How To Write An Essay Outline

Here's What We'll Cover

The outline of your essay helps you foresight how you will write your essay. In some institutions, the lecturer or examiner may require you to submit an essay outline before you start writing. Whichever the case, you need an essay outline to help you do an exemplary job when writing the essay. This post will guide you on how to write an essay outline. 

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Understanding The Assignment 

Before you can even think of writing your essay outline, it is important to first understand the assignment. The essay question will determine how your entire essay will look like and what you will write about. The essay question also determines how your outline will look like and what it will include. 

It is advisable to take some time and proofread the essay question to understand what it is asking you to do. Have a pen or if working on your computer, find a way to highlight any important keywords that will influence what your work. 

As mentioned, the main ingredient for an exemplary essay is understanding what you have to write about. From reading the question, you can have an idea of how you will want to structure your essay. You can then use this idea to come up with an outline. 

The outline once submitted, works as a guideline for the examiner when he or she will be going through your essay. The outline helps them to know what to expect and therefore saves time when it comes to reviewing your essay. 

How Do You Write An Essay Outline? 

To write an essay outline, you need to first decide on the structure of your essay. For the most part, this is not a difficult task and it will follow the normal essay format of an introduction, body and then conclusion.

An example of how to write an essay outline

how to write an essay outline

Numerals Format 

Break this down into a suitable numbering format that will guide the person reading the essay on what each section covers. There are several ways to do this, you can use numerals that will help you put pointers where needed. 

The one method that experts recommend is using different numerals for different hierarchies. For example, you may want to use roman numerals to present core ideas that will be present in the essay. You will then break this down further and use another numeral format such as alphabets to show that this is a breakdown of the main point. You can go further and have another section that now elaborates further on each point you delve into. 

Decimal Point Format 

In the decimal point format, the focus here is the same as the one in numerals format above. You will have the main idea presented by a number with one decimal point e.g. 1.0. We then number the next level by adding another decimal e.g. 1.1. The third level, which branches from the second level, will also require an extra decimal e.g. 1.1.1. 

You will then number another major section of your essay outline as 2.0 and then add decimal points as you go further down the levels. Many academic institutions advice that you use this format to write your essay outline because it is easy to follow compared to (a) above.

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What Information Do You Include In Your Essay Outline? 

Your essay outline, as elaborated above, is a guide for both you and the examiner. For the essay outline to serve you well, you will need to first conduct the necessary research that you require for your essay. Secondly, you will need to organize this data in a sequential manner that allows you to have a flow of ideas once you begin writing. 

The decision on which information to include in your essay outline will depend on what your essay will cover in each section. The introduction part will offer a guideline on how you will introduce your essay and what the examiner will expect of that section. The body section of your outline will guide you on the points you are going to write about in the body. It also shows you how you will break down each point using the available sources. 

Lastly, the conclusion section tells you what you need to do in the final section of the essay when you near its end.

How do you structure an essay?

Here is how to structure an essay?
1. Your introductory part should be well defined then followed by a thesis at the end.
2. Your body paragraphs should be logically structured, and your supporting evidence should be from academic sources.
3. Finally, your conclusion should rephrase your topic and summarize your thesis.

How do you structure an introduction?

The introduction of your essay should be narrow and specific. Address your audience the problem when beginning your essay and thesis, which should be the solution to the problem comes at the end of the introduction.

What is an introduction statement?

An introduction statement refers to the initial sentences that introduce the idea and catches the reader’s attention. It goes ahead to introduce the thesis statement at the end and tell us what is to be discussed in the body paragraphs.

How many sentences is an introduction?

The sentences should be brief, depending on the essay you are writing about. For a standard five-paragraph essay it should be about five to six sentences.

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