In the end, then, one thing is clear: mistakes do far more to help us learn and improve than successes. As examples from both science and everyday experience can attest, if we treat each mistake not as a misstep but as a learning experience the possibilities for self-improvement are limitless.
However, it`s important to keep in mind that your professor understands the circumstances under which the essay was written. They`re fully aware of the time pressure you were dealing with, and they will judge your work far differently than they would judge a typical essay with a deadline set weeks after the assignment date.
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.
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.
Your best supporting idea – the one that most strongly makes your case and, simultaneously, about which you have the most knowledge – should go first. Even the best-written essays can fail because of ineffectively placed arguments.
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.