Have you ever written an essay in 25 minutes? You have if you have ever sat for the SAT. While the stakes may be higher for a last-minute academic essay, the point is this: do not panic! Instead, read this six-step guide to writing an essay in a day:
1. Understand your goals
Whether you are writing a personal statement for a college or graduate school application, or an essay for a high school or college class, your assignment will have specific goals. Before you begin to write, review these goals. Clearly understanding your objective is essential when working with a shortened timeline.
2. Choose a topic
Under normal circumstances, you might devote several days to brainstorming a promising topic, and then you might write a detailed outline before writing and revising your essay over a week or two. When you are on a tight schedule, this is not possible.
So—write down the first three or four ideas that occur to you. If you cannot think of an appropriate topic, ask a parent or a friend to review the assignment with you. Do not spend more than 10 or 15 minutes on this part of your essay, as the execution ultimately matters more than the idea itself.
In addition, do not stress yourself about selecting the “perfect” topic. Without a topic, you will have no essay to turn in, and any essay is better than no essay. (It naturally follows that any topic is also better than no topic at all.)
3. Set deadlines
Establishing deadlines for a one-day essay is key. Budget 5-10 minutes for brainstorming, 15-20 minutes for creating an outline, and several hours for writing. You can also set aside an hour for feedback and review, and another hour for any necessary revisions. You should also allow for an hour-long break to recharge your mind. Finally, plan to submit your essay several hours before the deadline. A schedule with some flexibility will allow you to adapt to any unforeseen complications.
4. Arrange for reviewers in advance
Whenever possible, arrange for reviewers (such as your parents or friends) first thing in the morning, and let them know when they can expect a draft. When your deadline is in several days or weeks, you have the luxury of finding reviewers after you have finished your draft. With a shorter deadline, you will not have this ability. Be clear on the short turnaround time to ensure as smooth a review period as possible.
5. Outline your essay
There are many resources that can advise you on how to write a wonderful essay, but the purpose of this article is to shape that advice to the demands of a very short timeline. This includes resisting the urge to abandon the outline. Having an outline is even more important for a one-day essay than for a week-long project with a similar word count. A strong outline will keep your essay focused and organized from the start—which is critical when time constraints will limit your rewrites.
Your outline should not be detailed, and it should take no more than 15 or 20 minutes to complete. Determine your hook (see below for more information), and then jot down the threads that connect this moment to your central argument or idea.
6. Stay organized
When you are under pressure, your tendency may be to start writing and to see where your essay goes. Try instead to use a brief anecdote or emotional impact statement (i.e. the “hook” in your opening paragraph) to set the stakes for your essay. This is essentially your opportunity to state why your argument or idea is worth your reader’s attention.
Finally, remember that “perfect is the enemy of good.” Manage your expectations. Your goal should be to write a good essay, not a perfect one. If you have a compelling hook and a well-organized flow of ideas, check your writing for errors, and then send it in.
Brian Witte is a professional SAT tutor with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement. He earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Washington and holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University
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Best Day of My Life
I remember that day well. It was just another match day at the coliseum but this was different because that day I was going. I woke early that day with anticipation. I raced down the stairs putting my clothes on as I went even though I knew that the battle wasn't on for another two hours. I could see that day would be a day I would never forget because crowds of people were already walking past the door, there had never been that amount of people that early before. A truck rolled past carrying bloodthirsty tigers which was heading for the abnormally large arena, I thought these must be for another battle but I was later proved wrong.
I joined the bloodthirsty, anxious…show more content…
I quickly took my seat because the stadium was filling up fast. The music was already playing so I knew the action was about to begin. The stadium was filled with people all here to witness this spectacular event. Many people were wearing red gowns and giant silk scarf's, it looked like a sea of red. I could smell freshly baked bread, I didn't know why though. At one point I had to cover my ears with the sheer volume coming from the impatient crowd.
The animal hunt was up first, I had only ever heard about this, I had never actually seen it. Ten people where put in with a pack of wild bears they were only given one sword each, they where totally hopeless because the ripped them apart. It was quite enjoyable because they were only slaves.
Now was the time I was waiting for, Caesar came out and introduced the big match and gave us a big surprise, he got his servants to throw out bread and fruit from a cart. This must have been what I could smell earlier. I caught an apple many people lost out though. Luckily it tasted nice because I was hungry. Tigras came out on a horse drawn carriage pulled by 4 horse decorated with flowers, the crowd went silent obviously the crowd supported Maximus. A short time later Maximus casually strolled out the crowd went wild knocking the apple straight out of my hand. Maximus waved to us all he was a true