How to Write a Timed Essay The Scenario You have 90 minutes in which to write a timed essay. Half way through you start to run out of ideas. You forget about that brilliant point that you were going to make. You read through your essay and you get that horrible sick feeling that you haven’t answered the question properly. You run out of time and realize that you needed to add something when it’s too late. The Solution Spend 10 to 15 minutes planning your answer. Remember that you need to represent both points of view and demonstrate an understanding of the argument. You need to use quotes from BOTH passages as well. Steps to planning a Successful Essay Spend 10 minutes brainstorming your ideas. Spend at least 10 minutes organising the results of your brainstorm. Make sure that your answer is balanced. Structure your essay with a clear introduction, main body and conclusion. The main body should consist of around 3 or 4 paragraphs that weigh up the arguments to support your answer. How to Brainstorm an answer: Cross out any ideas that you know are not relevant Make sure that you have enough ideas for a balanced answer Draw up a list or a spider graph Brainstorming a Timed Essay Number your ideas in order to prioritise them Write down as many relevant facts that you can remember The Introduction Define the key words or phrases in the title. Briefly state the argument you are going to follow in the main body, mentioning both positions. Give a brief outline of what you are going to write about using the words of the title. Main Body of your Timed Essay You must avoid superficial statements or trying to tell a story, although you need to use examples from your own life, from books that you have read, movies you have seen, class discussions you have had, and more. Each paragraph needs a balance of evidence and analysis. Remember to keep referring back to the words of the title and relate everything to the question set. Warning Avoid the phrase ‘I Think’ (Your essay is your point of view.) Make sure you use quotes. Make sure you demonstrate an understanding of both authors. Titles ARE GOOD TO USE! Conclusion Restate your argument using the words of the authors. Briefly summarise the main points again in one sentence. Finish with a contemporary example or quote, but make sure you have tied it in to your overall ideas. Finally Spend five minutes checking your answer. Write a conclusion during the 30-min pre- writing phase. If you run out of time on the 60-minute writing phase, you can refer back to this idea to write a quick conclusion. If you run out of time, refer to your brainstorm.
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