Creating Essay Writing Outlines

brainstormingWhether you are writing an English essay for your class or for the TOEFL test, you will need to get organized before you ever put pen to paper.  Outlining your essay topic, no matter how big or how small, can make the difference between a passing grade and a failing one.  But putting together an essay writing outline can be confusing if you don’t understand how to do it properly.  The key to any good essay is organization, clarity, and supporting facts, so outlining all of your ideas before you write your essay is essential to hitting all of these important points.

Persuasive Essays

essay_examIn order to help you write good persuasive essays, it is helpful to read other persuasive essays written by other authors in order to recognize specific essay writing styles.  Essay writing for academics is written in a very specific and well-organized way.  The standard essay for most academic tests that are common in the United States (TOEFL, GED, GRE) use the five paragraph style: an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.  Each essay must have a clear thesis statement, transitional statements, supporting and/or contrasting ideas, and each body paragraph should be written in a parallel manner.  Take a look at the following persuasive essays written by ESL students just like you and see if you can recognize these typical essay traits and decide if they were successful or not.

The Pros and Cons

procon1300Here is an interesting website that was recommended by one of our teachers. is a website that provides relevant information on both sides of common controversial topics that might be discussed in the classroom, at your workplace, or could even be used as an essay question on the TOEFL exam!  They have over 1,000 different topics from the death penalty to steroid use to government bailouts and each topic provides both the pros and cons of each side of the issues.  They have some interesting topics that you can read up on for your next classroom debate, workplace chat, or essay writing practice.