Essay writing – checklist

Use this essay writing checklist to help plan and complete your essay.

  • Read the question carefully.
  • Underline the key words (e.g. discuss, explain, compare) and consider what type of essay you are required to write.
  • Use information sources that are relevant and accessible.
  • Write notes in your own words.
  • Reference quotes properly if you are using quotations or information directly from other sources.
  • Brainstorm ideas, words, memorable parts of texts etc and jot these thoughts down on paper.
  • Develop a key argument or idea for your essay.
  • Organise notes into a plan. The level of planning will depend on the type of essay.
  • Make sure every point is relevant to the question.
  • Write the introduction. This should open the discussion and engage the reader.
  • Write the main body of the essay. Ensure each point is given a new paragraph and provide supporting evidence for each point that you make.
  • Write the essay conclusion. Summarise the main ideas and demonstrate how you have proven your point. The conclusion should reaffirm the introduction.
  • Edit the draft. Check for spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • Make sure the final copy is clean and neat, including any footnotes or bibliography.
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