How to Write an Outline for Your Essay

Posted on September 14th, 2022 Essay Writing

a notebook

Every essay is easier to work on if you have a plan on hand. Especially if you need an essay to be finished as quickly as possible. This blog post will tell you how to make an outline fast every time you need it.

What an Outline Is For?

An outline of an essay contains the key moments and elements that you want your essay to consist of. A typical outline starts with an introduction if we are talking about a five-paragraph essay or a similar one construction-wise. It helps you move through the paragraphs one by one or jump from one to another without missing anything important as it can always remind you of what your initial ideas and findings were. It also allows you to avoid writer’s block and finish your paper faster – it’s easier to complete your paper when you know what you need to write next.

But what differentiates a common outline from a great outline? The amount of detail and surely its compliance with the task – the question that your essay should answer. You can write any number of outlines but if it doesn’t meet the requirements of your learning institution and doesn’t make your essay elaborate on the topic of your academic paper, there will be nothing helping in such a writing plan. So, before you start working on your outline, make sure you:

  • Understand the task
  • Know the typical structure of the assigned paper. Some papers have to include abstract, tools and materials, or other elements that should also be included in your outline
  • Have at least some understanding of the topic, the field of knowledge, and the problematic
  • Have conducted your basic research

The outlining step is crucial but it should not take much of your time, otherwise, it’s not that effective. So, here are a few tips that will help you work on your outlines fast and achieve great results.

Use Templates

Sometimes it’s better to save some time and use basic templates in order to follow the common structure of the paper type you are working on. It’s easy to forget about some element of your paper when you are writing it down without an example or a template on hand. So, let’s not count on luck and make sure you know which chapters your future essay should consist of.

You can find templates for almost any type of academic paper online and use them to learn the structure that you need to follow.

Fill In the Gaps as You Go

If you prefer writing your outline while you are doing your research (which is one of the most effective strategies), you can fill in the gaps as you find more and more great facts or arguments during your research process. You can simply create a basic outline and fill it with more and more details until you think that you are ready to start writing. In such a way, you will not be pushed to write a complete outline at once but rather build it slowly and even come back and forward to make the most out of your writing plan.

Don’t Stick With an Introduction

To create an outline for your introduction means almost creating the outline for your entire essay because the introduction contains the heart of your work – the thesis statement. So, it’s not surprising that sometimes you might feel like you are not prepared to come up with a great thesis statement or haven’t finished your research yet. What should you do in this situation? We say you surely need to jump off to another part of your outline and come back to the introduction part later when you surely know what your thesis statement is.

Don’t Work on It Too Hard

Remember that this is only an outline, not an essay itself, so there is no need to get stuck on your outline step for too long or write it with complete sentences. You can make it using only some phrases, ideas, key points, and some pieces of facts and arguments. The point of an outline is to provide you with a plan 0 and when you are writing it yourself, you don’t need to write it down thoroughly.

Plan the Word Count

When you are working on your outline, it’s always great to plan the word count for each of the parts. You might not be able to do it from the very beginning of your academic career, but as you gain some experience, it will not be that hard to guess in mind some rough numbers of words for each element and write it down. The final number should meet the requirements of your learning institution. What this gives you is an opportunity to expand some of your chapters (and which ones exactly) later and instantly see if your paper doesn’t meet the standard even when it’s halfway finished.

Find the Writer that Best Suits Your Objectives!