The reason that planning an essay is useful is that it helps the writer frame their thoughts so that the essay is focussed, effective and entirely relevant to the reader. The reader is the judge of whether an essay is good or not, and if the essay does not deliver what the reader wants, they will stop reading. Building an essay plan forces the writer to think about the aim of the essay, and about what can be practically achieved by the essay. It is at the planning stage that writers should be defining what is to be written about, and how it is to be written, so as to best address the needs of the reader of the essay. The secret of planning an essay is in understanding what the reader wants, and how the essay is defined in light of the reader’s requirements. Planning an essay also drives out areas of the subject where the writer may need to do further research, or provide evidence to back up their claims, and highlights any weaknesses in the line of argument that the writer hopes to use. Planning an essay is essential preparation to writing an essay. Not only does it provide a logical framework for the thoughts of the writer, and ensure that the reader wants to read the essay, it also drives the writing of the essay itself. Just as a good essay plan will drive the writing of the conclusion, it should also drive the writing of the entire essay. A good essay plan allows the writer to concentrate on writing well, as all the thinking about the requirements of the reader was built into the essay plan.
The steps to planning an essay include understanding first and foremost the subject of the essay, and the scope of what is to be written. The scope of the essay is determined largely by relevance. Relevance here means what the reader is interested in. The essay also needs to present ideas and arguments / explanations in a manner which the reader finds interesting, engaging, and ultimately useful, as the reader is the judge of whether the essay does what is required. The essay needs to be structured appropriately, and use suitable language and styles to present information. The essay also needs to be the correct length, and to provide evidence as to any claims made. It is also good practice to present a balanced view of a subject, by putting forward arguments for and against, or citing both benefits and disadvantages. All of these elements need to be considered and the essay planned carefully to deliver the information in an optimal way for the reader.
The process of planning an IELTS essay |
A good essay plan makes the most of your essay material by helping you to organise the content of the essay before you begin writing. This guide shows you the key steps in preparing and planning an essay effectively.