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Module 1: Grammar Module 2: Sources Module 3: Structure
Home » Module 3 Unit 1: Planning your essay » Overview: planning your essay - page 3/3
Unit 1: Planning your essayUnit 2: Structuring paragraphsUnit 3: Introductions & conclusionsUnit 4: Writing persuasivelyUnit 5: Writing cohesively

Planning is the key to achieving a clear essay structure.

To write convincingly, you need to plan the structure and organisation of your essay and its individual arguments and evidence before you start writing. The planning process begins from the moment you interpret your essay question and start researching the question and identifying relevant source material.

This unit provides a summary of the steps you should take before you start writing your essay. Each step is dealt with in a separate an individual section in this unit.

Click on each step in the diagram to see more information.

Plan in as much detail as you can before you begin writing. The more detailed your plan is, the surer you can be that:

  • you have really understood the topic and assembled relevant arguments and evidence to support your understanding.
  • your writing will not be derailed by unforeseen evidence and argument.

Be flexible enough to accommodate variations in how the plan unfolds. The process of researching and writing is not a linear one. Successful writers constantly check their writing and make ongoing modifications to both their plan and their writing. If you have planned well, the chances are that these variations will be minor ones.


Don't be too worried when things don't go exactly to plan - revising and modifying a plan is part of successful writing. Think of it positively - as a cycle of writing, checking, modifying, writing, checking and modifying.