Have you ever written an essay in 25 minutes? You have if you have ever sat for the SAT. While the stakes may be higher for a last-minute academic essay, the point is this: do not panic! Instead, read this six-step guide to writing an essay in a day:
1. Understand your goals
Whether you are writing a personal statement for a college or graduate school application, or an essay for a high school or college class, your assignment will have specific goals. Before you begin to write, review these goals. Clearly understanding your objective is essential when working with a shortened timeline.
2. Choose a topic
Under normal circumstances, you might devote several days to brainstorming a promising topic, and then you might write a detailed outline before writing and revising your essay over a week or two. When you are on a tight schedule, this is not possible.
So—write down the first three or four ideas that occur to you. If you cannot think of an appropriate topic, ask a parent or a friend to review the assignment with you. Do not spend more than 10 or 15 minutes on this part of your essay, as the execution ultimately matters more than the idea itself.
In addition, do not stress yourself about selecting the “perfect” topic. Without a topic, you will have no essay to turn in, and any essay is better than no essay. (It naturally follows that any topic is also better than no topic at all.)
3. Set deadlines
Establishing deadlines for a one-day essay is key. Budget 5-10 minutes for brainstorming, 15-20 minutes for creating an outline, and several hours for writing. You can also set aside an hour for feedback and review, and another hour for any necessary revisions. You should also allow for an hour-long break to recharge your mind. Finally, plan to submit your essay several hours before the deadline. A schedule with some flexibility will allow you to adapt to any unforeseen complications.
4. Arrange for reviewers in advance
Whenever possible, arrange for reviewers (such as your parents or friends) first thing in the morning, and let them know when they can expect a draft. When your deadline is in several days or weeks, you have the luxury of finding reviewers after you have finished your draft. With a shorter deadline, you will not have this ability. Be clear on the short turnaround time to ensure as smooth a review period as possible.
5. Outline your essay
There are many resources that can advise you on how to write a wonderful essay, but the purpose of this article is to shape that advice to the demands of a very short timeline. This includes resisting the urge to abandon the outline. Having an outline is even more important for a one-day essay than for a week-long project with a similar word count. A strong outline will keep your essay focused and organized from the start—which is critical when time constraints will limit your rewrites.
Your outline should not be detailed, and it should take no more than 15 or 20 minutes to complete. Determine your hook (see below for more information), and then jot down the threads that connect this moment to your central argument or idea.
6. Stay organized
When you are under pressure, your tendency may be to start writing and to see where your essay goes. Try instead to use a brief anecdote or emotional impact statement (i.e. the “hook” in your opening paragraph) to set the stakes for your essay. This is essentially your opportunity to state why your argument or idea is worth your reader’s attention.
Finally, remember that “perfect is the enemy of good.” Manage your expectations. Your goal should be to write a good essay, not a perfect one. If you have a compelling hook and a well-organized flow of ideas, check your writing for errors, and then send it in.
Brian Witte is a professional SAT tutor with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement. He earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Washington and holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University
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A Scene at A Railway Station
A Scene at A Railway Station :
Travelling by trains is very cheap and comfortable so a railways station is a place full of great hustle and bustle. Here we come across people form different parts of the country in different fashions and colors.
Last Sunday, I went to the Chennai central station to see off my friend. He was going to Calcutta by the Howrah Mail. The waiting hall was crowded with all sorts of passengers. There was a long queue in front of the booking window. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry. A passenger’s pocket was picked. But the pickpocket was caught red-handed and handed over to the police. I bought the ticket and came off. We soon reached the platform. The scene there was very interesting. Passengers were waiting eagerly for the arrival of the train. Some were sitting on benches and smoking or reading newspaper. A few were pacing up and down the platform. The vendors were having a busy time. There was rush at tea-stall. The coolies in red uniforms were sitting in a line.
The train stamped in. There was noise and commotions everywhere. There was a great rush at the doors of compartments. Many passengers got down and many more got in. Coolies were seen carrying heavy bundles of luggage on their heads. Children clung to their parents in the great rush. The whole platform was full of noise.
Luckily, my friend got a comfortable seat near a window. Soon all were settled. It was time for the train to depart. The guard flew the whistle and waved the green flag. The engine whistled and the train began to move. There was waging of hands and hand kerchiefs. The train gains speed and kept the stations. The platform looked a deserted place once again.
A Scene at A Railway Station
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