How To Write An Essay In One Day

Come this fall, your college workload will hit you like a brick. Summer has ended and the cynical cycle of papers and pens returns. Professors like to think their material is your top priority, but in reality it’s just one of many with homework from other classes, a job or two to juggle and a social life to maintain. Truth is the only reason you’ll care about an upcoming essay is because odds are it’s 20 percent of your grade. Your time is limited, so you’ll end up writing this masterpiece the night before it’s due. Under this pressure and deadline, the real question becomes: How do you minimize your writing time while maximizing quality?

Step 1: Isolate Yourself

You won’t finish this essay unless you avoid distractions completely. Lock yourself in your room, go to your favorite library or slap in some earplugs. Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself any opportunity for distractions. Yes, this includes your phone. Unless you have a legitimate reason to have your phone on, turn it off until you crank out that essay.

Step 2: Peruse the Prompt

Your procrastination has paid off and now is the time to figure out what your professor wants from you. Whip out those highlighters and take a look at the prompt. You don’t have time to study it carefully, but at least go through it once. As you read through it your first and final time, mark all the important things such as page requirements, specific questions that need answering and required sources. Be sure to know when, where and how to turn in your essay. You don’t want to be scrambling to print last minute.

Step 3: Make a (Conceptual) Outline

You probably don’t know your specific topic yet, seeing as you just started. However, that shouldn’t limit your ability to make a plan of attack. Take a look at your highlights and generate an outline of the general items you need; “thesis” and “paragraph on context,” for example.

Step 4: Caffeinate

You’re going to need something to help you grind through the next steps, so grab some coffee or soda to boost your energy. With how little time you have, breaks aren’t an option. Get ready to burn your engines hot, full steam ahead.

Step 5: Crunch time

It’s time to add the meat to the skeleton. Take 10 to 20 minutes (no more) to figure out your argument and hone in on an approach. Develop a working thesis and your topic sentences. Focus on making your thesis functional, not perfect. You’re running out of time, so you just need a workable foundation to get you started. You can revise it later. Once you have your specific topic, write. Write like the wind, Bullseye! Treat it like a timed final and try to crank it out in less than an hour. Don’t worry about page limits, just generate as much content as you can with the material you’ve got.

Step 6: Sleep on It

Once you finish writing, the best thing to do is sleep on it. This might seem odd, seeing as your paper is due tomorrow, but I promise it’ll help. It doesn’t matter if your paper is due in the morning; I guarantee you won’t make much progress going straight into revisions. Set your alarm a little earlier than normal and go to bed. When you wake up, grab a snack and revise with a fresh set of eyes. Do another once-over to fix any awkward sentences and redundancies and to make sure you hit that page requirement.

Step 7: Celebrate

You did it! You wrote an entire revised essay in less than 24 hours. Celebrate with some much-needed caffeine and print (or upload) your newly crafted masterpiece.

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  1. I'm really just after some reassurance here; I have a 3000 word essay due in on Tuesday that I haven't written a word of yet!

    I need to sleep pretty much now as I have to get up at 4-5 tomorrow morning, then I have lectures until 3 so I won't be able to start until then. I do sort of have a clue what I'm writing about and I've written a pretty good essay plan but I'm still only going to have about 6 hours maximum to write the entire thing. And this includes a full reference list in the Vancouver style.

    Pleeeease can someone tell me this isn't entirely impossible, or that they've done a similar thing themselves?!?
  2. What time do you need to hand this in on tuesday?
    You'll probably have to do an all nighter for this one (night of monday to tuesday).

    I mean if you have to get up at 4/5 and you are at uni till 3, you are going to be pretty tired when you get back? So either take a nap and then work, or do some work, sleep and then do everything the rest of the night and what you have left on tuesday.

    It's tricky but possible.
    (Original post by Carpet21)
    I'm really just after some reassurance here; I have a 3000 word essay due in on Tuesday that I haven't written a word of yet!

    I need to sleep pretty much now as I have to get up at 4-5 tomorrow morning, then I have lectures until 3 so I won't be able to start until then. I do sort of have a clue what I'm writing about and I've written a pretty good essay plan but I'm still only going to have about 6 hours maximum to write the entire thing. And this includes a full reference list in the Vancouver style.

    Pleeeease can someone tell me this isn't entirely impossible, or that they've done a similar thing themselves?!?
  3. Yes, but not well.

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