Composing a Good Essay Outline – Things to Keep in Mind

If you ever want to make sure that your essay turns out truly spectacular, than depend upon making a spectacular essay outline. Many students tend to abhor making essay outlines, strictly because it’s time consuming and tedious. However, there’s a reason that such a step in the writing process exists. Essay outlining benefits students’ ability to compose organized, thoughtful and well-developed essays with coherent points and connections. Without this step, essays have a tendency to become muddled, confusing and ineffective.

Crafting an essay outline is a delicate project and requires strict adherence to a formatting guide. When you’re writing up your essay outline, it’s good to keep several rules in mind to ensure the outline is as effective as it can be. Some of these guidelines to keep in mind include:

  • Using an outline style that suites you. More visual learners will prefer more graphic essay outline tools, such as essay maps or webs. Other students may prefer making bulleted lists or other, less-graphic methods. Make sure to use the outlining style that’s right for you, in order to obtain the best results.
  • Keeping it relatively brief. You want to make sure that your outline communicates your major points and the support evidence you’ve paired with them, but it shouldn’t be extensive. Remember, this is an outline – the way you write it should be similar to the way you take notes. Use abbreviations and simplify ideas so that they fit in a smaller space. You don’t want to be writing two essays; you want to be writing a brief but informative outline.
  • Pairing information with corresponding points. The evidence, research or experience you collect to support your essay’s big points should be correctly distributed between those points. There should be a direct connection between the points you make evidence to support it. Don’t just randomly throw in your supporting material, hoping it will stick; organize it and distribute it accordingly.
  • Applying it. Once you’ve made an outline, don’t discard it! Students seem to think they can go from memory once they’ve written up the outline, but that’s a risk no one should take. Instead, write your essay in direct correlation to your outline. This way, your organization will be much improved and you’ll be able to link your ideas more fluidly. Plus, you won’t have to be constantly stopping and thinking about where to go with your writing next!

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