How to Write an Essay Outline: From Brainstorming to Final Draft

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An outline is the fundamental part of any paper because it serves as a roadmap for writing ideas, guiding you through the process of organizing thoughts. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting out, learning how to write an essay outline is an essential skill. In this article, we’ll cover everything from the prewriting process to the final structure. So, let’s dive in and learn about important details.

What is an Outline for an Essay Why You Should Not Skip It?

Before we get started with the tips and techniques for preparing a good essay, it’s important to understand how to write an outline for an essay.

It is a framework or blueprint for your paper. It’s a way to organize your thoughts and ideas so that you can present them in a clear and coherent manner.

There are different types to consider and the most popular are: 

  • Alphanumeric employs Roman and Arabic numerals, lowercase and capital letters. It is perfect for research papers and other academic assignments that demand extensive research;
  • Decimal –  requires the use of numbers to distinguish each point. It is the best choice for blog posts, reviews, and similar writing tasks;
  • Full-sentence structure- an extended version that helps to navigate ideas better.

If you are not sure about it, get in touch with a professional to get essay outline guidelines. We are happy to assist any time and find an individual approach that works perfectly in your case.

The Importance of Prewriting: How to Create an Essay Outline?

The prewriting process is an important step that can help you organize and structure existing data. When our writers work on creating an essay outline and help others complete the task, they recommend following a specific approach.

Choose a topic: The first step in the prewriting process is to choose a topic. Make sure the topic is specific and narrow enough to cover within the scope of your paper.

Research your topic: Once you have a topic, research it thoroughly to gather information and ideas. This can include reading books, articles, and online sources, as well as conducting interviews or surveys.

Brainstorm ideas: After you have researched your topic, brainstorm ideas and concepts that relate to it. Write down even unrelated thoughts because they later can help structure main points properly.

Think about a thesis statement: It is a sentence or two that argue and state the main point. Use your research and brainstorming to create a statement that is argumentative and clear.

Overall, outline essay writing is an essential step in creating a well-structured essay. By taking the time to brainstorm, organize ideas, and create an outline, writers can ensure that their essay is clear, organized, and effective.

Mastering the Essay Outline Structure: A Guide for Students

Once you have a basic understanding of the essay outline format, it’s important to work on its structure. The basic section division includes an introduction, the main points of the body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Within each section, you can break down your ideas into smaller sub-topics with examples and argumentative ideas.

A classical and most-used essay outline structure should be like this:

  1. Introduction
  •         Hook
  •         Background information
  •         Thesis 
  1. Body
  •         Supporting point 1
  •         Evidence 1
  •         Evidence 2
  •         Supporting point 2
  •         Evidence 1
  •         Evidence 2
  •         Supporting point 3
  •         Evidence 1
  •         Evidence 2
  1. Conclusion
  •         Restate thesis
  •         Summarize main points
  •         Final thoughts


The introduction is the first section and should have a hook to grab your reader’s attention, background information to provide context for your topic, and a thesis that outlines the argument of a paper.


The body is the main section that should contain supporting points backed up with evidence or examples.


The conclusion is the final section and should sum up a thesis, main points, and offer final thoughts about a topic.

Top Tips for Writing a Good Essay Outline

  1. Use headings and subheadings: Headings and subheadings can help to break down the essay into smaller sections and make it easier to follow. Headings should be descriptive and informative.
  2. Include supporting details: Each section of the outline should include supporting details and evidence to support the thesis statement. These details should be specific and relevant to the essay’s topic.
  3. Use parallel structure: When creating an essay outline, use parallel structure to keep the ideas consistent and clear. This means using the same grammatical structure for each section of the outline.
  4. Be flexible: An outline is a flexible tool that can be adjusted and revised as needed. Don’t be afraid to make changes or rearrange sections to improve the overall structure of the essay.
  5. Keep it Simple: Your outline should be simple and easy to follow. Avoid using complex sentences or including too much detail in your outline. Keep it concise and to the point.

By following these tips, writers can create a clear and basic essay outline that sets the stage for a well-structured essay.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, creating an outline is an essential part of the essay writing process. It provides you with a clear direction to follow and ensures that you cover all the necessary points. By following these tips, you can create an effective essay outline that will make the writing process much easier. Remember to understand the assignment, brainstorm ideas, choose an outline format, create a thesis statement, use parallelism, and keep it simple. With a well-structured outline, you can write an excellent essay that will impress your readers.


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