Tips on Writing an Effective Essay Outline from

As a rule, the importance of writing an essay outline is greatly underestimated. Most students simply do not understand all the benefits it provides but rather consider it a simple waste of their precious time. Nevertheless, an effective outline is crucial. It can help you get a rough idea of how to organize all the information properly and make your paper logical. In the modern academic practice, very few professors demand their students to submit such an outline before writing an assignment. Some tutors ask to fill in a ready essay outline template; however, more frequently, the choice of whether to prepare an outline or not is all up to you.

There are numerous strategies and ways of writing essay outlines. In fact, there are no strict rules but only general guidelines that are supposed to help you arrange all the data and ideas in your paper.

Step One: The Theory

Look for an essay outline example on the Internet. Having a good sample can be rather beneficial. It is always better to start with studying the theory. More than likely, it will not take you much time; however, you will be able to develop your own strategy that will be the most convenient and effective to you.

Step Two: Getting Started

When you have learned how to write an essay outline, you can proceed to the first stage, which is the evaluation of the assignment instructions.

Check the questions below and try to answer all of them precisely and unambiguously.

  • Is the topic of your written assignment appropriate?

As a rule, professors provide their students with a definite topic or list of topics. However, sometimes, you will receive only general guidelines and will have to come up with something on your own. In such a case, make sure the topic is interesting, appealing, and relevant. On the one hand, try to avoid overworked ideas; on the other hand, make sure you can cope with what you choose and achieve the stated result.

  • Do you understand what your tutor wants to see in your paper?

If you want to earn a high grade for the assignment, you have to know what exactly your instructor will assess. You should better discuss all unclear issues with him or her before beginning your essay. Otherwise, most probably, you will have to do numerous revisions or simply get unsatisfactory feedback.

  • What is your thesis statement? Is it strong and persuasive? What are you going to prove or discuss?

Do not start writing unless you have defined a subject and come up with the point of view you are going to develop in your paper.

Step Three: Formulating Ideas

Once the topic of your paper is defined, include 3-5 main ideas concerning the chosen subject to your essay outline. You might need some more for longer or more complicated assignments, for example, a dissertation or thesis; however, for an essay, 5 are more than enough. Each of these sub-points should relate to the main topic and develop it in some way. Later on, you will use them when preparing the body paragraphs. Make sure you address the subject thoroughly and comprehensively; consider all the arguments and counterarguments.

Step Four: Prove Your Point

Support each idea with some proof. You can use both primary and secondary sources as well as own experience. The nature of evidence will depend on the instructions and type of the essay to be prepared.

Step Five: Sketch a Conclusion

Write a brief conclusion that will summarize your thesis in the light of the facts and evidence discussed in the body. Remember, do not copy-paste the thesis statement but rather restate the main idea.

The narrative essay outline will have a bit different structure as neither evidence nor arguments and counterarguments are required. You will have only to make sure there are no flaws and inconsistencies in your essay while the text is creative and interesting.