To get yourself thinking clearly about what you’re going to be writing, see if you can sum up what your argument is going to be in a single sentence – a bit like an ‘elevator pitch’.
When you’re in a hurry, your notes can double up as an essay plan, killing two birds with one stone.
Start by typing your essay notes directly into the document you’ve created for your essay.
Most young people these days type faster than they write by hand, so unless you’ve been told that you must handwrite your essay, type it.
This will make it much easier to edit what you’ve written and change things around, and you’ll be able to get more words in through typing quickly.
This is particularly hazardous when you’re under pressure, because your brain has a tendency to see what it wants to see; it may tell you that the title is asking a question that you want to answer, while the reality might be subtly but crucially different.
So, start by reading the question very carefully and ensuring you’ve completely understood what it’s asking you to do.
Once you’ve done this, organise the notes into a sensible structure by dragging and dropping paragraphs into an order you think works. You now have the outline of your essay in note form.
You can now turn your notes into an essay by rewriting them into academic prose, complete with ‘filler’ sentences that glue it all together and help build your argument.
When you’ve finished writing, it’s still worth having a quick final read through your essay for a sense check and to ensure that it flows well – but this should take less time now that you’ve already checked for errors.
The internet is full of resources that probably exactly match what you’re going to be writing about, and when you’re in a hurry, there can be a strong temptation to copy and paste useful paragraphs into your essay. Plagiarism is not only immoral, but it also means that you won’t learn the topic in as much depth – and the whole point of writing an essay is to consolidate what you’ve learned and prepare you adequately for future exams.