Some Top Tips For Pre-Planning Your Next Essay

Prepare for success by planning your paragraphs before you write them using our awesome scaffold.

Need a paragraph scaffold?

STEAL this one. (S)tatement (T)echnique (E)xample (A)nalysis (L)ink.

Think about every disaster in a movie ever.

How could it all go so wrong so quickly?

Why did the Titanic sink,

or that kid get trapped in the Jumanji Jungle for 30 years,

or Ultron hijack a fictional European city and use it as an artificial meteor to reset life on Earth?

What do all these things have in common? At the heart of every disaster is poor paragraph structure.

Don’t believe me? If the people involved in these disasters had planned more effectively, and had a clear and easily understand scaffold for what they were about to do, the entire cinema industry would be far happy.

STEAL is the acronym you've been looking for.

It stands for (S)tatement (T)echnique (E)xample (A)nalysis and (L)ink. Writing a sentence or two on each of these 5 ideas in order gives you one, disaster-proof, paragraph.

To demonstrate let’s have look at this topic:

Which of the Avengers made the biggest contribution in the fight against Ultron?


Yes, this is a thing. We are going to take a moment now think out what we want to write about and start to form a response to the question.

Most of the time this happens in your head, but if you need to you can write it down to refer to later. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do I think about the question?
  2. Is there anything we have talked about in class that gives me some evidence?
  3. What other stuff is there in my topic that I can use to support me?


In almost all essays, exams and assignments you are being asked to “choose a side” on a particular topic.

This does not always mean you are arguing something you absolutely believe in.
Essays at school/uni/college are more about HOW you argue, and not always WHAT you argue.

It’s OK to “take a side” you don’t quite agree with personally, as long as you can support it with evidence.

In my example question above, I want to argue that the Hulk is the most important avenger in the battle against Ultron, because without him Black Widow would have never been able to join the fight on the floating city.

Thinking about your question like this is a quick process, so don’t feel locked into anything now: you can always adjust parts if you need to as you’re going.

Get an idea and follow it through

Ask yourself these questions to win at essay planning:

  • What point is supported by evidence?
  • what point makes sense considering everything I’ve read?
  • Have I left out any information that might help me point?
  • Have I overlooked anything that might hurt my point?
  • Will this argument or set of ideas help me answer the question?
  • Can I draw on any other ideas or theories to answer the question?
  • Has anyone else written on this idea before?
  • Do my thoughts even make sense yet, or do I need to think about them more?

Pre-plan your essay and argument and you’ll be well on your way to writing sucess.