Writing a good essay is one of the most daunting tasks many students face when they begin college or university. Often students will procrastinate, avoiding the challenging task of beginning a paper until it is almost due, resulting in a poor quality essay and a weak grade. This article provides a few valuable tips to help students plan their time effectively to help ensure top marks.
In my first year of university I struggled with essay writing as much as my peers, and possibly more. I procrastinated and avoided writing my term papers as long as possible, causing myself untold stress and worry. However, by the time I finished graduate school I had mastered the process of planning, researching and writing essays. Instead of stress, fear and worry I was able to write with confidence and achieve top grades.
A large part of success in essay writing is found in planning your time effectively. If you create a schedule for your work that avoids conflicts and ensures you have ample time to complete each task, the quality of your writing will improve dramatically. Use this simple process to plan your semester and you will be more able to relax and enjoy your time in the knowledge that you have your assignments well in hand.
1. Gather your class schedules and/or syllabi.
2. Sit down with a calendar and mark off the dates of projects, essays and exams.
3. Identify conflicts, such as multiple exams or essays happening in the same week. This is common at the end of a term.
4. Identify other dates and elements of your life that might conflict with your assignments. Examples could include work, athletics, family holidays or other events you cannot or do not wish to miss.
5. Estimate how much time each assignment will take you. Warning – always overestimate the time it will take to complete a project. Far better to finish early than to be overworked.
6. Identify blocks of time in your weekly schedule where you can get pieces of work finished. In the best case you will have several 2-3 hour gaps between classes.
7. Assign the time necessary to complete each project, including assignments, research, writing and preparation for exams. Use every week available.
8. Avoid planning any work on weekends. At a minimum, try not to plan anything for Friday or Saturday nights. You will likely not do it anyways, so don’t make yourself feel guilty while you are doing something else. Get your work done during the week and enjoy your time off without stress.
9. Be sure to reassess your schedule and make changes if your time estimates are inaccurate.
10. Always think about ways to use your time more efficiently. There are hundreds of ways to study more effectively, or make the most of your time while researching an essay.
If you are proactive you can avoid becoming one of those famously overworked, stressed out and miserable students who are buried under a mountain of work. Instead you can enjoy your education while earning top grades.