Essay planning

Organise your thinking and develop your analytical skills

Our essay planning tools create online framework grids to keep your planning on track and make sure you don’t lose sight of the question asked.

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 humanities and social sciences essays involve working out why something occurred and what impact 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 will help you prepare for these.

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

Not sure you want to make your own framework, but want to see those created by other students? Find thousands in the TSR Resource Library. 

How the TSR community writes 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 and topics
5. Leave it for a short while
6. Write a first draft
7. Proofread
8. Leave it for 24 hours
9. 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

• Don't start without a plan; essays need planning whether they are for coursework, homework or in an exam. The planning process only takes a few minutes but it can make a world of difference to the quality of your content and argument

• Start planning by listing what should go in an essay, then decide how to order the material from beginning (introduction) to end (conclusion)

• Use keywords 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

To find more revision tools, go back to the resources hub.

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