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.
This tip may seem basic, but it`s easy to forget and it can make a big difference. Both these measures won`t just make it easier for the marker to read your paper; they`ll also help you write it. If you have time left at the end of the exam for review, having the ability to skim quickly through your work and write revisions in blank spaces will be incredibly helpful.
It`s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don`t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.
However, this thinking process does not reflect the reality of the situation. In fact, even if your teacher hasn`t given you any hints about the essay question, you do know what it will be about: the concepts and ideas you`ve discussed in the course.
The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader`s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.
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.