Before you start writing your essay, it is important that you plan it. Below is an example of what an essay plan should look like (including explanations and tips), and how much detail it should contain. You can use this as a guide for your essay plans.
Essay Question: Has climate change affected Australian ecosystems?
Word Limit: 2,000 words
Introduction (10% of word limit): 200 words
Introductions should never be longer than 500 words, so this 10% guide only applies to essays shorter than 5,000 words.
To be considered an Introduction, an Introduction must do two things:
Answer the question—Climate change has had a profound impact on Australian ecosystems.
This must be done first. An Introduction must answer the question. This is how you put forward a strong argument.
List the evidence your essay will put forward to prove your answer—This can be seen through an examination of scientific research, government agency reports and environmental organisation reports and case studies of specific ecosystems in Australia. Any major topic or subject that you plan to discuss in your essay must be introduced in the Introduction.
Body of the Essay: 400 words each
How long you spend writing about each subject should reflect the importance of each subject. If all four topics are of equal importance, write roughly the same amount of words on each. If a topic is more important, write about it first and write more words on it. If a topic is less important, write about it last and write fewer words on it.
Topic 1: scientific research
Topic 2: government agency reports
Topic 3: environmental agency reports
Topic 4: case studies of specific ecosystems in Australia
Conclusion (10% of word limit): 200 words
Conclusions should never be longer than 500 words, so this 10% guide only applies to essays shorter than 5,000 words.
To be considered a Conclusion, a Conclusion must do two things:
Answer the essay question again (using different words than in the Introduction. Don’t repeat yourself exactly)—Australian ecosystems have been significantly affected by climate change.
Recap (repeat, summarise) all the evidence you have given to prove your answer during your essay—scientific research, government agency reports, environmental agency reports, case studies of specific ecosystems.
A conclusion must not contain any new information. You are only summarising what you have already written.
Updated 6 March 2023
Ellen McRae, PhD, AE (IPEd), MNZSTI
Senior Managing Editor