Time Breakdown: How to write a coherent 300 word essay in 30 minutes or less.

1. Examine the issue (4 minutes)

a. What is the basic issue? Try to phrase it as a question.

b. Those in favor would say___________________.

c. Those against would say___________________.

2. Choose your points (5 minutes)

a. Arguments in favor:

b. Arguments opposed:

c. Take a side: which side do you prefer?

d. Write a thesis statement.

3. Outline (about 1 minute)

a. Make sure that your outline:

  • states the central idea of the essay clearly and forcefully.
  • provides a word or phrase for every paragraph in the essay.
  • relates each paragraph to the central idea of the essay in (2a) above.
  • includes an opening and closing paragraph which tie the essay together.

b. Build your paragraphs in the essay carefully. You will produce effective writing on analyzing an issue by following a few simple rules:

  • Use topic sentences that not only sum up the idea of the paragraph, but also relate to the main argument of the essay.
  • Every statement in each paragraph should relate to the central idea of the paragraph in (3a) above. In each paragraph, use examples to support the central idea or explain it completely..
  • Consciously choose paragraph length, for if your paragraphs are all too short (one or two sentences), you will be penalized, and if they are too long you will also be penalized.

4. Write/type your essay (18-20 minutes)

  • What’s your thesis sentence?
  • Arguments for…
  • Arguments opposed…

5. Proofread Your Work (2-3 minutes)

  • Check for grammar, spelling, etc.
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