How to Write a Timed Essay

How to Write a Timed Essay
The Scenario
 You have 90 minutes in which to write a timed
 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
 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
ideas for a
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
 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
 Remember to keep referring back to the words of
the title and relate everything to the question set.
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.
 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.
 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