**IMPORTANT NOTE** —> the best tip for a last minute essay is to not leave it for the last minute!
That being said, I can’t think of an essay that I didn’t do just a few days before the due date this term. Yes, it was very irresponsible. But also inevitable if you have 15 essays due in one term!
As term papers approach, remembers that normal essays are NOT like term papers. Term papers are HARD and HUGE and worth a BIG percentage of your grade.
Before I share my tips: please don’t think I’m encouraging you to leave your paper for the last minute! In fact, it would probably be better for you if you didn’t keep reading and write your essay instead ;).
Vale’s tips for last minute essays (in no special order):
- Do all your research before you start writing.
- It’s great to write on an interesting/random topic, but if you only have a few hours it’s easier to write on something that you already know a lot about or know that there is a lot of information on.
- Make an outline! – I hate outlines, but they really really help, event if it’s only 5 lines saying: Intro (thesis = x), point 1 = y, point 2 =z, point 3 = e, conclusion.
- Give each part of your outline a set amount of words – for example, if your essay is 1500 words give each part 300 words, which is actually nothing and easier to imagine (1 or 2 paragraphs)
- Pay a lot of attention to your introduction, especially if you have no idea of what you’ll be writing about, write your thesis and underline/highlight it
- Write the paragraphs for the two/three main points in any order and then cut and paste them in the order that you presented them in the introduction
- Add sentences that connect the paragraphs
- Read all of it and write the conclusion
- Give yourself small things to look forward to (facebook breaks, dinner, a shower)
- snack! and lots of water/coffee
- Find a way to keep track of your progress – for my last essay I texted my roommate every 30 minutes with my word count
- Find out at what moment your are most productive and make the most out of it – in my first hour I’m usually thinking a lot about the thesis and outline so I usually have only about 300 words (the intro), my second hour is about 600 words and then the other 4 hours are about 100-150 words each.
- After writing the conclusion you’ll probably be brain-dead, rest while you get a smart friend to read over it and add his/her comments + fix all those horrible spelling mistakes. If you can, try to exchange essays with a classmate (it helps because they know what the class is about)
- Read over it the next day before turning it in but don’t change your thesis, just fix minor mistakes ;)
…and now, I’m off to my last 4 papers!