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.
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.
Perfecting paragraphs is a time-consuming process, and, if you spend too much time editing before the essay is finished, you might have to rush through the last few sections or leave them out entirely. For this reason, it`s best to focus on producing a complete first draft before you worry about edits and revisions.
On the topic of planning, it`s important to sketch out an idea of how long you want to spend on each section of your essay. If you know the number of paragraphs you`ll need to write ahead of time, you can do this before the exam even starts!
For this reason, it can be helpful to simulate the conditions of a timed exam before the actual day: pick a practice question, find some lined paper, set a stopwatch, and see how you do!
You should formulate your thesis statement—the central argument you`re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long.