Ways to write an essay

Follow these steps when writing an essay, whether you're writing a college application essay, a scholarship application essay or a class essay. Learning how to.
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If you're wondering how to write essays faster, here's a feasible 14 hour timeline that you can follow remember this is just a brief summary of each stage — we go into more detail below! Remember to schedule in a few short 10 minute breaks one every 45—60 minutes so should do the trick.

Giving your brain a rest is key to keeping your overall productivity levels up, and stretching or doing some brief exercises will also help. If you've been given a choice of essay questions, you should choose the one you have the most knowledge about, or have some strong opinions on. After all, this isn't the time to learn a new topic from scratch — no matter how much easier the question seems, 24 hours isn't long enough to learn anything in enough detail! What's more, questions that seem easy at first glance are often the hardest of all. The very fact that they're short and worded in a very straightforward way means you're probably expected to construct a much more original and complex essay to respond to it.

10 Steps to Write a Brilliant Essay

Next, decide your approach — how are you going to tackle the question? It's your essay and as long as you keep relating your arguments to the question you can take it in any direction you choose. Once you've decided on your approach to answering the question, you should be able to form a pretty solid plan for the body of the essay.

Write out three to five key points that you want to make in your overall argument, and underneath each one, use bullet points to list all the information, supporting arguments and, better still, any rebuttals you have to popular counter-arguments or quotes you already have for each point. Start with the most obvious or all-encompassing argument , as this will allow you to progressively go into more detail on each of the smaller arguments — one of the keys to a good essay.

Once you've done this, actually writing the essay should just be a case of bulking out each point and filling in the gaps.

QUT cite|write - Writing an essay

This method is perfect for writing against the clock , as you won't find yourself stuck thinking what to write about next, or going off in tangents that you hadn't accounted for when allotting your time. And yes, we realise we haven't got around to finding quotes and references yet — but stick with us, there's a good reason for this! It might seem a little counter-intuitive to start writing an essay before you've sourced all your quotes and references, but there's method to our madness. As your intro is unlikely to need many if any quotes, it makes sense to get the ball rolling and feel a sense of achievement as soon as you've planned your essay and know where it's going.

This way, when you sit down after lunch to tackle the main body of the essay, you'll have already knocked a couple of hundred words off the word count. Don't worry too much about making it sound amazing at this point — just get stuck into introducing your argument and telling the reader how you will support it. You can go back and make yourself sound smarter later on when you're at the editing stage. Create a mini-outline in your introduction so you signpost exactly what it is you're planning to argue. And don't use the introduction as a space to throw in random references to things that are vaguely relevant, especially if you're just doing it to hit the minimum number of references required.

When in doubt, leave it out! It's important to limit the time you spend on this, as it is easy to get distracted when Google presents you with copious amounts of irrelevant information. But you'll find your essay easy to write if you're armed with lots of relevant info, so don't scrimp on it either. Choose the keywords you're searching for wisely, and copy and paste any key ideas and quotes you find into a separate 'Research' document. If you're using reference books rather than online resources, give yourself an extra 10 minutes to get anything that looks useful from the library.

And although it sounds obvious, remember to use the index!

Alternatively, use Google Scholar to find direct quotes without spending time going through endless paragraphs. Of course, your best bet will be any references that you've picked up in your lecture notes. Even if you haven't noted down the names, take a look through the lecture slides if your lecturer is kind enough to put them online and see if they contain any gems.

While you gather quotes, keep a note of your sources and format them for your bibliography. Not only will this help you swerve any accusations of plagiarism, but compiling your list of citations as you work saves having to do them all at the end the last thing you want after smashing out 3, words. Aside from being how you're supposed to reference anyway, it has the added benefit of adding three sources to your bibliography instead of just the one.

Also, if you're using Microsoft Word or later to write your essay, make use of the automatic referencing system. Simply enter the details of sources as you go along, and it will automatically create a perfect bibliography or works cited page at the end. This tool is amazing and could save you a lot of extra work typing out your references and bibliography. Alternatively, check out our list of apps for students to see how you could do the job just by scanning the barcode of whatever book you're using! Credit: Atanas Bezov - Shutterstock. You've had your brain-fuelling lunch , and now it's time to get typing.

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How to Write an Essay Introduction: Tips and Tricks

If you struggle a bit with wording your ideas in an eloquent way, focus first on getting all your content down. After all, you can refine the wording at the editing stage , and it's much easier to think about style once you have everything you want to say typed up first.


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While your essay plan should see you through, there's nothing to say that more ideas won't occur to you as you go along. Unless they absolutely have to be included, jot them down on a notepad — they could come in handy if you need to make up the word count later! Use the research you gathered earlier to support the key ideas you set out in your outline, but don't ramble for the sake of it. Try to be concise and have faith that the strength of your arguments will take you to around 2, ish words.

Imagine your essay is a bit like a kebab stick: the meat is your essential points and you surround each chunk with vegetables quotes and remarks to make the full kebab God we can't wait for dinner at 6pm. If you're struggling to reach the word limit, don't panic. Pick out a single point in your argument that you feel hasn't been fully built upon, and head back to your research.

There will almost certainly be an additional quote or two that you could throw in to make your point even clearer. Of course, if you're using a lot of quotes from other sources, make sure you paraphrase your main arguments to give the essay your own voice and make clear to yourself which words are yours and which are someone else's. Plagiarism is serious and all your hard work could be completely discounted if you don't cite properly! Your conclusion shouldn't take too long at all. You're basically just summarising the arguments you've spent the last few hours detailing, and explaining how they all tie together to support your overall response to the question you chose.

We've allowed 3 hours and 45 minutes for editing your essay, which might sound a bit excessive — and for some of you, it definitely will be. If this is you, then take this time to refine what you've produced and make sure it gets full marks for written communication. What should I do if I can't think of an answer for one of the requirements of the essay?

If you can, ask your teacher to clarify the question. Tell them you don't understand. If they explain it to you another way, you may be able to figure out how to answer. If this is not possible, just do your best to answer the parts of the question you do understand. Not Helpful 5 Helpful 5. Introduce what the entire work will be about. Add all necessary background information. State or summarize the point or moral of your essay.

Not Helpful 1 Helpful 2. What do I do if I'm overthinking when trying to write an essay quickly? Plan out ideas clearly and go with what you know is correct. Avoid using too many complex words just to sound fancy and try to get your point across.

Choosing a question and planning your essay

If you are overthinking too much, take a short break to come up with ideas and then get back to writing. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 0. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. Related wikiHows. Article Summary X In order to successfully write an essay in under 30 minutes, you need to plan, be organized, and work efficiently.

Did this summary help you? Article Info This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Did this article help you? Cookies make wikiHow better. By continuing to use our site, you agree to our cookie policy.

Co-Authored By:. Co-authors: Updated: October 14, JS John Smythe Apr 8, It's a fantastic tip, fantastic article, fantastic website. Thank you, wikiHow! LG Luis Gudino Nov 15, I recommend adding a timer while writing your essay so you can follow this guideline and finish while still being able to catch some sleep at night. KC Kiriyana Chernishov Jan 10, This is going to help a lot! Rated this article:. IH Ima Harbingerofdeath Jan 25, Lol, my laptop is at low battery, only have 1 hr 30 min to write a full essay. BG Bob George Dec 5, I also liked how they used real life exactly.

PP Pamela Parker Jul 21, Also helped me improve my spelling on some words. Thank you so much. A Anonymous Aug 18, However, most of the things in this article I already do. Sep 28, This helps me a lot. TC Therese Cosco Mar 27, I came here for help with writing the essay. Your essay will be much more convincing if you can offer evidence for each of your ideas. Are you ready to write an essay? Let's find out in this short quiz!