Basic Essay Outline

Writing a basic essay outline is a bit like building a house. Decide on a design (essay topic and genre), draft the plan (your outline), purchase the material (brainstorm your words and ideas) and then start ‘building’.

The ‘building’ or end product is only as good as the planning that preceded it.

The more time and attention spent planning the finer details will pay off in the long term. The planning stage is often the most neglected one as students often rush into the final draft fearful of time limitations. When the clock is ticking, remember to pay attention to the planning, it will serve as a guideline and keep you headed in the right direction.

Better planning brings better marks.

 Essay Writing 1

Your essay outline will have three parts: a beginning or introduction, the middle (the body) and the end (conclusion).

  1. Write your heading top left or centre of the page. 
  2. The Introduction
    • Keep the start of your essay short and to the point.
    • Start with a good attention grabber and involve the reader right away.
    • If you are writing a factual essay explain why you have chosen the topic and the conclusion that you hope to prove.
    • Briefly mention the points that you will be covering.
  3. The Body
  4. Brings the bulk of your story or states the points and gives the supporting information for each point.
  5. The Conclusion
  6. Summarises your supporting information and highlights how you have reached your conclusion. It is important to tie up all the loose ends, don’t leave your reader thinking. Provide a satisfying outcome to a story.
  7. Citations
  8. List your citations (references) if you have used other sources of material.
Writing an essay outline is easy and helps you organise your thoughts and ideas from start to finish.

Recommended Links

Comprehensive essay help in a nutshell

How to Write an Introduction

How to Write a Conclusion

Classic brainstorming techniques and brainstorming methods.

Useful essay tips.

Argumentative essay outline samples.

Types of essays

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