Without a clear plan, you run the risk of realizing partway through that you`ve drifted off topic or written yourself into a corner, and fixing these mistakes will consume a ton of extra time.
The most critical part of the essay-writing process actually happens before you write your first word. When you flip to the essay question, make sure you read it as carefully as you can, noting the difference between words such as `contrast` and `analyze` and highlighting any details which the professor specifically instructs you to include. It`s not uncommon for excellent essays to receive low marks because the student answered a question other than the one that was asked.
Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you`re going to say it.
Come up with a thesis: The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
Do your research: Read primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You`ll use these as evidence for your points.
If you have enough time left over, read your essay again and make corrections. When you`re working under time pressure, it`s easy to make grammar mistakes or produce hard-to-follow sentences; the final few minutes are your chance to clean up those errors.