The essay writing process consists of three main stages: 1. Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline. 2. Writing: Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion. 3. Revision: Check the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.
Become familiar with the course content. If the professor hasn`t told you in advance what a timed essay prompt will be, it can be intimidating to think that you will have to write about a subject you`ve never seen before.
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.
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.
Consider practicing writing under time pressure. You`ve probably written dozens of essays before–the only thing that sets a timed essay apart is that it`s timed. Students often struggle to complete the full essay within the time constraints, particularly if they have to write longhand when they`re accustomed to working on the computer.
Unless if you finished way ahead of schedule, don`t worry about major revisions like reorganizing the structure of the essay–it`s better to hand in an essay with an imperfect structure than a paper that`s impossible to follow because you had to stop halfway through the revision process.