Several Easy Steps for Writing an Outline for Your Essay

Many students hear the word essay from their teachers and professors or see that an essay is part of an exam and immediately panic.  Students can freeze, and pushing through writers’ block can be difficult, especially with deadlines or timed tests.  There are several easy steps for writing an outline for your essay.


First, brainstorm what you think you want to write about

  • Start by brainstorming.  Brainstorming is a method where you take your pencil and start writing everything and anything that comes to mind without paying attention to spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and overall syntax. 
  • You just write, and it is even suggested that you train yourself to not stop or lift your pencil from the paper. Of course, if you are typing on your laptop or PC, apply the concept.  Don’t stop typing.
  • Once you have brainstormed for a bit, you will notice that your thoughts about your essay are starting flow and become more focused.  You are now ready to go into outline mode.

Second, Start Writing the Outline

  • The brainstorming exercise provides you with notes that you can apply toward the outline.
  • Take you main points and put them in outline form, i.e. Roman numeral 1, Roman numeral II, etc.  Leave plenty of space in-between each main header.
  • Next, continue filling in other details from your brainstorming, paying attention now to the organization of the topic and proper outline form.
  • At this point, you should see that your brainstorming is now beginning to take on material you can use for a well-thought out, good structured essay.
  • One important note to keep in mind is that the more detailed your outline is, the easier it is to write the essay. If your essay is for a timed exam, you will have to juggle how much time should be devoted to the outline and how much time should be voted to writing the essay. 
  • Lastly, don’t forget to include all the parts of a winning essay, which are the introduction, body and conclusion.

The better you feel about the work that you are turning in, the more you will not fear future essays.  It does take practice.  With practice and following useful strategies such as the above, everyone can write an excellent essay. Perhaps, you may discover that you like writing them.  How nice would that be!