.e. the cause and effect involved) as you go.

A chronological approach can be useful when your essay is about a series of events. Don’t rule out other approaches, though—even when the chronological approach is the obvious one, you might be able to bring out more with a different structure.

Explore the tabs below to see a general template and a specific example outline from an essay on the invention of the printing press.

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Essays with two or more main subjects are often structured around comparing and contrasting . For example, a literary analysis essay might compare two different texts, and an argumentative essay might compare the strengths of different arguments.

There are two main ways of structuring a compare-and-contrast essay: the alternating method, and the block method.


In the alternating method, each paragraph compares your subjects in terms of a specific point of comparison. These points of comparison are therefore what defines each paragraph.

The tabs below show a general template for this structure, and a specific example for an essay comparing and contrasting distance learning with traditional classroom learning.

In the block method, each subject is covered all in one go, potentially across multiple paragraphs. For example, you might write two paragraphs about your first subject and then two about your second subject, making comparisons back to the first.

The tabs again show a general template, followed by another essay on distance learning, this time with the body structured in blocks.

An essay that concerns a specific problem (practical or theoretical) may be structured according to the problems-methods-solutions approach.

This is just what it sounds like: You define the problem, characterize a method or theory that may solve it, and finally analyze the problem, using this method or theory to arrive at a solution. If the problem is theoretical, the solution might be the analysis you present in the essay itself; otherwise, you might just present a proposed solution.

The tabs below show a template for this structure and an example outline for an essay about the problem of fake news.

Signposting means guiding the reader through your essay with language that describes or hints at the structure of what follows.  It can help you clarify your structure for yourself as well as helping your reader follow your ideas.

The essay overview

In longer essays whose body is split into multiple named sections, the introduction often ends with an overview of the rest of the essay. This gives a brief description of the main idea or argument of each section.

The overview allows the reader to immediately understand what will be covered in the essay and in what order. Though it describes what  comes later in the text, it is generally written in the present tense . The following example is from a literary analysis essay on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein .


Transition words and phrases are used throughout all good essays to link together different ideas. They help guide the reader through your text, and an essay that uses them effectively will be much easier to follow.

Various different relationships can be expressed by transition words, as shown in this example.

Because Hitler failed to respond to the British ultimatum, France and the UK declared war on Germany. Although it was an outcome the Allies had hoped to avoid, they were prepared to back up their ultimatum in order to combat the existential threat posed by the Third Reich.

Transition sentences may be included to transition between different paragraphs or sections of an essay. A good transition sentence moves the reader on to the next topic while indicating how it relates to the previous one.

… Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.

However , considering the issue of personal interaction among students presents a different picture.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

An essay isn’t just a loose collection of facts and ideas. Instead, it should be centered on an overarching argument (summarized in your thesis statement ) that every part of the essay relates to.

The way you structure your essay is crucial to presenting your argument coherently. A well-structured essay helps your reader follow the logic of your ideas and understand your overall point.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.

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Learning on Screen - The British Universities and Colleges Film and Video Council

Introductory guide to video essays.

Drawing on the inspiring work of pioneering educators and researchers engaging with this creative method, this guide aims to offer a research-led introduction for students, teachers and researchers approaching the video essay for the first time.

Home Guidance and Courses Introductory Guide to Video Essays

essay planning video

Introduction to Video essays

Studying and researching film through film.

A research-led introduction for students, teachers and researchers approaching the video essay for the first time.

essay planning video

Finding Coherence Across Journals

Guidelines and criteria for making, curating and publishing video essays.

A look at the existing guidelines for the production and evaluation of video essays.

essay planning video

How to Make Video essays

Preproduction, production, postproduction.

Considerations for planning, making and editing a video essay

essay planning video

Copyright Considerations

How copyright law regulates the creative reuse of existing materials.

Understanding the basic principles of copyright law when producing or using creative works

essay planning video


A selected list of journals and websites where you can publish video essays

essay planning video

Video essays as creative assessment method at SOAS, University of London

Reducing the uncertainty around creative assessment methods

Authors’ biographies, list of references and contact details

Launch Event

An online event organised by Learning on Screen in collaboration with SOAS, University of London.

10+ Essay Plan Examples [ Assignment, Academic, University ]

10+ essay plan examples, 1. essay plan template, 2. essay plan mind map template, 3. new essay plan template, 4. good essay plan, 5. assignment essay plan, 6. accessible essay plan, 7. outlining of essay plan, 8. argumentative essay plan, 9. semantic structure essay plan, 10. basic essay plan, 11. essay plan checklist, what is a good essay, what is the standard number of paragraphs per essay, what is the best way to start an essay plan.

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What is an Essay Plan?

10 steps for essay planning.

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How to write an essay

Did you know?

The word essay comes from the French word ‘essayer’ meaning ‘to try’ or ‘to attempt’. A French writer called Michel de Montaigne invented the essay in Europe as his ‘attempt’ to write about himself and his thoughts.

Introduction to how to write an essay

An essay is a piece of non-fiction writing with a  clear structure : an introduction, paragraphs with evidence and a conclusion. Writing an essay is an important skill in English and allows you to show your knowledge and understanding of the texts you read and study.

It is important to  plan  your essay before you start writing so that you write clearly and thoughtfully about the essay topic. Evidence , in the form of quotations and examples, is the foundation of an effective essay and  provides proof  for your points.

Video about planning an essay

Why do we write essays.

The purpose of an essay is to show your understanding, views or opinions in response to an essay question, and to persuade the reader that what you are writing makes sense and can be backed up with evidence. In a literature essay, this usually means looking closely at a text (for example, a novel, poem or play) and responding to it with your ideas.

Essays can focus on a particular section of a text, for example, a particular chapter or scene, or ask a big picture question to make you think deeply about a character, idea or theme throughout the whole text.

Often essays are questions, for example, ‘How does the character Jonas change in the novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry?’ or they can be written using command words to tell you what to do, for example ‘Examine how the character Jonas changes in the novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry.’

It is important to look carefully at the essay question or title so that you keep your essay focused and relevant. If the essay tells you to compare two specific poems, you shouldn’t just talk about the two poems separately and you shouldn’t bring in lots of other poems.

Which of these statements is false?

a) An essay is a piece of writing in response to an essay question or statement.

b) An essay in literature usually involves writing about a text (such as a novel, poem or play).

c) An essay allows you to write everything you know about everything that happens in a text.

Answer: c) This statement is incorrect. The essay question will tell you the topic to focus on.

Planning an essay

It is important to plan before you start writing an essay.

The essay question or title should provide a clear focus for your plan. Exploring this will help you make decisions about what points are relevant to the essay.

What are you being asked to consider?

Organise your thoughts. Researching, mind mapping and making notes will help sort and prioritise your ideas. If you are writing a literature essay, planning will help you decide which parts of the text to focus on and what points to make.

There are three main parts to an essay:


For more information, see our guide on how to write an introduction to an essay .

Main body, divided into paragraphs

This is where you take your ideas and explore them in detail in separate paragraphs. You might want to start each paragraph with a topic sentence that summarises the main idea of the paragraph before bringing in your evidence and examples. A topic sentence acts like a mini introduction to the paragraph.

For more information about conclusions, see our guide on how to write a conclusion to an essay .

Which of these is correct?

a) An essay consists of an introduction and conclusion only.

b) An essay has three parts: introduction, main body and conclusion.

c) An essay is three paragraphs long.

Answer: b) An essay has three parts: introduction, main body and conclusion.

Answering the question

When writing an essay it is important to answer the question and not just write everything you know about a particular subject. Part of the secret to writing a good essay is to carefully choose what is interesting and relevant.

To make sure you answer the question, the first step is to be clear: what does the essay want you to write about? In other words, what are the key words or phrases in the essay question or title?

The second step in answering the question is then to think about everything you do know about the topic and decide which ideas are the strongest and most interesting to write about.

If the essay asks you about one of the characters that must be your focus. For example, if you are asked to write about a character, like Jonas in The Giver , then it is not a good idea to spend paragraphs describing other characters – however important they might be to the story.

Which is correct?

Which of these sentences clearly answers the essay question: Why is the importance of memory a key theme in The Giver ?

a) In The Giver , Jonas’s community is obsessed with precision of language.

b) In The Giver , Lowry shows that without memory, it is difficult for people to understand their own history and make choices about their future.

c) Memory is a really important part of making a person who they are and many novels focus on memories including A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Answer: b) This is the only sentence that writes about both memory and the novel, The Giver .

Using evidence

Evidence is the foundation of an effective essay and provides proof for your points.

For an essay about a piece of literature, the best evidence will come from the text itself.

Back up each of your supporting statements with evidence. The evidence should be relevant and clearly connected to the point you’re making.

In a literary essay, evidence could take the form of:

True or false?

Evidence only includes quotations from the text.

Answer: False . Evidence includes referring to what happens in the text as well – it doesn’t always have to be in the form of a quotation.

Referring to literary devices

In literature essays, you are often asked to look closely at how the writer writes and analyse the language used. For example, what words and phrases does the writer use? Do they use any literary devices like metaphors or similes and what is the effect of them? Do they repeat words or create other patterns with language? It is worth looking carefully at quotations to notice what the writer is doing and why they might be doing it.

For example in The Giver , Jonas is given access to lots of memories – some wonderful, some painful. At one point, he receives a memory of a ‘bright, breezy day on a clear turquoise lake, and above him the white sail of the boat billowing as he moved along in the brisk wind.’ In an essay you could use this as an example of a positive memory that has been lost to everyone except Jonas and The Giver. You could then zoom in deeper on the quotation and comment on the language and its effect. You might notice the alliteration of the ‘b’ sound or the use of colour imagery to help to create such a positive memory.

In a literature essay it is useful to know how to use technical terms such as metaphor, simile or imagery. It is also useful to use technical vocabulary for writing about literature such as plot, character, setting or theme.

Explaining effects of language

In a literature essay it is not only important to be able to write about what happens or the big ideas of the text but also to look closely at the effect of the words and phrases from the text that you are using as evidence.

For example, in the novel, The Giver , it is clear that having access to years of memories is difficult. When Jonas ‘braced himself and entered the memory which was torturing The Giver’ it would be worth noting the use of the word ‘torture’ in an essay. So for example, you could write after using this quotation:

Lowry chooses the powerful word ‘torture’ to describe the memories and reveal to the reader that this is a painful process which creates terrible suffering.

Thinking about what to include in an essay first will make it easier to structure and write the essay. Your essay will be much more convincing if you can offer evidence for each of your ideas. A literature essay will also benefit from you knowing technical terms about literature and language and using them to explain and add depth to your ideas.

Test your knowledge

Writing in response to fiction, how to use evidence from a text.

How to write an introduction to an essay

How to write a conclusion to an essay

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However you look at it, getting started on an essay can be a challenge. There are likely to be a whole bunch of ideas swirling around in your head. Knowing how to assemble these into some sort of sense, then write them down in the form of a good academic essay, doesn’t always come easy!

One way to make essay writing much easier is by planning ahead. Planning is crucial in order for success: failing to plan is planning to fail! Do not leave your work until the last minute, instead, use this post as an essay planning guide that can lead you on the path to success.

There are two stages to essay planning. First, you need to map out what your essay will include. By outlining the contents of your essay before you write it, you’ll ensure you don’t miss any crucial detail, and that you give fair weight to each of the points of your argument.

After mapping out your essay, you can then make a schedule for yourself, deciding when you will work on each section to ensure you get in done in good time. Breaking your work down into manageable chunks like this will mean you can make a little bit of progress each day, instead of cramming at the last minute.

So, if you’re here because you’re thinking, “how do I plan an essay?” or, “what does an essay plan look like?” – you’re in the right place! We’ll answer these exact questions for you in this article.

Essay planning step 1: Creating a structure

It may be very tempting to just sit down and write, especially if you are on a tight deadline to finish an essay . But it’s crucial that before writing, you create – as a bear minimum! – a structure that details what your essay will cover.

Hopefully, you already have an idea or argument that you might like to pursue. Next, you need to decide how many body paragraphs you need to make that argument (and to meet the word limit criteria).

When planning your essay’s structure, you want to make sure that every paragraph has a focus (we call this the topic sentence). A paragraph is usually somewhere between 6-10 sentences in length, meaning that it is likely to be around 200-250 words (or at least this is a good place to start).

So how do you decide how many body paragraphs your essay will contain? Your first step is to divide up your paper. Let’s say you have to write 1500 words. You would have 150 words for your introduction and 150 words for your conclusion. This leaves you with 1200 words, which would mean you would need between 5-6 body paragraphs in the middle.

Your next job is to come up with 5-6 ideas, one for each paragraph (we explain this in more detail in the next part of this post).

"Writing 6 paragraphs of 200 words seems far more achievable than a solid block of 1500 words – and you can have a mini celebration after you finish each one."

Not only does segmenting the essay like this help you achieve your word count – it also makes it much easier to handle. The thought of writing 1500 words might seem a bit daunting at first. But, break it down into sections, and suddenly you only have to write 200-250 words for each. That seems much less intimidating! As you move from section to section, you will quickly see your essay start to emerge.

Essay planning step 2: Brainstorming or freewriting

Once you know how many ideas you need, the next step is writing down what you know (and what you still have to find out).

There are many ways that this can be achieved. You can either create a mind map, or just write out all your ideas on a piece of paper. As you do this, also keep in mind any questions you have, and the things you need to look up.

If you cannot come up with 5-6 ideas, start reviewing your lecture notes, lecture slides, and do some reading to see if you can identify the main ideas. At this point, your paper might look really messy (and that is OK!). This messiness will help you as you begin to construct your outline.

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Essay planning step 3: Constructing a detailed outline

Once you have done your brainstorming, it is time to take the messiness and put it into a neater format. While you might have done the brainstorm on a piece of scrap paper, you should start to write your outline on the computer, because what starts as an outline will gradually evolve into your actual essay.

"With every change you make, just make sure that you are keeping the question prompt in mind. If you write an excellent essay, but it has nothing to do with the assigned topic provided by the instructor, you are unlikely to do well."

The outline is a living document, which means that as you start to work on it, you may need to make changes (and that is OK!). With every change you make, just make sure that you are keeping the question prompt in mind. If you write an excellent essay, but it has nothing to do with the assigned topic provided by the instructor, you are unlikely to do well.

Here’s how we suggest you write the detailed outline for your essay:

1. Write your introduction (or thesis statement)

When you begin to think about your essay, you are probably going to need some type of overarching argument or position. This is commonly known as a thesis statement. While you do not have to have an exact thesis in your essay plan, having an idea about where you want to start is always useful.

A good thesis statement contains an argument or position and is followed by a strategy (like a road map) that explains how this will be achieved. Remember, even though it is called a thesis statement, it might be more than one sentence (and can be 2 or 3).

2. Write topic sentences for every paragraph

Every paragraph that you write has to relate to your thesis statement (and your thesis statement is answering the question provided by the instructor). A topic sentence is the first sentence in your body paragraph. It provides an overview of what is going to happen in the paragraph. You might want to think of your topic sentence as a mini-thesis, presenting the argument for one particular paragraph.

3. Include evidence

Once you have established a clear topic sentence, you have to figure out what evidence you are going to provide in the middle of each paragraph to make sure that you are getting your point across clearly. This is where you might start to use your readings (your textbook, library resources, and Google) to help you figure out what to include. At the outlining stage, you might just want to list the possible sources that you are going to use, or you can write a few notes about what each paragraph might contain.

4. Conclusion

At this stage, you don’t have to plan what the conclusion will say or include, since you haven’t yet written your essay and come to your concluding argument. But just make a note that this section will present your key takeaway for the reader and highlight how you have answered the essay question.

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An essay plan example

An essay plan is usually linear. Let’s look at the example below to see how an essay plan might come together. In this case, we are writing a 1500-word essay, and we are attempting to answer the question: What role can citizen diplomacy play in mitigating difficult interstate relations?

Introduction (150 words) Thesis statement This essay argues that while citizen diplomacy through dialogue should be pursued, the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME) has faced numerous challenges that have limited its overall impact in mitigating difficult interstate relations.

Section 1: Theory (400) Body paragraph 1 While many steps have been taken by governments to resolve the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, there has been a lack of sustainability between these two countries over time.

Body paragraph 2 While the Israel – Palestine conflict has extended for decades, the role that citizen diplomacy can play in large scale negotiations is minimal (Kaye, 2001).

Section 2: Example and Application (800) Body paragraph 3 The Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that was created in Frankfurt in 1998 by Palestinian and Israeli academics seeking to build peace through joint research projects and outreach initiatives (Yaniv, 2013). Body paragraph 4 Because the academics in PRIME are focused on strengthening the civil societies in both Israel and Palestine, they have published extensive literature since inception. Body paragraph 5 When applying concepts of citizen diplomacy to PRIME, it is important to assess the impact of the intervention being employed. Body paragraph 6 The creation of the Shared History Project was completed and introduced in schools in the early 2000s.

Conclusion (150 words) Present my key takeaway message for the reader and highlight how I have answered the instructor’s question.

Sources I might use Course reading: Kaye, D.D., 2001. Track two diplomacy and regional security in the Middle East. International Negotiation, 6(1), pp.49-77. Additional reading: Yaniv, L., 2013. People-to-People Peace Making: The Role of Citizen Diplomacy in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. CPD Best Student Paper Prize in Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy. NB: a 1500-word research essay might have between 6-12 total sources in the reference list when it is completed.

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Final thoughts

Once you have written an essay plan, you can begin to actually write out each of your body paragraphs into the corresponding sections. As you write, it might be simplest to start with the paragraphs that you think are going to be the easiest and move to the more difficult ones later.

Leave the introduction and the conclusion until the very end. By leaving these parts until last, you can make sure that the thesis that you wrote for your essay plan is still applicable for your essay. You can also make sure that your introduction and conclusion are providing the same messaging creating coherency and flow throughout.

Remember, there are lots of people who are willing to help you with your essay, so take advantage of the help of your university writing center or the academics at Oxbridge Essays. While writing an essay can be a challenging task, creating an essay plan is certainly one way to make the process easier!

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Descriptive Essay Writing

Descriptive Essay Examples

Cathy A.

Amazing Descriptive Essay Examples for Your Help

Published on: Jun 5, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023

descriptive essay examples

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Descriptive essays are very commonly assigned essays. This type of essay tends to enhance their writing skills and allow them to think critically.

A  descriptive essay  is often referred to as the parent essay type. Other essays like argumentative essays, narrative essays, and expository essays fall into descriptive essays. Also, this essay helps the student enhance their ability to imagine the whole scene in mind by appealing senses.

It is assigned to students of high school and all other students at different academic levels. Students make use of the human senses like touch, smell, etc., to make the descriptive essay more engaging for the readers.

Examples make an understanding of things better. But before moving on to the examples, let us have a quick look at how to write a good descriptive essay.

Examples make it easy for readers to understand things in a better way. Also, in a descriptive essay, different types of descriptions can be discussed.

Here are some amazing examples of a descriptive essay to make the concept easier for you.

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Descriptive Essay Example 5 Paragraph

Descriptive Essay Example 5 Paragraph 5 paragraphs  essay writing format  is the most common method of composing an essay.

5 Paragraph Descriptive Essay (PDF)

Descriptive Essay Example About A Person

Descriptive essays are the best option when it comes to describing and writing about a person. A descriptive essay is written using the five human senses. It helps in creating a vivid image in the reader’s mind and understanding what the writer is trying to convey.

Descriptive Essay Example About A Place

If you have visited a good holiday spot or any other place and want to let your friends know about it. A descriptive essay can help you explain every detail and moment you had at that place.

Descriptive Essay Example for Grade 6

Descriptive essays are frequently assigned to students of the school. This type of essay helps the students enhance their writing skills and helps them see things in a more analytical way.

Descriptive Essay Example for Grade 7

Descriptive Essay Example for Grade 8

Descriptive Essay Example for Grade 10

Essay writing is an inevitable part of the academic life of a student. No matter what grade you are in, you will get to write some sort of essay at least once.

Descriptive Essay Example for Grade 12

If you are a senior student and looking for some great descriptive essay examples for grade 12, you are exactly where you should be.

Descriptive Essay Example for University

Descriptive essays are assigned to students at all academic levels. University students are also assigned descriptive essay writing assignments. As they are students of higher educational levels, they are often given a bit of difficult and more descriptive topics.

Look at the below given example and see how a descriptive essay at the university level looks like.

Short Descriptive Essay Example

It is not necessary that every time a descriptive essay isn't written in detail. It totally depends on the topic of how long the essay will be.

Subjective Descriptive Essay Example

It is a common concept that a descriptive essay revolves around one subject. Be it a place, person, event, or any other object you can think of.

Following is one of the subjective descriptive easy examples. Use it as a guide to writing an effective descriptive essay yourself.

Writing a descriptive essay is a time-consuming yet tricky task. It needs some very strong writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Also, this is a type of essay that a student can not avoid and bypass.

But if you think wisely, work smart, and stay calm, you can get over it easily. Learn how to write a descriptive essay from a short guide given below.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay

A writer writes a descriptive essay from their knowledge and imaginative mind. In this essay, the writer describes what he has seen or experienced, or ever heard from someone. For a descriptive essay, it is important to stay focused on one point. Also, the writer should use figurative language so that the reader can imagine the situation in mind.

The following are some very basic yet important steps that can help you write an amazing descriptive essay easily.

For a descriptive essay, you must choose a vast topic to allow you to express yourself freely. Also, make sure that the topic you choose is not overdone. An overdone will not grab the attention of your intended audience.

A thesis statement is the essence of any academic writing. When you have selected the descriptive essay topic, then you create a strong thesis statement for your essay.

A  thesis statement  is a sentence or two that explains the whole idea of your essay to the reader. It is stated in the introductory paragraph of the essay. The word choice for creating the thesis statement must be very expressive, composed, and meaningful. Also, use vivid language for the thesis statement.

Once you have created the thesis statement and you are done writing the introduction for your essay, it's time to move towards the body paragraphs.

Collect all necessary information related to your topic. You would be adding this information to your essay to support your thesis statement. Make sure that you collect information from authentic sources.

To enhance your essay, make use of some adjectives and adverbs. To make your descriptive essay more vivid, try to incorporate sensory details like touch, taste, sight, and smell.

An outline is yet another necessary element of your  college essay . By reading the outline, the reader feels a sense of logic and a guide for the essay.

In the outline, you need to write an introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs and end up with a formal conclusion.

Proofreading is a simple procedure in which the writer revises the written essay. This is done in order to rectify the document for any kind of spelling or grammatical mistakes. Thus, proofreading makes content high quality and gives a professional touch to it.

You might be uncertain about writing a good enough descriptive essay and impress your teacher.However, it is very common so you do not need to stress out.

Hit us up at and get a descriptive essay written by our  professional writers . We aim to facilitate the students in every way possible and to ease their stress. Get in touch with our customer support team, and they will take care of all your queries related to your writing.

Place your  order now  and let all your stress go away in a blink!

Cathy A. (Literature, Marketing)

For more than five years now, Cathy has been one of our most hardworking authors on the platform. With a Masters degree in mass communication, she knows the ins and outs of professional writing. Clients often leave her glowing reviews for being an amazing writer who takes her work very seriously.

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A Trump Judge’s Tantrum at Stanford Law Was Part of a Bigger Plan

Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan went to Stanford Law School looking for a fight , and he got one. The ultraconservative judge, a Donald Trump nominee, ostensibly visited the campus on Thursday to talk about “COVID, guns, and Twitter” at an event sponsored by the Stanford Federalist Society. But once in the classroom, he immediately faced protesters who shouted questions about his hostility to civil rights, especially LGBTQ equality. Duncan came prepared, striding into the room with his camera out to film the event so he could “ make a record ” of their demonstration. After an administrator and a student leader quieted the protesters, the judge skipped his speech and moved directly to Q&A. He then insulted various students (“ you are an appalling idiot ,” the judge told one) while refusing to engage with their questions. After departing, the judge embarked upon a conservative media tour , declaring that the “coddled law students” behaved like “dogshit” and urging Stanford to discipline them.

Duncan got the attention he so obviously wanted, drawing instant support from GOP senators and Fox News . He emerged as a folk hero on the right, the audacious judge who punched back at crybullies on the left who tried to silence his free speech. Yes, his behavior was injudicious; that was the point. The judge has likely concluded that conducting himself like a truculent provocateur will increase his odds of advancing to the Supreme Court under a future Republican president.

This calculation is perfectly rational. Duncan is far from the only Trump nominee who is currently auditioning for SCOTUS. At Stanford Law, the judge saw an opportunity to brandish his demagogic bona fides. Nobody should be surprised that he ran with it.

Before turning to the strategic element of Duncan’s very public tantrum, it’s worth clearing up some misinformation about the event. The initial narrative was heavily shaped by a video and accompanying Twitter thread posted by Ed Whelan, a conservative commentator best known for falsely accusing one of Brett Kavanaugh’s classmates of sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford on the basis of Zillow floor plans . At the start of Whelan’s video , it sounds as if progressive protesters “shouted down” Duncan ( in Whelan’s words ), preventing him from delivering prepared remarks.

As multiple firsthand accounts and videos demonstrate, that is not what happened. In reality, at the start of those remarks, the protesters peppered the judge with questions and criticisms but did not drown out his speech. Instead, a frustrated Duncan asked for an administrator to step in to tamp down the heckling. At that point, Tirien Steinbach, the associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion (and a Black woman), approached the judge. In the video, it appears he did not recognize that she was the administrator he had requested; “You’re an administrator?” he asked. Students began shouting to explain to the judge that Steinbach was an administrator (and that is when Whelan’s video begins). Reluctantly, Duncan let Steinbach speak. She told the students that she agreed with their criticisms of Duncan, but that they had to let him express his views. (Duncan responded that she had participated in a “setup.”) Steinbach also invited protesters to leave if they wanted to, and many exited. Videos reviewed by Slate show that a student leader of the protests then asked the audience to stay silent so Duncan could talk. They did.

The judge, however, decided he no longer wished to deliver his prepared remarks, and instead moved straight to a Q&A. Students responded with harsh but important questions about his jurisprudence, especially his adamant refusal to use a transgender litigant’s preferred pronouns. Duncan dismissed many of the questions and responded to others with insults. (For instance, he accused the protesters of asking “When did you stop beating your wife–type questions.”) Finally, he prematurely cut off Q&A and left.

As Duncan told legal commentator David Lat , he knew his speech would be protested. That’s why he walked into the school with his phone out, recording student protesters (and taking care to get close-up shots of their faces). As one source told Lat, Duncan looked “more like a YouTuber storming the Capitol, than a federal judge coming to speak.” This source expressed surprise that the judge did not “prepare himself to stay composed.” But videos of the event, combined with Duncan’s behavior on the bench so far, strongly suggest that he did prepare himself—not to “stay composed,” but to belligerently insult the protesters with schoolyard taunts.

Recall that this man made his way to the bench by being a professional bully. Before his elevation to the 5 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018, Duncan tried to revoke gay parents’ rights over their adopted children , defended same-sex marriage bans , and fought against the rights of transgender schoolchildren. He condemned the constitutional right to same-sex marriage as a “license” to “persecute churches” and an “abject failure,” warning that it “imperils civic peace.” (Asked about the “civic peace” comment on Thursday, Duncan gestured toward the largely LGBTQ audience, as if they proved him right.) In his current position, he wrote a cruel, petty opinion misgendering a trans litigant while mocking the very notion of gender identity and preferred pronouns. Duncan has consistently voted with the most radical bloc on the far-right 5 th Circuit; in one particularly notorious case, he sought to force the military to deploy unvaccinated SEALs over their commanders’ objections. (The Supreme Court soon overruled him.)

In 2023, none of that is necessarily enough to place Duncan on the shortlist for the next GOP president’s Supreme Court nominee—particularly if that president turns out to be Trump. Several of his fellow Trump nominees on the 5 th Circuit are outflanking him: James Ho fills his opinions with rants against abortion , gun control , woke corporations , cancel culture , and other conservative hobbyhorses of the moment; he also launched a headline-grabbing boycott of clerks from Yale Law School. Duncan’s and Ho’s 5 th Circuit colleague Andrew Oldham has become a vociferous critic of Big Tech’s alleged silencing of conservative voices and a law-and-order zealot . Over on the 9 th Circuit, Judge Lawrence VanDyke has accused his liberal colleagues of playing “dirty,” declared that they should be “embarrassed” for siding with immigrants, mocked them for caring about mass shootings, compared them to criminals with “rap sheets,” and likened them to “a sullen kid who spits in the cookie jar after being caught red-handed.”

This outrageous conduct may seem shocking to those who expect judges to adhere to the Judicial Code of Conduct by behaving with humility and restraint (and by treating their colleagues with basic dignity). But as attorney Matthew Stiegler noted on Monday, these jurists are making a rational calculation. Writing careful, serious opinions is no longer a viable path to SCOTUS. The conservative legal movement is increasingly looking for judges who approach the job with a politician’s instinct for ruthless demolition of the opponent. John Roberts’ style of polite, restrained conservatism is out, jettisoned in favor of brawling, fiery radicalism. Trump and his advisers—most importantly, Federalist Society co-chair Leonard Leo —chose judges like Duncan because they represent a younger generation of jurists who defend their beliefs with rancor and fury.

Members of this new guard know what they were put on the bench to do. They are cheered on in conservative media and welcomed as heroes by the GOP. And when a Supreme Court vacancy opens under the Republican president, whether it’s Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Josh Hawley, or some other demagogue, these judges will be first in line for a promotion. The cycle is already repeating itself: Hard-right Federalist Society judges tend to hire similar-minded clerks, creating a radicalization machine that pushes new conservative lawyers further and further to the extreme. When Federalist Society members in law school pull a stunt like blocking a progressive student’s graduation or flashing a gun in Zoom class , they are merely emulating their future bosses.

These developments are the logical result of the Republican Party’s longtime mantra “No More Souters.” Initially, this principle required a record of ideological purity. But that is no longer enough. There are now dozens of appeals court judges who are certain to remain staunch conservatives if lifted up to SCOTUS. What Republicans want now is performative fidelity to the cause: a Trumpian instinct for punching back twice as hard and a total commitment to the whole package of modern conservatism, trolling and gaslighting included. It is not enough for the next GOP justice to be to the right of Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. He must also yearn for a street fight with his ideological foes.

In past opinions and public appearances, Duncan has not exhibited these qualities; he typically comes across as droll and slightly reserved. On Thursday, he rebranded, premiering a far more combative persona who’s hellbent on owning the libs. His decision to insult law students like a shameless, juvenile partisan reads like a bid for praise from the Republican power brokers who control judicial appointments. There’s already a crowded field of frontrunners for the next GOP seat on the Supreme Court. But with this provocation, Duncan may have moved toward the front of the pack.


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