**UPDATE** As of July 26, 2023 Writing Task #2 will now be an Academic Discussion Writing Task. Therefore, the following advice will not apply to TOEFL. You can find out more at ets.org or click here and scroll to "New Writing Task." This advice does apply if you are planning to continue academic education in English and want to improve as a writer.
Just as architects draw up plans to create a structure, you also must make a plan for your essay. I know what you're going to say; I don't have time for that. You don't have time to go without a plan. Here's how to create an outline for your academic essay.