Essay Outline: How To Write A Perfect Essay Outline

In this article, we are going to be talking about how to write the perfect essay outline. This is important as it gives you a good foundation on which to build you essay. We will be giving you some useful tips and ideas to ensure that you get off on the right foot.

What Is An Essay Outline?

In the most simple terms an essay outline is the plan for your essay. In it, you will be able to give your essay a structure as well as detail any points which must be included in the final written piece of work. Your essay outline will give you the opportunity to note down what information is going to be presented in each paragraph, allowing you to write the essay freely and easily without having to stop to look up further information.

A good essay outline will enable the author to fully complete their essay from the notes within the outline. Some points that you might include are:

  • You main point or argument on what the essay is about.
  • Your thoughts and ideas which should be included.
  • The structure of the essay.
  • A plan of what information will be included where.

It is possible to write an essay without using an essay outline, but the end result will be nowhere near as good. In any area of life, planning can make a great difference and essay writing is no exception to this rule. The benefits of having an essay outline might be that it is an easy way to plan out and organise your ideas and will ensure that you do not miss out any key information during the writing process. Alongside this, once your essay outline is complete, writing the essay should take a lot less time.

How Should Your Essay Outline Look?

As a rule of thumb, most essays are made up from five paragraphs, although there is room for movement on this. But for the purposes of this article, we will assume that you are writing a five paragraph essay. There are usually three main parts to an essay, these are the introduction, the body (which is made up from three paragraphs) and finally the conclusion. Each of these should be plotted out within your essay outline. You might include some of the following points.

  • The introduction should contain your thesis statement and this is the prime time to plan out what this should say. You will also need to refer to the subject of the essay.
  • In the body of the essay you will be writing at least three paragraphs and so it is important to detail what will be discussed in each of these. You will need to plan out what statistics or data will be included in each paragraph as well as the topic, your opinions and any examples. Don’t forget to refer back to your thesis statement throughout the body.
  • Finally, the conclusion will bring together all the ideas outlined in your essay. Once again, you will need to refer back to your thesis statement and be able to prove that it is correct.

Now that we know what to include within your essay outline, we are going to look at an example of what your outline might look like. You can use this as a guide to plan your own outline.


  • Introduction of the subject
  • Thesis statement

Body 1st Paragraph

  • Plan a sentence with an argument for your thesis statement
  • Give evidence, data and facts to back up your argument.
  • Refer back to your thesis and show how the information you have provided relates to it.

Body 2nd Paragraph

  • Plan a second argument sentence relating to your thesis statement.
  • Provide more evidence or data to back up this argument.
  • Once again, refer back to your thesis statement to back it up.

Body 3rd Paragraph

  • Create a final argument sentence surrounding your thesis statement
  • Give evidence or data to back up your argument
  • Relate this back to your thesis statement


  • Provide a summary of the main argument points
  • Include your thesis statement once again
  • Create a call to action, this is something that you ask your reader to do once they have finished the essay.

Essay Outline Example

In most cases, an essay outline will detail ideas in order of how important they are, beginning with the most important. We are now going to look at an examples of a good essay outline to give you a better idea of how they work.

Outline For A Persuasive Essay

Why Yoga Is The Perfect Work out


Thesis statement: Yoga is the best form of exercise

Body 1st Paragraph

Topic Sentence: Yoga is ideal for those with lower fitness levels

  • Yoga can help build muscles in a slow way
  • It can be done at varying levels

Body 2nd Paragraph

Topic sentence: Yoga is good for the mind

  • Taking part in yoga can help you to relax
  • Yoga focuses on breathing techniques which are proven to reduce stress
  • Evidence to back up the previous fact.


Yoga is an excellent way of working out and can have benefits such as…

Further Tips For Creating An Essay Outline

It is important to be very clear of the process for creating your essay outline and we are now going to look at some further tips to help ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

  • Before you begin, you should ensure that you have thoroughly read the essay question or prompt and have understood what is being asked of you.
  • You should then work out the type of essay you will need to write as well as what arguments should be included and how long the essay should be.
  • It is important to remember to consider the purpose of the essay-is it to entertain, persuade or give information?
  • Next it is important to think about the reader of the essay, what type of person is reading the work and what might they expect? How can you most appeal to your audience?
  • It is now time to come up with your thesis statement. This should be something which grabs the attention of the reader and gets them emotionally involved right from the start.
  • Decide on whether you will use an alphanumeric format or a decimal format-usually an essay outline uses an alphanumeric structure but either is fine depending on which one you feel works best for you.
  • You are now ready to follow the steps we have detailed on creating your essay outline.

Essay Outline Infographic

How To Write An Essay Outline

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