It is very tempting to ignore this stage – don't, thorough planning saves time!
Although it might seem to be wasting time at this point, a plan is essential to complete a structured, reasoned and researched response on any given topic, even in an examination essay.
This free guide sets out the basics for writing your first essay.
If you are looking for something more in-depth or subject specific then we also have a range of guides in our "How To Write" section: The basis of most academic work is the ability to construct a good essay.
Make decisions now as to what you will use and what you will discard.
This is harder than you might think because often interesting evidence you have unearthed has to be omitted simply because it isn't relevant.For more information on exam preparation and writing strategies, see our “Exams” pages.Some suggestions in this handout were adapted from “Fastfacts – Short-Answer and Essay Exams” on the University of Guelph Library web site; “Resources – Exam Strategies” on the St.It is a good idea to compile an alphabetical list of all books used during your research stage as this will save time with your referencing and bibliography later, as you will have kept track of where you sourced your evidence.Remember to present this in the academic style required by your school as, for example, there is considerable difference between Harvard referencing and MLA.Do not worry as these skills are possible to learn.This guide sets out to define all of the major skills which need to be acquired in order to write your essay whether you've been given a topic or you select your own essay topic.Try to strike a balance between finding evidence that supports your own ideas and those which appear to contradict you.A good essay will present a balanced case and display an awareness of all points of view (within reason), not just those that agree with your own!We recommend that you seek advice on the referencing style required before starting your research.A good tip to remember when referencing is that, although most referencing styles will allow for the use of abbreviations, the first time a book is quoted the full details should be given.