Step-By-Step Guide To an Effective Essay Outline

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Posted on:
May 4, 2024
Updated on:
May 16, 2024
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Do you ever feel like your ideas are all over the place when you’re writing an essay? Or do you just want it to be easy? You’ve come to the right place! Here are some simple, easy-to-follow steps that will show you how to write an essay outline. Now you don’t have to look at a blank page and wonder what an essay outline is or how to write one.

If you make a good essay outline and state your argument clearly, you will have a way to organize your thoughts and stay on track while you write.

Here’s a sneak peek at what this article will be about:

  • You will learn how important an essay outline is after reading this piece;
  • You will understand about the parts of a good essay outline;
  • To write a well-structured essay, you need to know about the different types of essay outlines.

This guide to writing essay outlines is great for both new and experienced writers, whether you want to get better at what you do or get good grades on your first big task. If you still struggle, just say ‘write my essay‘ and professional writers will be there to provide assitance.

What is an Essay Outline?

An outline is a simple, easy-to-read plan of your essay. It tells you what each line will say, how they will be put together, and how all the points fit together. A lot of outlines use numbers or bullet points to organize information and make their ideas clear.

Why is an Outline Important for an Essay?

Without question, essay outlines are the unsung heroes of writing. They’re not there for looks; they’re very important to making your writing stand out. A simple essay outline and a good thesis statement that sums up the main points of the essay must make you think about how they can do such a great job.

Imagine reading a book where the pages aren’t in the right order. It must be a huge mess, right? In the same way, a simple outline of an essay makes sure that your ideas are in the right order, which makes it easy for people to follow your flow of thought.

On top of that, it helps you write faster. If you have a complete essay outline ready, you will know exactly what to do. You won’t have to waste time wondering what will happen next. It’s like having GPS for your trip while writing an essay.

In general, a proper essay outline is the best way to make sure that your writing is clear, well-organized, and effective. They are for people who are very careful and want their writing to get the best grade possible. You shouldn’t skip the outline for essay the next time you write one. Remember that it is the key to writing that flows better and makes sense!

Important Parts of an Essay Outline

When you’re writing an essay, making a good outline can be like baking a cake with a proper recipe. You want the end result to be tasty, but things can get messy if you do not know the essential parts, like the thesis statement, opening, and the right way to merge them.

Similarly, many people have trouble developing an essay outline because they don’t completely understand what each part means or how to do it right.

Here is an example of an essay outline:

It is like you have all the ingredients for a cake, but you do not know how much of each ingredient to use or what order to put them in to make the perfect cake.  Are you part of the same group? Put your worries behind you. Here is everything you need to know about the essay outline template.


In the normal format of an essay outline, the introduction section is like the first act. A lot of people might think it needs a short outline, but that’s not how you should write the beginning of your essay. To begin, the thesis’s hook sentence should be in the end.

A great essay should begin with an interesting essay hook to get the reader’s attention, then give some background information to set the scene, and end with a clear thesis statement that tells the reader what to expect from the main body of your essay.

When writing an introduction, the author gets to make a good first impact and set the tone for the rest of the work. If you do things this way, your audience will want to read more!


When you look at an essay outline, the body parts are like the heart of your work. Instead of cramming it full of useless details, you should focus on going deeper into your thesis statement and back up your arguments with examples, supporting points, and proof.

Just to be clear, the important points are the main ideas you want to talk about in the body paragraphs. They will be like guiding stars for your work, keeping it on track and keeping the reader interested.

When writing a five-paragraph essay, your body parts are very important. Each body paragraph should be based on a key idea that was introduced in the topic sentence. After that, you should add supporting details like facts, quotes, stories, or explanations to give your main idea more meaning and context.

Finally, you can use real-life examples and reliable facts to back up your arguments even more. This will make your essay and main body paragraph more convincing.

This is how you should write your essay, and it will be important and convincing!


The end is the last part of your academic expository essay outline. It’s like the last minute of a fireworks show. Now is your chance to make your main point clear again.

But instead of repeating it word for word, it’s better to restate your thesis with a new point of view or a more complete understanding. This will give your readers a feeling of completion.

After restating your thesis, it’s time to quickly go over what you have already said. Remind your readers of the amazing trip they’ve been on through your essay by summarizing all the main points.

Lastly, give it a personal touch by giving your last thoughts on the subject or a call to action if it makes sense. You can also add some physical details to make the reader think deeply.

The last paragraph of your paper is where you tie everything together in the style of your detailed essay outline. You go over your thesis again, sum up your major points, and give your readers something to think about.

Types of Good Essay Outline

It totally depends on you to choose how to make an outline for an essay, but we suggest that you make sure your outline essay follows the instructions given along with the topic. If there isn’t a required method for creating an outline for an essay, you can pick the one that works best for you. Some are generally agreed upon. What kinds are those?

Alphanumeric Essay Outline

Most of the time, the alphanumeric format is used. There are Roman numerals, capital letters, Arabic numerals, and lowercase letters, and they come after each other.

Roman numbers are used to describe each section, and then capital letters, Arabic numerals, and lowercase letters are used to follow.

  • Use Roman numbers (I, II, III, etc.) to find the main parts of the outline. There should be five of them, one for each paragraph of the work.
  • Capital letters (A, B, C, etc.) seem to mark points in the lists.
  • Arab numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) are used for more important information.
  • If more information is needed, lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.) show that.

Decimal Outline

The alphanumeric and decimal structures both are almost similar, but there is one change. In this case, we only use numbers. When you use the decimal outline method, you can see how each outline level connects to the main section, which is an added benefit.

Some people like this type of structure because it might be easy to see how each element is connected to the others.

  • The outline starts with 1.0 and goes on to 2.0, 3.0, etc., which marks the start of each new part.
  • We change the number after the dot for each new piece of information. When we add something to a line with the number 3.0, for example, we give it a new name: 3.1, 3.2, and so on.
  • We add more numbers in case you need more information. It will look like 3.1.1, 3.2.1, etc. for us.

How to Make an Essay Outline: Simple Steps

It might look easy to make a good essay outline. But this isn’t true at all. A clear as well as solid outline for an essay takes a lot of time to create, even for experienced essay writers. Once you’ve made a good structure of an essay outline, you’re halfway done with your work.

Instead of rigid restrictions, create a fluid framework that helps you communicate. The steps below will help you plan and create a good essay structure on your own:

How to Make an Essay Outline

How to make an Essay Outline

Learn the Essay Prompt or Pick a Topic.

 As you write a paper or MLA format essay, consider it the start of your journey. You choose your title or someone suggests one. Learn the prompt if you have one. Consider your interests when choosing a topic. Writing will be more fun.

Do preliminary research.

Find lots of information and proof for your essay now. Read books or search the internet to research your claims and find evidence. You’ll learn more about your essay title and hear various opinions.

Determine the core idea and supporting ideas.

Imagine designing your essay framework. Choose your writing’s key idea. Your object will be held together by its major bones. Then, think of ideas or reasons that back up your main point. Moreover, these are like the smaller bones that hold things together and give them shape.

Arrange the Points in a Logical Order.

Once you know what the main points are, you need to organize them to make a structure that makes sense, which is an important part of writing good academic papers. Think about how your essay will move. How should you organize your main points to make the flow of material better? It’s like putting together a puzzle—every piece should fit together perfectly.

Make an Outline.

Finally, you need to use your main and supporting thoughts to start making your essay outline. To make it clear and easy to read, use bullet points, headers, and subheadings. You can make your plan a full-sentence outline (detailed) or a short-sentence outline (brief).

Expert Tips for Writing an Essay Outline

Making a good essay outline is like laying the groundwork for writing an organized and interesting essay. The right method can make all the difference when you are making an outline for an argumentative essay, expository, descriptive, or literary analysis essay. These are some helpful tips that will help you make a plan for your essay that will set the stage for your writing:

Expert Tips for Writing an Essay Outline

Expert Tips for Writing an Essay Outline

Be Clear and Brief

When you’re writing an outline for an essay, don’t add extra details that aren’t needed and get right to the point. The outline you make will work better if you are more detailed about your main points and supporting details. Think of it as cutting away the extraneous parts of your writing until you’re left with just the topic line.

Get Rid of the Filler

Get rid of all the words and sentences that aren’t necessary for your outline. There shouldn’t be any extraneous information in your plan. Taking it out will make the plan for the essay easier to read and more focused.

Clear things up with bullet points

Remember that bullet points are your friends when you’re planning. They divide your thoughts into small pieces that are easy to read and understand. It’s like using road signs to find your way around your outline layout.

Keep Things in Order

Make sure everything is neat and orderly. When you make an essay outline with Roman numbers for the main points and letters for the rest, don’t change them. It’s the same with bullet points and subheadings. Making sure that your alphanumeric style stays the same makes your outline easy to read and understand.

Change and revise as needed

An essay outline is not set in stone, it’s meant to help you plan your writing. So, feel free to make changes and revisions as you go. Take benefit from new ideas. If something looks wrong, relocate it. Change your plan till you’re satisfied.
These guidelines can help you make your essay outline. You can now write an outline for an essay thanks to the tips above.

Different Types of Essay Outlines with Examples and Templates

It can be hard to write an essay, and this is where the essay plan template helps. Every template will help you organize and write a good essay. You can convey a personal story, make a persuasive case, or apply to your desired school using these templates.

Let’s discuss each one and evaluate its effectiveness:

Outline Template for a Narrative Essay

Think of it as a story guide. Narrative essays recount personal events. Your outline should cover the beginning, primary characters, setting, climax, and end. It’s like planning your life story.

A creative narrative essay recounts an incident. Writing a personal, fiction, or reading tale essay is similar. This is the easiest writing because it requires little research. Most of the time, this kind of essay is about “How I spent my summer vacation.” The narrative essay needs to be interesting. See below to learn step by step essay outline process. In order to do that, you need to:

  • Plan an exciting story.
  • Include a fight (a main character and a bad guy).
  • Make your characters bright.
  • If you’re going to describe something, don’t lie.

One of the best ways to keep your work interesting is to use your imagination. Let it give your essay the details and words that will bring your story to life. Describe things like smells, thoughts, emotions, and so on. Do keep in mind, though, that narrative writings are usually based on true stories.

Example of Argumentative Essay Outline

An outline for an argumentative essay makes a clear point of view and backs it up with proof. There should be parts in your outline for the introduction, the thesis statement, and the main arguments with evidence to back them up, the counterarguments, and a strong conclusion.

When you write an argumentative essay, don’t forget to:

  • Choose a subject you’re interested in; if you’re not, the reader will know.
  • Make strong reasons (be specific).
  • Learn as much as you can (add new things that will surprise your reader).
  • Gather useful sources for your case, like scientific magazines, academic journals, documentaries, newspapers, and more.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Example

You look at two or more topics and compare and contrast them in an essay. There should be an introduction, comparison and contrast points, and a conclusion that ties everything together in your plan. It requires writing in which you should point out how different and similar things are. This writing task makes you think critically and forces you to analyze something in a way that makes sense.

Most of the time, comparative essays have an introduction with a subject, theme, and thesis statement, body paragraphs, and an ending that summarizes the comparison. This piece will only talk about a few of the steps you need to take to write a comparison essay. On the other hand, I will give you some suggestions:

  • Use clue words, such as also, like, similar to, unlike, compared to, nevertheless, and so on.
  • You should be more specific in your theory.

For the last sentence, don’t say “This essay will compare BMW and Mercedes-Benz,” but instead write “BMW and Mercedes-Benz offer the same product; however, their marketing strategy is different.”

Advantages of Essay Outline

Imagine a powerful tool that simplifies and improves writing. An outline is that tool. It’s commonly ignored but essential to academic and creative writing success. It has several benefits, from organizing to improving writing speed and quality.

  • Changes also take less time. It’s easy to check your progress when adding points, eliminating unnecessary data, or rearranging lines on your essay planning sheet.
  • Finally, outlining improves the final product.
  • It ensures your essay is well-structured, logical, and effective.
  • One of the most important academic writing tools is a basic essay outline. It simplifies the first draft, speeds up edits, and improves the final output.

Concluding Remarks

Let’s realize how essential this tool is as we finish our essay outline guide. Outlining an essay is a strategy to finish it and unlock your potential. It simplifies essay setup, editing, and polishing. Next time you see a blank page, recall your essay outline. This will help you organize your essay. With this guide you can easily generate inspiring essays. However, if you struggle with writing or short on time, you can always buy an essay from Do Write My Essay for exceptional quality and round the clock support. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: When should I prepare an outline for my essay?

Ans. Sometimes you must submit an essay plan before writing. Your supervisor wants to see a precise structure so that the writing goes smoothly.

Even if you don’t have to submit it, drafting an essay outline is vital. When writing an essay, compose one (as loosely as you like) to explain your framework.

Q2: Does my essay outline need whole sentences?

Ans. Whether you must utilize entire sentences in your essay outline may be specified. In doubt, ask your supervisor.
Personal essay outlines are up to you. Students may decide to summarize their ideas in short words or write them out in full sentences.

Q3: How long is an outline for an essay?

Ans. This definitely relies on the type of essay you’re writing and how complicated your points are. You may be composing a five-paragraph essay. Your outline can be a few lines if it includes the primary idea, supporting elements, and a rough conclusion.

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Lara Ramos
I'm Lara Ramos, a seasoned Blog Author. I've found immense joy in guiding students through the complexities of their thesis and dissertations.

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