Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you`re going to say it.
For example, if you`ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you`ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay, on the other hand, you`ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.
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 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.
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.
The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay.