Preparation is very important and involves the following: (1) analysing the task; (2) making a plan, and (3) collecting, reading and organising relevant information. Before writing an essay the author must know what is expected, or what they wish to write! Given essay titles must be read and analysed carefully. Key-words can be underlined to help with understanding. (If you are unsure about what is wanted then ask the teacher.)
A plan is vital to ensure that an essay is constructed in a logical and coherent manner. Using a plan should increase the flow of the essay. Care must be taken to ensure the plan addresses only relevant issues. An example - the plan for this example essay - is shown:
1. preparing to write - planning and research 2. writing the essay - how essays should be constructed i) how to write the introduction, main body and conclusion ii) sentences and paragraphs 3. the importance of editing - the use of word processors
Once a plan is determined it is easier to decide what to put in the introduction, and how to construct the main body of the essay. Some people find mind mapping useful for organising their thoughts and ideas. In this case a linear plan can be drawn up afterwards, for following during essay writing. A plan should be made either before, during or after reading, depending on what you already know: it can be used to direct reading and vice-versa.
Selecting relevant reading material is important: don't read information of marginal relevance...