Read the essay question carefully
Highlight key words.
Use the dictionary to check the meaning of any unfamiliar words. Identify the task words that indicate what needs to be done, eg ‘discuss', ‘explain', ‘compare'. Identify the topic words that indicate the particular subject of the essay, eg the character of ‘Juliet' in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the ‘causes' of World War 1. Identify any limiting words that restrict the discussion to a particular area, eg in ‘Chapters 1-3', during the ‘nineteenth century'. Finish any necessary reading or research as background to the essay Be selective: use sources which are relevant and accessible. Write notes in your own words.
Write down quotations that may be particularly useful, but ensure the source of these quotes is acknowledged if they're used. Take note of sources so they can be provided in footnotes and the bibliography. Brainstorm ideas in response to the question
Jot down any relevant points.
Make note of any relevant evidence or quotes that come to mind. Use a mind map to help stimulate lateral thinking.
Develop a thesis (idea/argument) that encapsulates the response to the question The thesis should be a statement that strongly expresses the overall response to the question. Avoid a thesis that's too simplistic – show thought has been put into some of the complexities behind the question. The thesis is the backbone of the essay – it will be stated in the introduction. It also needs to be referred to several times in the essay before restating it and demonstrating how it has been proven in the conclusion. Write a plan for the response
Order ideas in a logical sequence.
Make sure every point in the plan is relevant to the question. After the plan has been written it should be clear where the essay is going. Write the...