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How to plan an essay

We all want to do well when it comes to our uni work, and a bulk of those marks come from writing essays. They can be difficult, time-consuming and a lot of work, but all that becomes a lot easier when you plan it all out.

This can help you get your thoughts in order, figure out what you’d like to say, and help make your argument both cohesive and eloquent.

Firstly, it’s a good idea to take some time to really study the essay question posed to you. What is it asking you to do exactly?

Jot down some notes about which words are the most important in the essay title and think about how to include them in your argument. Personally, I find it helpful to highlight or underline words I find important and write down why they are important and how I can incorporate them into my essay.

Once you feel you have a good grasp on what you are being asked to do, maybe jot down some ideas to put forth a solid argument. It’s a good idea to try and come up with at least two or three good points to argue and maybe try to include some counterpoints.

This is also a good time in the planning process to try and find some secondary material to help inspire some of your thoughts, as well as to support some of your claims. Keeping a document with all the useful quotes you find, along with the page numbers, authors and title of the books or journals you come across can make referencing easier and help ensure your essay is the best it can be.

Then break down each section focusing on what the main argument will be, and bullet point what you plan on saying and some of the critical material you have found. After this, you should have quite a detailed plan in place to help you get writing and make sure you don’t miss out any important points.

It is also beneficial to be able to see whether your arguments are truly answering the essay question or not, and it gives you a chance to revise what you plan on writing. Once this is all done, it will make writing the essay a lot easier as most of the hard work is done and you will just be able to focus on writing.

This article is featured on Learning at Lincoln.