How to Write an Essay Plan

Our academics share their profound experience with you
Written by

Essay planning might seem like a waste of time, but it’s not! In fact, planning your essays will save you time and energy in the long-run.

This is because it’s much easier to write an essay that’s already been planned. You won’t need to worry about which point should come next or whether your argument is strong enough. Instead, you can focus purely on writing the essay.

So, if you want to ease the stress of essay writing and improve your grades, make essay planning a priority!

How will planning improve my grades?

Essays plans can:

  • Help you create a clear structure
  • Help you distribute the word count evenly
  • Prevent you from missing material out
  • Help you build a strong argument
  • Allow you to get feedback (many tutors will look at essay plans)
  • Alleviate writer’s block (when it comes to writing the essay)

Once you’ve written a few essay plans, you’ll appreciate just how much value they can add to your essays.

What does an essay plan look like?

An essay plan is a skeleton outline of your essay. It summarises what will be included in each paragraph and how the paragraphs will link together. It also states how many words will be used in each section, and the key references that’ll be used. Check out the essay plan template below for more details.

Essay plan template

Essay title: [….]

Introduction – […] words

  • Engage with the essay question: [….]
  • State your position or argument: [….]
  • State any theories or frameworks that will inform the essay (if applicable): […]
  • Outline the structure of the essay: [….]

Paragraph 1 – […] words

  • Outline your first key point: [….]
  • Provide evidence (empirical research, theories, examples etc): [….]
  • Consider any criticisms of the above, then rebut: […]
  • Restate the main point and its relevance to the overall argument, link to next paragraph: […]

Paragraph 2 – […] words

  • Outline your second key point: [….]
  • Provide evidence (empirical research, theories, examples etc): [….]
  • Consider any criticisms of the above, then rebut […]
  • Restate the main point and its relevance to the overall argument, link to next paragraph: […]

Paragraph 3 – […] words

  • Outline third key point: [….]
  • Provide evidence (empirical research, theories, examples etc): [….]
  • Consider any criticisms of the above, then rebut […]
  • Restate the main point and its relevance to the overall argument: […]

Conclusion – […] words

  • Revisit the essay question and re-state your position/argument: [….]
  • Summarise the points from each paragraph: [….]
  • Offer a slightly new perspective and leave a lasting impression: [….]

References

  • List the key references to be used: [….]

Total word count: […]

It’s worth mentioning that essay plans aren’t perfect. They provide an outline of the essay, but some elements will probably change during the write-up process. In many ways, writing an essay plan is like planning a car journey. You’ll have a clear sense of where you’re going, but you might have to take some detours along the way.

A step-by-step guide to filling in the essay plan

If the essay plan template looks daunting then don’t worry, try breaking it down into stages:

1. Interpret and rephrase the essay question

You’ll see that the first stage of the essay plan asks you to ‘engage with the essay question’.

Often, essays fail because they haven’t answered the question. That said, you should begin by making sure you understand the essay question. To do this, take a copy of the essay title and highlight the most important phrases. Then, slightly rephrase the question, and add it to your essay plan.

As an example,

Essay title (bold): Critically evaluate the impact of the gig economy on employment relations.

Engage with the essay question: This essay critically evaluates what the gig economy means for employment relations issues, particularly workers’ rights and work-life balance.

2. State your position or argument

As shown above, the next stage of the essay plan is to state your position or argument. You will need to have done some research/background reading to get a sense of what you want to ‘argue’ in your essay. As an example,

State your position or argument: Above all, it is argued that the ‘big players’ in the gig economy (e.g. UBER, Deliveroo) have undermined centuries of employment relations progress, which has left some workers feeling exploited.

3. Choose your key points

Once you’ve planned your introduction, it’s time to choose the themes that will be covered in your paragraphs. You should only include one key point per paragraph. Example:

Paragraph 1 – 150 words

  • Outline your first key point: Some gig economy workers are labelled as ‘independent contractors’, rather than ‘workers’ (even though they do the duties of ‘workers’). This means that they are not entitled to employment rights such as sick pay and holiday pay. By labelling their staff as ‘independent contractors’, these companies undermine workers’ rights.
  • Provide evidence (empirical research, theories, examples etc): Deliveroo will be used as an example. Employee experiences reported in the press (see Smith, 2018) and journal articles relating to this case will be cited (see Adams, 2019). Also, employment rights legislation will be presented (Gov, 2020).
  • Consider any criticisms of the above, then rebut: Independent workers’ unions have helped some gig-economy workers fight back and achieve ‘worker’ status. This suggests that the gig economy is not inevitably exploitative. However, the unions have not been able to achieve ‘worker’ status for Deliveroo riders, despite fighting hard.
  • Restate the main point and its relevance to the overall argument, link to next paragraph: As such, this substantiates the suggestion that some gig economy companies have undermined centuries of workers’ rights progress. As such, it can be said that some gig economy companies are leaving workers vulnerable to exploitation. Indeed, another exploitative facet of the gig economy is that workers often carry a high ‘burden of responsibility’ but are not comparatively compensated, as is explored in the next paragraph.

If you want to learn more about how to structure your paragraphs, check out our guidance on how to structure an essay.

4. Gather the evidence

When writing your plan, make a note of the key sources you will use in your essay. You’ll notice that under each paragraph, it says to ‘Provide evidence (empirical research, theories, examples etc)’.

It’s advisable to include at least one reference per paragraph. The more references you can gather before you start writing your essay, the better! Also, put the full citation in the ‘Reference list’ section of your essay plan so that you don’t lose it.

5. Offer a slightly new perspective and leave a lasting impression

Good essay conclusions don’t just repeat material that was discussed in the essay. Rather, they offer a slightly advanced perspective on the material that was discussed in the essay. This ‘advanced’ perspective can be quite difficult to plan for as it is often realised as a result of actually writing the essay.

However, this point has still been included in the essay plan template as it acts as a reminder. Want more tips on how to write an essay conclusion? Check out our detailed guidance!

6. Divide up the word count

You will notice that, next to each paragraph on the essay plan, there’s a space to fill in the suggested word count. Dividing up the word count before you start writing will stop you from exceeding the word limit when you write up your essay.

Essays are all different, but, as a general rule, the word count tends to be allocated as follows:

  • Intro – 5-10%
  • Main body (split into paragraphs) – 80-90%
  • Conclusion – 5-10%

To create a sense of balance, try to keep all the paragraphs a similar length.

When done properly, an essay plan can take several hours to write. But, as mentioned, it’ll save you so much time and energy in the long run. Not to mention, it’ll make the writing process a lot less stressful!

Struggling to write an essay plan? Our world-class writers can create an original essay plan for you to base your next essay on. Just order a quote and select ‘essay plan’!
Stuck with your essay?
Any discipline, any topic and grade you desire, our academics are happy to help you.

 

Online Chat WhatsApp Messenger Email
+44 800 520 0055