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Essay and report writing skills
Essay and report writing skills

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6.3.2 Stage 2 Create a mind map

Now you need to think about grouping the ideas, creating a flow for your assignment.

We started by grouping together our ideas and material for the essay on the possible advantages of being a mature student. This helped us to create a mind-map by seeing where links could be made and so made it much easier to decide where the weight of evidence was taking our argument .Figure 2).

Figure 2 Mind-map for essay on advantages of being a mature student

Can you see the advantages of using this type of approach to planning? Grouping the parts of your assignment together and making links helps to ensure that you avoid a disjointed response to the question. It can also show how balanced your answer is going to be: are there too many points on one side or does it appear to be balanced?

Activity 16

  • Part 1 Now return to your most recent assignment and try to construct a similar map in order to reveal its underlying structure.

  • Part 2 Having done this, make a note of what worked well and what you might do differently next time.

  • Part 3 Try to apply this by making a plan for your next assignment.


Try to use this activity as an opportunity to improve how you approach future assignments. Did you consider all parts of the question? Did you write yourself into a dead-end? Was the balance right? Was there a clear sense of direction? Take account of these points and see how you can make things better next time.