Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline. This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.
On the topic of planning, it`s important to sketch out an idea of how long you want to spend on each section of your essay. If you know the number of paragraphs you`ll need to write ahead of time, you can do this before the exam even starts!
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.
There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative: they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.
For this reason, it can be helpful to simulate the conditions of a timed exam before the actual day: pick a practice question, find some lined paper, set a stopwatch, and see how you do!
Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?