Writing an Essay Plan: Easy Steps for Every Student

10 Jun 2019

Before finally getting their diplomas, most students need to write a really huge bunch of essays. So, how can they make their writing processes more effective? Are there any secret strategies that will save their time while simultaneously ensuring excellent outcomes? Yes, there are. One of such strategies is starting with an essay plan. If you learn how to develop a plan and use it during the draft writing process, you’ll definitely succeed. Essay planning brings many benefits. It increases quality of research. It improves logical structure of your argument. It enables you to assess supporting evidence and choose those that are most appealing before you actually start writing. Finally, good plan inevitably transforms into an excellent essay your tutor will appreciate reading. Whether you should write a paper for university, college, or an HSC examination, consider these easy tips that will make your writing more professional.

Essay Plan Elements

If you already wonder how to plan an essay, here are some guidelines everyone should use, disregarding the previous experience. Essay planning suggests that students create a kind of “skeleton” for their future essay on the preparation phase. It should contain several elements that are compulsory for virtually every kind of essay:

  • Thesis statement – This is the main argument you are planning to support in your essay. It is particularly relevant for argumentative essays, but mind that any other type also should have a thesis. If you cannot come up with a thesis at a preparation stage, write a purpose statement instead. But be sure to substitute it with proper thesis in your final paper.
  • Main points – Research your topic well in order to come up with some points that should be included in the final draft. These points should be directly related to your thesis and presented in topic sentences. An average college paper should have at least three main ideas. Though their exact number usually depends on the length and purpose.
  • Supporting evidence – Each main idea should be well argued. While researching and reviewing various credible sources, look for common themes that appear in literature, assessing whether they’ll improve your own argument. Mind that you are able to utilise both arguments that support your claims and those that contradict it. Refuting arguments that are opposite to your own perspective is a good persuasive strategy, which make readers agree with your position. Remember that each piece of evidence should be properly cited following the formatting style that your tutor demands.
  • Clear structure – Previous elements indicate what students should include in their essay plans, but this element is about how they should present information. While planning an essay, develop a clear vision of its structure. You should either use already available templates (you can always Google a few without much effort) or create one of your own. We’ll later provide a sample plan you can utilise for planning your own essays.

Effectively Mapping Out Your Essay

As we’ve clarified some aspects pertaining to essay layout, let’s talk more closely about the planning process. Here are some specific steps by taking which students will end up with a workable plan they’ll eventually transform into an excellent paper.

Step one. Deciding on the purpose of writing and researching a chosen topic.

When students are already familiar with a topic, they write down a working thesis and do some research narrowing its scope to the points highlighted in this statement. But if the topic is new, start with a research. Depending on your original intent (it might be either examination, description, or persuasion among many others), think of a specific purpose you pursue in context of your topic. As topics tutors provide are often quite general, this helps to significantly narrow the scope of your research.

Step two. Developing an appealing thesis statement.

Based on knowledge gained during research, create a thesis that argues particular position. Mind that a thesis not only explains student’s major position, but also briefly presents some evidence supporting it. Strong thesis is a necessary component of a future structure.

Step three. Outlining a structure.

Developing a structure is particularly easy if your thesis already lists main points for an essay. Students just need to decide how they’ll further subdivide their points to best support their position. When developing structure, students should decide which of the possible sub-points are worth mentioning, and write them down into their plans.

Step four. Choosing supporting evidence.

While planning an essay, each student should support main ideas as well as outlined sub-points with particular arguments. They may use quotes, examples, statistics, paraphrases, or summaries in a manner that brings support to their own points. When looking for evidence, remember that your own words and ideas should make up the majority of the essay content. Otherwise, your writing won’t be original.

Step five. Adding relevant words and phrases depending on an essay type.

Another important aspect I suggest you clarify on the essay planning stage is type-specific word choice. Each type of an essay suggests students include words that provide hints on their major intent for writing. For instance, compare and contrast essays demand to include comparing and contrasting phrases and words (like/unlike, on the one hand/on the other hand, or similar to/in contrast to). List some linking words you’ll use in your draft.

Step six. Making conclusions.

Conclusion making is also an important part of planning. Consider answering these questions: So what? What contribution does this research make to a larger academic conversation? How can my position improve the existing situation? What makes my position important? Mind that students should not present any new information in their conclusions, unless this information directly follows from arguments presented in the body paragraphs.

Essay Plan Example

Still wonder how to write an essay plan despite all those tips and steps? Then use this sample essay plan:


Thesis statement: In order to put an end to human trafficking in Australia as a social phenomenon, authority should join their efforts with journalists and social activists, because raising awareness along with providing support to victims is as important as arresting those responsible for this crime.

Body paragraph 1. Main point 1: It is not enough to arrest people who earn by trafficking others.

Sub-point 1.1: Although it is a crime against a person, trafficking generates profits for those who are involved in this illegal business.

Evidence 1.1. Find a quote, data, summary, statistics or other information.

Sub-point 1.2: It is challenging to catch people who are really responsible for trade of human-beings in Australia.

Evidence 1.2. Provide statistics, or quote from source, summary, or other info.

Sub-point 1.3: Arrests will not resolve the issue because other criminals will substitute those arrested, looking for huge profits.

Evidence 1.3. Insert summary, or statistics, quote or other data.

Sentence of conclusion and transition

Body paragraph 2 (has the same structure)

2: It is important to raise people’s awareness.

2.1: Authority representatives can attract journalists to tell people about the issue of trafficking.

2.1. Quote from the source, find statistics, or summary, or other information.

2.2: It is important to highlight the victims' experiences and negative consequences for Australia and society in general.

2.2. Insert a quote, or statistics, summary, or other info.

2.3: By telling about trade of humans and its threat, journalists can save vulnerable communities, particularly youth, from becoming victims.

2.3. Find a quotation, summary, data or other information.

Concluding sentence + transition

Conclusion paragraph

Restate the thesis and provide main ideas from the body of the paper.

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It is important to eliminate human trafficking, because while benefitting a few criminals, it brings damage to individual victims as well as society as a whole.

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Planning an essay is rather challenging. Whether you know a topic or not, you always gain some new knowledge, while looking for interesting facts to cite. Now, you can follow our steps and examples to complete your essay plans really quickly. But if your schedule is too busy or there are other priorities you’d rather pursue, then don’t spend your valuable time on tasks someone else can do really well for you. Our writers possess the necessary experience and expertise, and they are here for you. So, use EduBirdie platform as a means to get the desired result in the most effective manner. Remember that wise decisions always pay off!

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