The amount of time you should spend on an essay plan will depend on how much time you are given to construct the final essay. In exam situations, timing is crucial but you should still aim to spend at least 5-10 minutes working on your plan (assuming you are given a minimum of 45 minutes per essay).
Experiment with different styles of planning essays and use the method that you find most useful. Make as many essay plans as you need to find the best sequence for your material. By separating the planning stage from the writing stage you will be better able to write an essay that is well organised and clearly expressed. The guide explores the key elements of an essay and shows you how to use these elements effectively.
An example of a linear essay plan using key words and phrases
Start with a copy of your essay plan, and expand it. Many people find it helpful to write the conclusion first - to clarify their ideas and also to give them something to work towards. Some people also find it helps to write the introduction last. Aim for a clear, objective and logical presentation of material.
2. Once you have established what exactly is required of you (see 1. above) it can help formulate your approach to the essay plan and subsequent final essay.4. One way to start an essay plan is to think about possible definitions that may need to be given. For example, in an essay entitled 'Discuss animal locomotion', it would be logical to start your essay plan (and your final essay) with a definition of what 'locomotion' is. This can then help you to construct the rest of your essay plan.3. Your essay plan should have a logical order, i.e. a beginning, middle and an end. It should reflect what you would end up writing in the final essay. In other words, by looking at your plan, a lecturer should be able to clearly see the approach you are taking to address the essay title.Another advantage of these sorts of graphics is that theyallow students to think about one aspect of the essay plan without having tohold all the other aspects in their short term memory.