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TOOLS FOR SUCCESS: Essay Planning Template

7-step template to guide essay planning and writing.



Work through these steps in order. Take a break after a step if need be. The whole process will need 1-2 hours.

ESSAY TOPIC __________________________________________________________________________

STEP 1. PULL APART THE TOPIC. Ask: what is the territory here? What am I being invited to discuss? How can I best focus on these key words?

STEP 2. BRAIN DUMP – Spill all thoughts onto a page: ideas, characters, events, quotes relating to this topic. For an argumentative essay or an issue-based topic, divide thoughts into pros and cons.


STEP 3. CONTENTION – I want to respond to this topic in this way – here is a single statement which captures my main overall response.


_______________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________


STEP 4. SKELETON – What will be my three or four main points of discussion? These must be big ideas I can explore and explain and demonstrate. These will be my topic sentences. These should all plug into my contention.


I. _____________________________________________________________________________

II. _____________________________________________________________________________

III. _____________________________________________________________________________




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