How to Write an Essay Outline Prewriting Strategies That Improve Academic Writing Skills

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How to Write an Essay Outline

Prewriting Strategies That Improve Academic Writing Skills

When students begin with a detailed outline, their writing improves. The five paragraph essay outline is useful for middle school essay topics and college essay topics.

An essay outline is an important part of prewriting. Good prewriting skills are critical to achieving a high grade and include brainstorming, research, planning, and organizing – all of the activities that students should do before writing the rough draft. Students often fail to spend enough time in the prewriting stage, particularly when it comes to planning what they will say and organizing the essay structure.

Students can learn how to write an essay outline by following these instructions.

Writing Outlines

Students should write the outline after they’ve narrowed their topic, gathered their research, and have a thesis statement. The outline does not need to be lengthy – one page is usually enough – as it is not a rough draft; it is simply an organized list of ideas for the essay.

Five Paragraph Essay Outline

A five paragraph essay outline has three parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.


The introduction contains a clear thesis statement that tells readers what the essay is about. The introduction also includes a summary of the three topic sentences that will be presented in the essay body.


The five paragraph essay contains three paragraphs in the main body that are used to develop the thesis statement. Each paragraph has one topic sentence that is related to the thesis.

The outline of each paragraph should have four parts:

  • a topic sentence,

  • an explanation of the topic sentence,

  • an example, piece of evidence, or quotation that supports the topic sentence, and

  • an explanation of the significance of that example/evidence/quotation.


The conclusion gives closure to the essay and signals to the reader that the writer is finished his or her discussion. The conclusion should summarize the three topic sentences and discuss how they support the thesis statement. It is okay if the conclusion looks similar to the introduction, in fact, it probably will.


The fastest way to write an outline is by using jot-notes that the student can build into full sentences later, during the essay writing.

Some students prefer to write complete sentences in their outlines. A full sentence outline takes longer to complete than a jot-note outline, but the advantage is that those sentences can go directly into the essay, making the essay writing quicker and easier.

Students who begin writing outlines typically find that their academic writing skills improve dramatically. The five paragraph essay outline is easy to learn, however students should feel free to adapt it or make up their own outline until they find a style that works well for them and their topic.

A Guide to Writing Your Own "How To" Essay

When you read a magazine, how many "How To" essays do you see? Most magazines include a "How To" section (sometimes called a "do-it-yourself" section) to show you how to fix or make certain things. When you read there

These sections are sometimes confusing? If they are, it’s because the author didn't know how to correctly write a "How To" essay.

When you write a "How To" essay, the first thing you need to do is decide what you are going to write about. The next step is to write an introduction. To keep the beginning interesting, don't say, "I will tell you how to make a delicious smoothie." Instead you should try to think of a more creative way to say the same thing. For example, "Have you ever wanted something cool and refreshing on a summer day? If so, you would love to know how to make a delicious smoothie." After you write an introduction paragraph you will need to write the body of your essay. In this paragraph you tell the reader what to do in order to make "a delicious smoothie (whatever it is)." One method is to make a list of all the steps before writing the body so you don't mix up the steps or accidently leave things out. While writing this paragraph make sure to vary your word choices; don't keep using the same words over and over (common repeats are then and next). What you don't want to write is "Then you put the fruit in. Then you put the ice in. And then you blend it." What you should write is "First you .put the fruit of your choice in the blender. Next you should add ice. Finally you blend until you reach the desired consistency." The final step is to write a conclusion. This should repeat what your readers have learned to do and some reasons why you think that knowing this is important. If you follow these steps your essay should be clear, interesting, and understandable.

How to prepare Strawberry Milkshake

Did you ever wish you could have a delicious milkshake without going somewhere to buy at an expensive price? Well, now you don’t have to go out! All you have to do is read this section on how to make a strawberry milkshake!

The materials you need are: five strawberries, five ice cubes, two cups of milk, about eight tablespoons of sugar, two regular cups, and a blender.

Now that you have all of your materials, we have to get cooking! Gather all your materials and start putting them in the blender. To make things easier, you should put in the straw berries first, next the ice cubes (crushed), then the sugar, and now the milk. You now have to mix all of the ingredients. Depending on the blender, you would have to turn it on and wait for about 30 seconds and turn it off so that the machine won’t get hotter. Once you have waited and then turned it off, you turn it on again. You keep on doing that until you see that it is clear and there are no chunks of fruit inside. *Suggested* (You could get some type of utensil and move it around in the blender to check.)

Once you’ve finished, you may now poor the milkshake into the two glasses. *Remember, this recipe serves two only unless you poor it into very tiny cups.* Now you could enjoy this mouth-watering drink with your friend or family. If you want more, just make more servings. You may now enjoy!

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