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The game plan for your next A-level essay

by Starlight Tucker about a year ago in student

Strategic Brainstorming

Do you have no idea how to start your paper? You need to prewrite. Do you have too much writing that threw off your organization? You need to label your ideas and work on your opening and closing sentences- prewrite next time! Is your teacher frustrating you because they won't give you more information on the assignment? You need to learn the secret to drawing your own map and prevent overthinking.

While prewriting may seem like an unnecessary task, it is vital to the organization of papers.

My writing tips are time saving and will help you write your paper efficiently: outline the body of your paper, plan out the paragraph content, write your topic sentences, and estimate the word count. Work on the introduction and thesis when you are confident about the body of the paper, and regard the conclusion as one big paraphrase. Along with academic writing, these tips work for public speaking, slideshows, and creative work.


An outline is a navigation system because it establishes concrete ideas that will reflect in your sentence structure. This is like putting together cardboard boxes with labels, then finding items to place in each box.

Here is my suggested format:

1. Introduction

A. First Topic

B. Second Topic

C. Third Topic

5. Conclusion

Step 1: Plan the body of your essay by labeling topics and subtopics.

Just like you have a subject for your paper, you should have topics for your paragraphs. Paragraph labels work as the boxes to hold your research and ideas. Begin with 3 topics that will work as your 3 body paragraphs.

A. First Topic

-Idea for subtopic

-Idea for research

-Next subtopic

Hint: the number 3 is your magic number. Use it as your anchor. If I'm writing the subpoints to my paragraphs, I write down 3 ideas that can flow into each other, 3 processes, etc. With papers exceeding five paragraphs, these labels will work as mini-essays, meaning that below them you will want to follow the same outlining concept: 3 labels per idea.

You should think of each paragraph like a mini essay- the topic sentence is like a thesis statement, and the concluding sentence should restate the paragraph's topic and ending effect- do not be vague in these sentences. Paraphrasing is a key strategy to the flow of your paper. Yes- you are restating each main idea in specific areas. Even after you've started writing, labeling helps you with your topic sentences and flow of concepts.

A. First Topic Label

-Label for Idea #1

-Label for Research Support

-Label for Commentary

Once you get your body paragraphs established, it's easier to introduce them in the introduction, create your thesis statement, and paraphrase them in the conclusion.

Step 2: Write a thesis statement that incorporates/ties together A-B-C in general, as a process, or as three items that produce one result. Remember that this is the last sentence of the introduction.

Step 3: Write the first sentence (topic sentence) and last sentence (closing sentence) for each of the body paragraphs.

Step 4: Write the Introduction


-Attention Grabber

-Briefly introduce your body paragraphs; one sentence each for A-B-C


Have confidence in your writing with a predetermined plan.

DIVIDE THE WORD COUNT: Dividing the word count helps you set small goals for your essay that you can work on day by day. A lot of students procrastinate because of the unknown amount of time they must set aside to work on it throughout the week. Do I have to finish this in a matter of 3 days? Do I need to get half done today, half done tomorrow? How much time do I have to add in my research? My answer to all of these questions is estimate how many words you need per idea. You will likely go over some word count goals and under some- they balance each other out in the end.

Personally, I like to divide the word count before I begin the paper, but you can also do this when you need to write more at the 50% done mark. Condensing your word count prevents you from staring at the screen stressing over typing until you meet the 1000 word mark.

-Estimate the word count per paragraph (1000 words divided by 5 paragraphs = 200 words per paragraph).

1. Introduction: 200 words

A. First Topic: 200 words

B. Second Topic: 200 words

C. Third Topic: 200 words

5. Conclusion: 200 words

-Divide the paragraphs as you wish to (200 words divided by [2 subtopics + 2 commentary] = 50 words per four topics). This can equate to 50 words you wrote yourself + 50 words from a source.

-Divide 1,000 words by 5 paragraphs; that's 200 words per paragraph. For each paragraph, write 4 sets of 50 words.

Transitions between paragraphs are just strong topic and concluding sentences.

Writing the conclusion

The conclusion should not have any new information- it is a summarization of what you just said. Restate the thesis in the first sentence. Organize this summary strategically by paraphrasing one or both of the topic and concluding sentences in the order they were presented in. State the ending effect of the thesis in the last sentence.

5. Conclusion:

-Paraphrase topic sentences and concluding sentences in chronological order

-Rephrase the thesis

-Write the end result

I described to you the following methods to efficiently write a coherent essay: begin by writing a detailed outline the body of your paper, assign wordcount goals for each part, then write your topic and concluding sentences. Work on the introduction and thesis when you are confident about the body of the paper, and regard the conclusion as one big paraphrase. An outline is like an unfinished puzzle; you see what blank shapes you need to locate to complete it- the areas of research and commentary.


Starlight Tucker
Starlight Tucker
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Starlight Tucker

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