• Essay planning

    Published on 24-03-2016 15:02
    These tools provide online framework grids to complete that will keep your planning on track and make sure you don’t lose sight of the question asked.

    Essay planTSR provides a range of essay planning tools to help organise your thinking and develop the analytical skills you need.

    Compare and contrast

    Essay titles often ask you to compare two or more events, ideas, characters, places and so on. This tool helps you focus on key similarities and differences.

    Advantages and disadvantages.

    Evaluation is an important higher-level skill across many subjects. This tool helps you identify advantages and disadvantages in order to reach a balanced judgement.

    Causes and effects

    Many essays in the Humanities and Social Sciences involve working out why something occurred and what effect it then had. This grid helps you identify those causes and effects.

    SWOT analysis

    Business assignments often benefit from SWOT analysis – identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.


    History essays usually require a clear understanding of a particular sequence events. A timeline always helps.

    Character analysis

    A key element of many English essays is the analysis of the characters in plays and novels. This tool encourages you to think in depth about character.

    Not sure you want to make your own but would like to use these frameworks created by other students? Find thousands in the TSR Resource Library.

    How TSR members write essays

    ‘Always link points back to the question, examiners love it when you make it easy for them, so use the words of the question. Timed essays are your best friend. You will dread the first few because you will not get full marks, yet you learn so much from those mistakes. Moreover, once you get in to the rhythm of the papers, it will improve your time management and the clarity of your analysis - it will eliminate waffle.’
    ‘My tutors gave me fab essay writing tips!
    1. Make a mind map of ideas
    2. Research the ideas
    3. Leave it for 24 hours
    4. Write a few short paragraphs about the ideas/ topics etc
    5. Leave it for a short while
    6. Write a first draft
    7. Proof Read
    8. Leave it for 24 hours
    9 etc... Repeat numbers 6, 7 and 8 until it looks amazing and sounds wonderful’.
    Portia 1993
    ‘I think it’s really important to be concise and economical with the words you use. I really hate rambling and am quite obsessive about removing stuff from my essays that doesn't seem wholly relevant to the argument.‘
    ‘The best way to work well under the time limit is to just practise, practise practise! Time yourself and limit yourself to the time it's supposed to take; do this plenty of times so that you can get as good as possible at it!’

    Tips for great essay planning

    tips• Don’t write an essay without a plan. Essays need planning whether they are for coursework, homework or times in an exam. The planning process in an exam essay need only take a few minutes but it can make a world of difference to the quality of your content and argument.

    • Most students start planning by listing what should go in the essay, then deciding how to order the material including its beginning (introduction) and end (conclusion).
    • Use key words from the question regularly to keep your writing relevant.
    • Avoid very short one sentence paragraphs and very long paragraphs that take up more than half a page.

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