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Note-taking to write an essay: The best strategy for writing planification

Write an essay is something that sometimes can be tough. A good planification is crucial to be succesfull, and fortunatelly there are some strategies and tips that will help you to improve your process and writing skills.

Few months ago we already talked about How to Write an Essay from a general point of view, but today we’re going to dive into the previous step: the plannification. And in this first step, one of the best practices or strategies is the Note-taking.

Note-taking will help you at all stages of writing of your essay. Let’s see how take advantatge of it at any section of your essay.

Note-taking to write the Introduction

Start by taking notes for your Introduction and thesis statement:

  1. Look carefully at the question and write down what you think it is asking you to do.
  2. Look for those key words which will tell you precisely what the essay requires you to do.

For example, if you are asked to ´compare and contrast´ in an essay then you might make notes ´for and against` in preparation; this will help you build a balanced argument.

Or, if you are asked to ´analyse´ you might make notes that reflect close-reading of the text and comment on individual words or phrases of importance.

Note-taking to write the Body

Make notes for your essay plan

  1. This is especially useful, as you will be able to establish your essay structure and decide on which evidence should go where.
  2. Notes for your essay plan should be divided up according to the structure so you will have notes for your introduction, notes for your main body and notes for your conclusion.
  3. Each body paragraph should represent one main idea.
  4. Take notes for the topic sentence (main idea + controlling idea), the supporting sentences with examples, and concluding idea of the paragraph.

Note-taking to write Conclusions

Take notes for your conclusion

  1. The conclusion is not just a restatement of the introduction.
  2. Give indication of what you feel that you have achieved in the essay.
  3. Give future actions to be taken or predicted.
  4. Do not introduce new ideas that have not been analized in the body.
  5. If you make notes for your conclusion at the beginning, then you will have the direction you are aiming towards in mind as you progress and aid the structure of your argument.

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