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Most academic assignments comprise an introduction, main body and a conclusion. Each stage needs to be presented in a logical order and linked together so that your essay flows smoothly.

Before you start writing, think about what the central argument of your essay will be and how you are going to order your ideas. This will help you plan a coherent framework to ensure that your argument makes sense to the reader.

Bear in mind that a plan is just a rough guide. Your ideas are bound to change as you write. But having a plan will help you to stay on track.

Remember... Some kind of plan is better than no plan!
Essay title The first thing you need to do is make sure you understand the essay question.
Introduction 5-10% of word count
You don’t need to plan this until you have a clear idea of what your main argument is going to be.
Main body 80-90% of word count
A main body consists of a series of paragraphs, each representing a single point in your argument. This is where most of your planning will go. Think about:
– the key points you want to make
– the order in which you want to present them
– the evidence you will use to support each one.
Conclusion 5-10% of word count
You will write this once you have completed the main body of your essay.
Reference list Think ahead!
Make sure you keep a comprehensive list of the works mentioned in your writing.

Useful strategies

Look through your notes, choosing quotations and other evidence gathered in your reading to support each point.

Coloured pens can be useful for highlighting different topics.

Group your ideas together under headings and try putting them in a sequence. If you write them on post-it notes or index cards you can move them around to see what flows best.

You could create individual folders for each topic on your computer.

Be sure to leave enough time for each stage.

Use whatever method works best for you!

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