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.
Therefore, if you take the time to review your notes and ensure you understand everything that was discussed, it should be difficult for the essay question to catch you off guard. As soon as you read the question, relevant course concepts will start popping into your head, and you`ll just have to organize them into a coherent essay.
Define a topic: If you`re allowed to choose your own topic, try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
Although it may seem like a waste of time – especially during examswhere time is tight – it is almost always better to brainstorm a bit before beginning your essay. This should enable you to find the best supporting ideas – rather than simply the first ones that come to mind – and position them in your essay accordingly.
Consider practicing writing under time pressure. You`ve probably written dozens of essays before–the only thing that sets a timed essay apart is that it`s timed. Students often struggle to complete the full essay within the time constraints, particularly if they have to write longhand when they`re accustomed to working on the computer.
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.