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After reading - After your reading, it is often good to summarise all your findings on a page. Bringing together the key points from your reading helps clarify what you have found out, and helps you find a pathway through all the ideas and issues you have encountered.If you include brief details of authors and page nos.This kind of plan gets all the main ideas down on a page with key words and phrases round the central question.
These will make much stronger arguments if you group them together than they would do on their own.
The guidance on this page will show you how to plan and structure your essay to produce a strong and focused response to the question.
for key information, it can act as a quick at-a-glance guide for finding the evidence you need to support your points later.
It also helps you see how your initial response to the question might have changed or become more sophisticated in light of the reading you've done. You need to work out what to include, and what can be left out.
If it is a closed question, your answer must refer to and stay within the limits of the question (i.e. Underlining key words – This is a good start point for making sure you understand all the terms (some might need defining); identifying the crucial information in the question; and clarifying what the question is asking you to do (compare & contrast, analyse, discuss).
But make sure you then consider the question as a whole again, not just as a series of unconnected words.It is impossible to cover everything in an essay, and your markers will be looking for evidence of your ability to choose material and put it in order.Brainstorm all your ideas, then arrange them in three or four groups.The first thing to do when preparing to write an essay is to make a plan.You could just rush in and write everything that comes into your head, but that would make it difficult for your marker to read and would reduce the effectiveness of your ideas.Before reading - This is a really valuable stage which many people miss out, but it makes your reading and planning much easier.Before rushing into your reading, note down your initial thoughts about the question - a spider diagram or mind map is good for this.This method is flexible and creative, so is good to use first even if you like to order your points in linear form afterwards. Bullet points / linear plans - This type of plan lists the main points using bullet points or numbers.It can be a brief outline of the main point per paragraph, or a more detailed plan with sub-points and a note of the evidence to support each point (e.g. Top tip: If you know you tend to write too much, cut down the number of individual points in your plan.Re-read the question – Read the question through a few times.Explain it to yourself, so you are sure you know what it is asking you to do. What do I need to find out first, second, third in order to answer the question?