Planning An Essay

Begin with the basic reading: All essays need a structure that is logical and coherent.An essay plan gives you a quick way of trying out different structures.

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Refer to the Guide Organising your time for more information on action planning.

Before you can begin to select material for your essay, you need to make sure that you understand the exact requirements of the question.

Being organised before you begin writing your essay will make the writing process quicker and easier.

Good preparation and planning gives you a clear overview of your material so you can see the best way to organise your points.

This guide shows you the key steps in preparing and planning an essay effectively.

Other useful guides: Writing essays; Thought mapping; Referencing and bibliographies.An example of a non-linear essay plan using key words and phrases Experiment with different styles of planning essays and use the method that you find most useful.Make as many essay plans as you need to find the best sequence for your material.Download an essay plan template This video suggests a way of planning your essay. You can book a 1-2-1 tutorial for essay help with an RLF Fellow. Your tutors may ask to see an essay plan but even if you do not need to hand it in, it is essential to your essay.Here is a linear plan: (click on the image to enlarge).Jump to a relevant section to learn how to write an essay plan or learn how our experts can help you by writing a custom essay plan: The first thing to do when planning an essay is to look carefully at the question.This may sound obvious but more students fail because they misread the question than for most other reasons, so it is essential that you read through and identify what the question is asking.You will need to look at the key texts for the subject you are going to discuss and jot down references from each piece to use as quotes to support the points you make in your essay.It is a good idea to look at the references and bibliographies of these texts as they will give you more ideas about how to extend your own research.Remember that all referencing, in your in-text quotes and your reference list and/or bibliography, must be in the referencing style required by your school, college or university.These are very different but employ two basic styles: You need to find out precisely which style is adopted by your academic institution and adhere to it strictly as the structure and formatting of the reference differs from type to type.


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