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How to Plan an Essay?

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The question of planning has always been a problem for both students pursuing a degree and adults chasing a successful career. Because we live in the world where everything happens so quickly, many of us find themselves in the situation where there is no time for such thing as planning. It all starts from when we become students and is usually continued throughout the rest of our lives. Today we want to help students cope with this challenge of planning by providing some insightful tips on essay planning. Young people in schools and colleges face this kind of assignment so often that we thought that learning how to plan an essay can develop a habit for planning which will be beneficial in future as well. This article will be especially relevant for those who have never developed an essay plan.

Importance of the Essay Planning Process

Although the process of planning isn’t complicated at all, many people still choose to ignore it thinking that by doing so they will save time and get down to writing right away. The truth of the matter is that very often things go easier and quicker when you have your ideas organized which is why planning is so important. Having an essay plan prior to writing this type of paper is like having a route laid out on the map when you need to get to a place you have never been to. It is so much easier to get it done when you know what you are doing as opposed to improvising. Additionally, a well-planned essay usually has a better structure and helps the readers to follow all the points easily.

Now that you know how important the process of essay planning is, you can develop an essay plan next time you have this type of assignment. But before you even sit to develop a plan, you have to understand the requirements well. If you misunderstand the assignment then the entire planning process will not help to deliver a high quality writing. Most essay assignments are formulated either as a question to answer or a statement to comment on. Planning your essay as well as writing one should always be based on the question/statement/argument given as a requirement, not any other aspect of the topic.

A Step-By-Step Guide on Essay Planning

  1. Study the essay statement/question given. You have to know what you are going to write about. Keep in mind that the irrelevant content of your essay will always result in a poor grade no matter how well you have put down your thoughts on a paper. In order to prevent that from happening, you have to fully understand the essay statement or question.
  2. Spend at least 20 minutes brainstorming the ideas that come to your mind about the topic. What are your thoughts on the subject area? Are there any things you think would be good to include in the essay? Write everything down, don’t rely on your memory. It is important that you put down everything that comes to your mind in regards to the subject area. You can filter out the ideas later.
  3. Think about words and even phrases that you believe are critically important for the essay. Those words and phrases will probably have a heavy weight. Write them all down. These will form a core of your essay writing.
  4. Now you can move on to the development of the main points of your essay plan. Every point you want to include should answer the question given. Make sure you are on the right track by talking to a tutor – this will give you confidence and boost your desire to write. You can build up a detailed outline/plan by skimming through course materials and lecture handouts. But be careful not to make your outline too complicated; you should stick to the main points. Besides, everything should be relevant.
  5. When you have the points ready, write down the sources where you would be able to find the information needed for each of the points. It would be also a good idea to note which of the points may need a further research. 
  6. When you have your main points of the plan developed along with the sources of information, think about how many words you need to write for each of the sections. The main body should have the greatest number of words. Subsidiary points need less attention of yours in terms of number of words you decide to write on a particular aspect. Essays have word limits which you have to consider when planning your essay. Keep in mind that you may be penalized for going over or under the word limit.

Final Notes

Obviously, you may have to incorporate some changes to your outline when you get down to writing. But there is nothing wrong with that. It is recommended though not to make any major changes unless you are 100% sure how it will go from there. We hope that after reading the tips given above you now know how to plan an essay. This should make the whole writing process much more efficient. If you develop a habit for planning by developing such essay plans in a college, it can become a great advantage in future when you are going to be dealing with the job search. Even in everyday life effective planning can help anticipate and cope with upcoming challenges so there is no good reason for not learning how to do the planning.

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