Let’s now look at how best to plan your essay. When writing a plan, it is important to consider what you think the objective of it is. Your plan is a road map to writing your essay and should be treated as such; it will guide you to how best to write it. It shouldn’t be seen as a cast iron example of how you must write your essay; if you feel halfway through writing your essay that your plan has some holes in it that will ensure you don’t get as many marks as you should and that you should, therefore, change it. This is perfectly understandable, and it is important that you do what you think is best. Your plan should be detailed and strong but that doesn’t mean you should use it as a support when it may hinder your progress rather than help it. However, it is still important to plan so we’ll break down some of the ways that you can write a plan for your essay to ensure that it is the best it can possibly be.
- A Regular Plan. A Regular Plan is the type of plan that is usually used at universities. This type of plan tends to follow the pattern of putting your question at the top, followed by your introduction and then breaking your main argument down into different sections that you can then use as paragraphs when you come to write your essay. This type of plan is straightforward and easy to remember so it is a good type of plan to use as you are unlikely to forget any details from it. It can also be useful as it is an easy format to remember and as such, you can ensure that you can use it effectively regardless of the topic you are writing about. However, it can sometimes be seen as overly stuffy and therefore it can be perceived as boring, meaning some students find it hard to use this particular type of plan and thus have to use other ways of remembering what to write in their essays.
- A Pictorial Plan. A Pictorial Plan simply means that you plan your essay using images you associate with the various parts of the plan. So, as opposed to writing the words “mental health” you would use an image to represent the concept and other elements of your essay. This type of plan may not be best suited to students who are unfamiliar with the topic or who haven’t used it before as you may get confused by the images and, therefore, not write the essay as eloquently as you would have otherwise done so. Therefore, it is important to only use this type of plan when you are entirely confident that you will be able to write your essay without impediment using this system.
- A Mind Map. A Mind Map is a plan that uses techniques similar to a spider diagram but applied to an essay plan. Rather than writing a plan out or drawing it, you write the essay question in the middle of the page and then draw the various elements of the essay that you have to complete outside the main circle containing your question and the information you need to complete it. This type of plan should only be used when you are entirely confident of the subject and are perfectly able to utilise it in examination conditions. However, it can be useful and has worked for certain students when writing essays on subjects like mental health.