Essay Writing Toolkit

A range of ways to plan essays:

• Write a summary of your main argument. This is particularly helpful for clarifying and refining ideas.
• Write the first sentence of each paragraph. These should answer the question and form a coherent whole.
• Write the conclusion first. Then, work out what you will need to include in order to reach it.
• Bullet point your introduction, main body, and conclusion.
• Create a spider diagram with the essay question at the centre.
• Draw out sub-questions from the title. Order the series of questions you create and answer each in turn.
• Create a table. Put your key points across the top. Evidence for and evidence against goes along the side.

Command words for essay writing:

Command words are those words which indicate to a student what they ought to do in their essay.

Here are some examples:
• Compare
• Contrast
• Describe
• Define
• Discuss
• Evaluate
• Explain
• Illustrate
• Justify
• Outline

Students who know the functions of such words are in a better position to answer the question.