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.
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.
In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.
Some students react to the time pressure of essay exams by scribbling down their introduction as soon as they`ve read the question and figuring out their points as they go. While it might seem counter-intuitive, taking five or ten minutes before you start writing in order to draw up a plan will be an enormous time saver.
Although the conclusion paragraph comes at the end of your essay it should not be seen as an afterthought. As the final paragraph is represents your last chance to make your case and, as such, should follow an extremely rigid format.
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.