Timed and Untimed Essay Writing Strategies: Writing Review Study Guide (page 4)

Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Step 8: Relax

Time's up. You're done! Sit back, relax, and be proud that you've done your best in the limited amount of time you had. Oh yeah, and make sure you put your name on it.

Let's Recap

Untimed essays are not exactly untimed. You don't have forever to complete them; they're actually due at some point. But you'll probably have a good amount of time, and we all know what sometimes happens when we have a long time to complete something: We procrastinate. To combat procrastination, make a schedule and stick to it. As soon as you're assigned your essay, make a schedule. Plan out how much time you'll spend prewriting, how much time you'll spend writing, and how much time you'll spend revising and editing. Before you do anything else, make a plan.

Make sure that your plan includes all the necessary steps in the essay writing process. Don't skip prewriting. Don't skip revising. Both are essential if you want to end up with the best possible essay, one that's clear, organized, and error-free. Once you have your plan, start brainstorming, prewriting, and outlining. From that, you will form the basis of your paper. When you're finished writing, revise and edit! This is crucial. If you haven't planned on time for revision, you'll be forced to turn in an essay that could have many mistakes. Wouldn't you feel proud turning in an essay that you knew was the best it could be? Of course you would. So make a plan, stick to it, and don't forget to revise!

Although untimed essays may tempt us into procrastinating, a timed essay can be a lot of pressure. But, if you come prepared and know how you will budget your time, you'll be off to a good start.

Writing a timed essay is similar to writing any other kind of essay. Your actual essay will need all the same parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Keep it simple, though, because your time is limited. Write a one-paragraph introduction (with a clear thesis statement, of course), a three-paragraph body (one paragraph for each supporting idea), and a one-paragraph conclusion. Don't try to make your essay any more complicated than that.

Before you even get to your timed essay, make sure that you get a good night's sleep, eat a good breakfast, and gather all the supplies you may need. When you're given your assignment, take a few deep breaths. Don't panic. Just go step by step and you'll finish in time. Take a minute or two to understand what you're being asked, and then take another minute or two to budget your time. Make sure to take some time at the beginning to organize your thoughts and take some time at the end to revise. You don't want to be starting your conclusion when your time is up. Just remember to keep it simple and organized. Once you're finished writing, go back over what you've written and correct any errors you may have made. Then, when your time is up, you're done!

If you go into your timed essay well prepared, you'll find it much easier to stay calm and focused. And your essay will reflect that in the end.

Practice exercises for this concept can be found at Timed and Untimed Essay Writing Strategies: Writing Review Practice Exercises.

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