How to Write an Essay Outline in 3 Easy Steps (+ Example)
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How to Write an Essay Outline. Essay Outline Format and Template

Academic writing should have a particular structure and the way the writer reveals the info. This rule refers to almost any type of writing, whether it is an article, term paper, novel, and so on. Essay, on the contrary, should be the reflection of the writer’s creativity. However, it is easier to get lost with more freedom in your own thoughts and ideas. That is why it would be wise to come up with an essay outline template that will suit your own essay and will help you to disclose the topic to the fullest. The purpose of your writing will determine the type of paragraphs and their size.

What is an essay outline?

When it comes to academic papers, the outline simply means the plan of future work. The points of this outline will tell the reader what info they will get in the body. With an essay outline, the situation is a bit complicated. It serves the writer rather than a reader and helps in organizing thoughts. While in papers and articles, we can see the division into paragraphs marked with headings and subheadings, in an essay, you simply move from one thought to another using the outline points. This approach will help you in many ways. Firstly, working on an outline, you learn how to plan an essay and see the whole picture before you even start writing an essay. Secondly, it will help you to gradually disclose the topic and not to lose any important point.  No wonder professional writers of WriteAnyPapers prefer to outline essays. It helps to achieve both high quality of writing and drastically speed up things.

Essay outline format and template

The best idea to start your essay is to write any engaging thought that will encourage the reader to keep reading – an essay hook, so to say. You can impress the reader with some facts, ideas, or even questions that will stimulate the reader’s thinking and will set the right mood. Starting your essay or paper writing right, you will raise your chances to maintain the reader’s interest in your thoughts.

This format is effective, especially when you are about to disclose the topic that is not considered as general knowledge. It helps to make things clear and give the reader an understanding of what you are going to tell in your story.

Then you can follow the approximate structure to learn how to write an essay outline:

  • Introduction:
    1. Write an essay hook to grab your readers’ attention.
    2. Declare your thesis statement in one sentence.
  • First body paragraph:
    1. Declare your first main idea.
    2. Provide a supporting evidence for the first idea (facts and examples).
  • Second body paragraph:
    1. Declare your second main idea.
    2. Provide a supporting evidence for the second idea (facts and examples).
  • Third body paragraph:
    1. Declare your third main idea.
    2. Provide a supporting evidence for the third idea (facts and examples).
  • Conclusion:
    1. Repeat your thesis.
    2. Provide readers with final insights to end your essay.

How to write an essay outline?

You can design an outline in your mind, but the wisest decision is to write it down. This is how you will get a draft that will be easy to correct in case you see some flaws in a plan. Then you will have a basis for your essay that will be written on a paper, and you will be able to look at it any time you have to correct the direction of your thoughts. The well-thought structure is as important as the proper title and engaging intro phrase. You can start with three basic sections of outline format and to supplement it with smaller points.

Start with outlining your introduction

Do not neglect the importance of the first paragraph of your persuasive or any other essay. Keep in mind that this is the first part your reader will see, and it defines the further impression of your text. It helps in setting the right mood and providing valuable information about the topic and a thesis of an essay. There is no need to describe these aspects in details. Your task here is to direct the reader’s thoughts and build a basis for the following ideas you are about to disclose. Keep in short but meaningful. Remember that you have entire body section to explain all your views and ideas.

Outline your body paragraphs

This is the heart of your work. This is where you state and support your thesis. This is what we call the complete thought or idea that you are about to convey further in your text. Then you should work on proofs or arguments that will display your views on facts and logical conclusions. You can use various structures for this part of an essay:

  • Thesis-argument – when you make a statement first and then provide proofs of your ideas and views.
  • Reversed structure – in this case, you describe situations and provide a data that leads to the logical conclusion that is the thesis of the paragraph; this method can be used multiple times in a text as soon as you have enough ideas;
  • Several proofs for one thesis statement – when you have one single statement that is the main idea of the text, while all the paragraphs of the body are aimed at providing argumentations.

The best way to persuade a reader is to use more than one argument to prove one statement in your persuasive essay outline. This is a perfect amount, as when you have only one proof, it may seem week and unconvincing, while there can be tiring for a reader to process. But this is not a rule but mostly a recommendation. You are always free to plan your essay as you wish.

End up with outlining your conclusion

In this part, you summarize the thoughts you have described in body paragraphs. Your essay should end with logical conclusions that will be understandable to your reader. Remember that your conclusion should be resulted in what you have described in the essay. The final thoughts should sum up all everything you have said, and justify your arguments and ideas.

Essay outline example

The example below should give you a general idea on how to write an outline for your essay.

Topic: How failing exams made me a better student

1. Intro

Show the reader what your essay will be about by presenting the thesis statement and plan of development. And don’t forget about the hook!

Essay hook: Have you ever wondered how exactly failures make us stronger?

Thesis statement: Failing exams after the first year of studying made me reconsider my attitude toward education. Focusing on studying and research helped me to retake the exams and stay in college.

Plan of Development: I thought that my knowledge and skills are enough to pass the exams, but after the first failure, I began to see the things clear. This insight helped me to become more serious and responsible for my education.

2. First body paragraph

Make a transition from introduction to your first body paragraph and start showing the development of the situation.

First main idea: I felt bad when my peers have passed the exams from the first time and moved forward, so I started thinking about fixing my position.

Supporting evidence 1: I postponed my fun time for a while to pay more attention to studying.

Supporting evidence 2: I have asked my professors for guidelines to widen my knowledge of the subjects.

3. Second body paragraph

Continue describing the development of the situation

Second main idea: I started to realize that now I feel more confident and have a deeper understanding of the disciplines.

Supportive evidence 1:  Tasks that I had had during previous tests did not seem too hard for me.

Supportive evidence 2: Even the research paper writing process has become more interesting and rewarding.

Supportive evidence 3: I have shown much better and impressive results during the trial tests.

4. Third body paragraph

Show how the situation has developed. Slowly prepare your reader to the conclusion part.

Third main idea: With new learning habits my learning became much easier and fun.

Supportive evidence 1: I have retaken the exams successfully.

Supportive evidence 2: I learned that having fun and good studying can coexist.

5. Conclusion

Restate your thesis statement and summarize the described events and describe the lesson you have learned.

Thesis statement: Does failing exams after the first year of studying made me reconsider my attitude toward education? Yes, definitely.

Concluding thought: I think that we all become better after experienced failure, so nothing is embarrassing in making mistakes.

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