Last-minute essays: Tips to help you write on a tight deadline

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Last year, roughly 19.93 million students were enrolled in public and private colleges across the nation. That means that countless co-eds are all too familiar with the feeling of panic that washes over when a huge research paper due tomorrow hasn’t been started.

Those late-night cramming sessions are commonplace, with students often spending hours typing themselves into a frenzy until the sun starts to rise. But unfortunately, those patterns of procrastination can culminate in excessive stress. Of course, that’s not to say that you can always be on top of everything. Sooner or later, you might find yourself in situations that require you to manifest some research papers in a matter of a few hours. It’s essential, therefore, that you learn how to write effectively in a short amount of time.

Start by creating an outline

Writing an outline (or a visual map on paper) will help you keep the structure requirements in mind and can allow you to organize your thoughts in a more concise way. Without an outline, it’s all too easy to jump from topic to topic or to go off on a tangent. Once you figure out what each paragraph is going to cover (and what it shouldn’t), this will make the writing process much faster. Instead of wasting time developing ideas that don’t go anywhere or that won’t fit in with your argument, your paper will feel completely thought-out and logical to the reader.

Sharpen your quick research skills

Now that you’re sure about the structure of your essay and what needs to be included, you can take a bit of time for research upfront. Although you might be tempted to research as you go, devoting a period to only this purpose will allow you to save time later on. Having all the research in front of you before you start writing can allow you to flesh out some of your vaguer ideas and can help you come up with smoother transitions.

Find a unique angle for your thesis

Overly broad research papers and essays are extremely difficult to write. That’s why it’s essential to get specific. Your thesis is what drives your entire paper. If your thesis statement is too general, the final piece will be fairly weak. Find a unique angle for your thesis and make sure it’s specific and has enough evidence to back it up. This will provide the direction you need to develop a strong paper, since it’s easy to eliminate unnecessary sentences that don’t provide support for your argument.

If you’re having trouble figuring out a unique angle, it’s a good idea to ask for help. Brainstorm with a friend, visit your college’s writing center, or look into reputable services for professionally written research papers. These routes can allow you to learn from superior examples and save time, both on this particular assignment and in the future.

Leave the introduction and conclusion for last

Your introduction should provide a brief overview of what will be covered, as well as your definitive claim; your conclusion should neatly summarize and reaffirm (bonus points if you can figure out a way to end your paper with something thought-provoking). It’s often easier to make both sections more definitive if the body paragraphs are already good to go.

Although it’s not necessarily advisable to leave every paper you write for the last minute, you may find that referencing these tips can allow you to do your best work and achieve your best grades. With any luck, you’ll be able to rely on these concepts and improve your time management skills in the future.


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