Composing a Strong Essay Outline in 4 Steps

Good writing is heavily dependent on good preparation techniques. In order for you to write your essay properly you will need to devote enough time to the creation of your essay outline. Here are four major steps you will need to follow to achieve that.

  1. Understand your assignment

    Writing your essay while harboring misconceptions about what is required of you is one of the easiest ways to expend loads of effort and still receive low marks. Make sure you know precisely what the person who gave the instructions had in mind and if there are any hidden instructions that you should be reading in between the lines to discover. This will also help you to pick the topic that’s best for the moment if that decision rests with you.

  2. Break the topic down into ordered points

    Once you understand the assignment you can look at your topic critically and break it down into relevant points that you can explore in each paragraph. The proper order that these points should be put into will also emerge at this stage and you may find yourself culling the less promising points if they weaken the overall impact of your essay.

  3. Find supporting material

    Good essays usually require facts to support them. Only very few types of essays can be supported entirely by beautiful writing style and anecdotes. Make sure that you find adequate supporting material for each of your points and make note of it. By including adequate references at this stage you will also make it easier to cite your work later on when you move from the outline stage to the actual creation of the essay.

  4. Do basic introductions and conclusions

    It may seem nonsensical to wait til the end of your essay outline to create the introduction right alongside the conclusion but it’s actually a useful technique. It allows you to map out the body of the essay first so that the introduction matches it better. It also stops you from making the introduction and conclusion too similar by allowing you to compare them side by side as you work on them.

The four tips given above can give you a great starting point for an essay in the form of a solid outline. Just remember that the essay itself will still need a great deal of work after this stage to reach the level where it’s ready for submission.