Writing Under Pressure! How To Write Timed Essays?


A common complaint from many human resource professionals these days is the continuing drop in the level of writing ability among newly hired employees. But it is not enough to simply be able to write well, according to these experts. It is just important to be able to write under pressure, using your writing skills to produce quality written material within a certain predetermined amount of time.

Because of this perceived need, the timed essay has seen an increase in popularity among writing instructors at virtually all levels of academia. The following information is presented to help students develop their ability to write while under time constraints.

Quick and Easy Format

Obviously, the chosen format for the timed essay should be kept as simple as possible in order to complete the essay as quickly as possible. Generally speaking, the most simple essay format, and hence the best format for a timed essay, is the traditional 5-paragraph format we all learned in grade school.

Virtually everyone who has had some scholastic writing experience is familiar with this essay format, but for the sake of being thorough, the following is a quick run-down on the 5-paragraph format:

1st Paragraph - Introductory paragraph, contains a clear and well-defined thesis statement

2nd Paragraph - Body paragraph, contains a point supporting the thesis

3rd Paragraph - Body paragraph, contains another, different, point that supports the thesis

4th Paragraph - Body paragraph, contains another, different, point supporting the thesis

5th Paragraph - Concluding paragraph, wraps up the essay, restates the thesis statement

Timesaving Tips

When writing the timed essay in the 5-paragraph format, use these techniques to conserve as much time as possible.

Save Time for Proofreading

This is easier said than done if you are really pressed for time during a timed essay, but if at all possible you should attempt to allow around five to ten minutes at the end of the period to perform a quick proofread. While proofreading is essential for all essay writing, it becomes even more important during timed essays because students are apt to make even more careless errors than usual because of the rush involved.

Scan for the following common errors during the proofread, because these particular errors stand out the most and give your essay a truly unsatisfactory appearance:

- Subject/Verb agreement
- Spelling/Capitalization errors
- Run-on sentences/Comma splices
- Verb tense

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