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.
Remember the paragraph-based schedule we discussed above? It`ll be useless if you don`t do regular check-ins during the exam. Keep an eye on the clock to ensure you`re always on track.
Start planning if you can. Although the situation described above sometimes occurs, it`s also very common for professors to give their students a fairly detailed idea of what an essay question will involve in advance of the test day.
If you have enough time left over, read your essay again and make corrections. When you`re working under time pressure, it`s easy to make grammar mistakes or produce hard-to-follow sentences; the final few minutes are your chance to clean up those errors.
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.
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.