Determine the three (3) best ideas to support your thesis
The best ideas are ones that strengthen the thesis statement and make it plausible and compelling for the audience of the essay.

Well constructed paragraphs are the basis of a well structured essay

The beginning, middle and end of an essay function as the orientation, exposition and conclusion.
Yet to plan your essay effectively, think about each paragraph as comprised of a thesis statement, an explanation, substantiation and a conclusion. This way the essay structure will give momentum, clarity and purpose to the essays development.
In a well-planned essay with a series of well planned paragraphs; each paragraph may be a microcosm of the entire essay.

Effective paragraphs contain effective topic sentences

Essay planning should include time to construct intellectually strong topic sentences.
These sentences, which normally comprise the opening sentence of each paragraph, are alternatively known as the theme of the paragraph. They determine the direction of the essay, and as such, must be considered carefully in the planning process and crafted thoughtfully.
Usually, an effective topic sentence relates to the essay question in a specific and definite manner, as well as making an unambiguous and clear assertion that aids the thesis statement positioned in the opening paragraph.

How to Plan Your Essay: Close Reading of a Text

When an essay demands a response to a particular text, the matter of how to plan your essay is of vital importance.
With a clear sense of the main requirements of the essay question in mind, the prescribed or chosen text should be read critically to extract its meaning.
Reading texts is an activity that should be approached very actively when an essay response is required.

Interrogate the Text

To read actively, it is best to interrogate the text by highlighting its key passages, making annotations in the margins and speaking back to the text, by writing questions and making written comments.
For an essay to respond in a profound way to a text, the texts purpose and techniques must be correctly identified and carefully evaluated. It is useful to determine how a texts title relates to its contents.

Time Management: Critical to How you Plan your Essay

To plan your essay, the intellectual processes listed above are insignificant, if time is not managed effectively.
Time must be shared appropriately to reading the task, reading to find the best source material, reading and analyzing the source material, note taking, prioritizing ideas, selecting evidence to support key ideas, your essay draft and proofreading your essay.
Since essay writing is a multi-step undertaking; the effectiveness of each step of essay plan is affected by how well the previous step has been carried out.

How to Plan your Essay: The Value of Editing

When considering how to plan your essay, consider using another person or collection of individuals to peer review your drafted essay.
This step provides a second layer of essay evaluation, providing the writer with further ways to enhance the clarity of the essays message and communication.
Improvement in essay construction through the editing process occurs when sentence and paragraph construction, as well as use of vocabulary, punctuation and grammar are evaluated seeking ways to improve each of these features of your essay.
writing

Proofreading

A final reading for mechanical errors allows punctuation omissions or irregular citations to be identified and corrected.
An essay that complies with all requirements creates a stronger impression upon the reviewer and audience.

Post Essay Evaluation

Part of planning your essay is realising that the process of essay construction is a continuous loop.
The self evaluation of each stage of the review should inform how you plan you essay on the next occasion, so that there is a deliberate move towards mastering essay writing skills.

Post Essay Feedback

The feedback received from the essays audience and reviewer should also refine how you plan your essay on the next occasion.