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essay writing as another kind of art

Academic Writing Guide: Essay Outline

If you are a student who is hoping to improve your final grade on an upcoming essay writing assignment you may be wondering how to write an essay outline. If you do not use one already, it is important to know that an essay outline can help make your academic writing more focused. It can help with the pre-writing process by helping you to collect and organize your ideas. When you work from an outline you can basically write your entire paper in order and point form before you begin to write. This will save you the stress of coming up with intriguing ideas on the spot and your finished essay will be much more polished.

There are few different ways to compose an essay outline. Typically, how you create your own outline doesn’t really matter because you will not be graded on it. However, it is a good idea to finish a completed outline before your begin the writing process. Think of it as an opportunity to get all of your ideas, research, and structure down before you actually have done any writing. It is recommended that students fill out their outline in point form or full sentences. The advantage of using full sentences is that you will have less work to do later as all of your ideas will have been thought out. Point form, is also useful for jotting down thoughts and ideas that may or may not work in the final draft. Also use point form as you take down your research notes. This will prevent you from copying word for word and potentially plagiarizing.

How To Write An Essay Outline

The first step to composing your outline is determining your essays topic. You do not have to have a concrete thesis quite yet but all of your preliminary research should be complete. Once you have landed on a topic idea that you think will make an excellent paper the next step is to review the assignment criteria. This will help you get a better idea of how long your essay is going to be. It will also give you a sense of how many different sections your outline will need to have. Using a piece of paper or a fresh computer word document begin to create an outline template. It should include all of the important sections of any academic essay.

Outline Template Example:

  1. Introduction
    • Clincher
    • Thesis
    • Three Supporting Ideas
  2. Supporting Paragraph
    • Tie-in to introduction
    • Evidence point 1
    • Evidence point 2
    • Evidence point 3
  3. Supporting Paragraph
    • Tie-in to second supporting paragraph
    • Evidence point 1
    • Evidence point 2
    • Evidence point 3
  4. Supporting Paragraph
    • Tie-in to third supporting paragraph
    • Evidence point 1
    • Evidence point 2
    • Evidence point 3
  5. Conclusion
    • Restate the thesis
    • Summarize the supporting paragraphs
    • Concluding remarks

Writing Your Essay From An Outline

An outline like the example shown above can truly help to simplify the essay writing process. Not only is it a fantastic way to help you focus your research and sort through your ideas, it can also work miracles as far as assuring that your essay stays on topic. Using an outline is certainly one of the best writing tips out there for helping students to focus their writing. If you are hoping to get a better grade on your next academic essay project, you should writing using this format.

 

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