A Simple Outline

The example below is a full outline of a short essay. On a timed writing test, you will not have the time to write a complete outline, but you should at least write a scratch outline. In a scratch outline, you generally just write a working thesis statement, and topic sentences (See highlighted areas below).

Introduction

  • The hook – use an interesting fact, or a quote; give reader a reason to continue
  • Background – give brief information to introduce your thesis statement
  • Thesis statement  – state clearly the direction you will take with the topic / optional: include points of development

Body Paragraphs

Write a topic sentence on the first point of development

  • Provide details, examples, reasons, illustration, or facts to support your topic sentence.
  • Conclude and lead into the next paragraph

Write a topic sentence on the second point of development

  • Provide details, examples, reasons, illustration, or facts to support your topic sentence.
  • Conclude and lead into the next paragraph

Write a topic sentence on the third point of development (optional)

  • Provide details, examples, reasons, illustration, or facts to support your topic sentence.
  • Conclude and lead into conclusion

Conclusion

  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Summarize main points
  • Final thought

Richard Carrigan, MSE

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years and a filmmaker for the past ten years. He has experience teaching English as a Second Language in Asia and teaching university students in the United States. He earned his undergraduate degree from Loma Linda University and his graduate degree from Shenandoah University.