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!
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.
After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.
When composing essays, many students stop and read over each paragraph once they finish it, making sure that it`s well-written and free of errors before advancing to the next one. This approach is entirely logical when there`s no time pressure involved, but it can actually work against you during an exam.
The most important part of writing an essay exam is ensuring that you`re answering the question was posed. Even if you made sure you were interpreting everything correctly before you began, you may have forgotten to address a subquestion or integrate an example as you were writing. Before you submit, read the prompt again and make sure your completed essay matches up!