Although there is often nothing like a rapidly approaching deadline to both motivate and inspire, understanding how to minimise your writing time and maximise the quality of your work is crucial if you want to write a great essay in a single night. It can be done and here’s how.
As you’re working to a tight deadline, selecting a quiet area in which you can write completely distraction-free is imperative. Make sure it’s somewhere you feel confident is conducive to your style of working and if you know you are prone to procrastinating, turn your phone off.
Prepare a Schedule
Dividing your night into 30 minute segments will help you to manage the time you have available effectively. As a rough guide, assign 25% of your time to plan your essay, 50% for writing, and 25% for formatting, proofreading and editing. When you meet each goal, reward yourself with a short break away from your books and screen.
Query the Question
Although you don’t have all the time in the world, it is important to ensure that you fully answer the question and meet all the requirements expected of you. Read your question several times and familiarise yourself with any accompanying materials that have been provided to you.
Make a clear note of the word count alongside any specific sources that you should reference. It is also a good idea to ensure that you know where you should submit your completed assignment and how it should be presented.
Build your Knowledge
You won’t be able to construct a substantial argument and sufficiently defend your thesis without reading relevant theory and criticism surrounding your subject. Don’t panic about not having the time to complete any in-depth research and instead focus on identifying what you think will be the most useful sources.
When reading quickly, allow yourself to focus on the introductory and closing sentences of each paragraph. Skim everything else whilst highlighting anything you think might be useful.
Prepare your Thesis
As the most important component of your essay, it is important that you spend time preparing a strong thesis that will give you the space to demonstrate your knowledge within a clear and concise argument. This will help you to ensure that you aren’t submitting an unfocused essay with a weak argument that won’t hold your reader’s attention.
Distil your thesis into a single sentence, write it down, and continue to refer to it throughout your essay writing process.
Develop your Ideas
Spend around 30 minutes writing down some core ideas and highlight any specific sources or examples that will support your argument. Use this time to be creative and explore the potential depths of your thesis.
It might help you to organise your ideas visually by connecting key facts and ideas with lines to begin to develop a possible structure. Remember, you don’t have to include everything, so focus on developing your most convincing ideas.
Outline your Structure
As soon as you know what you want to say, you need to determine how your argument should be organised to guide your reader seamlessly through your essay and present them with your thoughts in a clear and logical way.
Ideally you should aim to spend 30 minutes outlining your essay in short bullet points. Although this will of course depend on your word count, the average essay outline should include an introduction, three main paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Ready, Set, Write
Now is your opportunity to flesh out your outline into something more substantial. Don’t worry too much about perfecting every detail at this stage because you can make adjustments later. Instead, focus on getting your thoughts and ideas down on paper.
Revise, Proofread and Edit
After taking a short break, refine your essay and ensure that every argument has been appropriately substantiated with evidence. Every point should be clear and hyper-relevant to your thesis. Your final proofread should filter out spelling, grammatical and referencing errors, ensuring that your essay looks professional and doesn’t lose marks for easily avoidable mistakes.
Remember, don’t panic, break your essay down into manageable tasks and consistently focus on substantiating your core thesis.