The main body of the essay should be structured with each paragraph being separate (but linked to the overall theme) and have your argument developing throughout.
In other words, each paragraph should focus on a different aspect of the topic under discussion but should also always be clearly identifiable as connected to the essay question.
Careful planning can help with this as you can ensure that when you make your essay plan, you are certain that each paragraph topic is linked directly to the question.
In the main body of the essay you need to use evidence to support the points your make and each quotation you use must be properly referenced.
First, decide how many stages there are in your argument – how many important points do you want to make?
Then divide up a box into an introduction, one body paragraph for each part of your argument, and a conclusion.
This may sound obvious but more students fail because they misread the question than for most other reasons, so it is essential that you read through and identify what the question is asking.
A good way of doing this is to look for key words in the question such as ‘compare, ‘contrast’, ‘analyse’, ‘discuss’ etc., as these words tell you the approach you need to take when constructing the essay and will help you to formulate your response to the question.
When I have one-to-one tutorials with my students, I always send them off with an essay plan and clear goals about what to write. In fact, it really does only take a short amount of time and can make you feel I’ve been using this 7-Step essay planning strategy since I was in my undergraduate degree.
Now, I’ve completed a Ph D and written over 20 academic journal articles and dozens of blog posts using this method – and it still works!