Essay Writing Tips

How to Write an Essay Fast: A Complete Guide for Students

November 04, 2020
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How to Write an Essay Fast: A Complete Guide for Students

Academic writing has always been one of the biggest issues facing high school and college students on their path. Such assignments can take too much time to complete, not to mention that they require you to have an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter and excellent writing skills.

Among all academic papers, essays are the most commonly-assigned ones. They might be shorter and less complex compared to other tasks like research papers or dissertations. But this fact doesn’t make them any easier to cope with.

Students of all academic levels are constantly struggling with essay writing. But, unfortunately, this type of task has a huge impact on your overall GPA and success in school. Thus, whether you like it or not, you can’t avoid writing essays. But, what you can do, is learn how to do it faster and easier. And we are here to help you with this!

What Is an Essay?

Before we can tell you how to write an essay fast, you need to brush up on some basics such as what an essay is, what types you can face, and what general structure they use. Let’s start with an essay definition.

In a nutshell, an essay is a short literary piece that develops a narrative or argument based on analysis, interpretation, and evidence. One of the key features that distinguish essays from other types of academic writing is that it has a free composition. Unlike other types of papers, an essay though uses external sources and proven facts as a grounding for argumentation, also implies that an author should share his own thoughts, ideas, and impressions concerning the chosen topic.

Essay Types

There are many types of essays and you can face all of them during your studies. It is vital that you learn to distinguish different essay types so that you know how to approach each of them right.

In general, the most common types of this paper include:

  • Narrative - this type of paper tells a story, typically, from the author’s viewpoint. It should include such elements of narrative as setting, characters, climax, and a plot.

  • Descriptive - this type of essay is used to provide a detailed description of a certain feeling, object, person, or event, specifying its unique characteristics and traits (e.g. color, appearance, smell, etc.).

  • Expository - another type of paper that strives to discuss, compare and explore problems.

  • Argumentative - this is one of the most common types of essays and it is used to present a specific viewpoint on a topic and persuade the reader of its validity with the help of supporting arguments, facts, and examples.

Although all these essay types share certain common features, each of them has a different purpose and, thus, requires a different approach. In this guide, we will walk you through the basic steps for quick and effective essay writing, but, to get the best results, you should always keep in mind the purpose of your paper while writing it.

Common Essay Structure

As for the structure, every essay, regardless of the type, consists of three elements - an introduction, main body, and conclusion.

The most commonly-used way to write an essay is using a standard 5-paragraph essay structure. It implies adding one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs (each focusing on a single idea or argument), and one concluding paragraph.

This is the most common and effective structure. So, if you need to write an essay quickly, there is no better template to follow. 

How to Write an Essay Fast in 7 Simple Steps

Writing an essay can seem pretty hard. And it actually is hard, especially if you don’t know how to do it right.

All in all, the essay writing process can be divided into three stages - preparation, writing, and revision. Each stage consists of multiple steps that need to be taken to create a great essay. 

During the first, preparatory stage, a student needs to pick a good essay topic, conduct thorough research on the subject matter, build a clear and strong thesis, and make a detailed outline. After taking these steps, students can move on to the writing stage, which consists of writing an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Finally, the last stage is revision. During it, a student should proofread and polish his paper to ensure that it is free of typos, errors, and plagiarism.

Typically, the whole process can take from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the essay type, complexity of the topic, as well as your skills, experience, and knowledge. But is there a way to speed up the process and handle essay writing faster? Luckily, there are some tips that can help you with this.

Here is a complete guide that will teach you how to write a great essay in just 7 quick steps:

1. Plan Your Time Wisely

If you are wondering how to write an essay fast, chances are that your deadline is just around the corner. If that’s the case, the first thing you need to do is some planning.

Let’s say your paper is due today and you only have about 3 hours to complete it, then consider devoting 1 hour to the preparation stage, 1,5 hours for the writing itself, and 30 minutes for a revision. Plan your time according to this example to ensure that you can handle the task in time. It is recommended to devote at least ½ of your time to writing and ⅕ to researching and structuring. And the rest of the time should be spent on proofreading.

2. Read Your Instructions and Essay Question

In most cases, a professor will provide you with clear and detailed instructions for writing and an essay question. Your next step is to study them carefully to ensure that you understand the task well.

Also, after reading the essay question, think of a quick answer. This will give you the main idea for writing your essay.

If the answer doesn’t come that easy, take some time to brainstorm. Write down everything that comes to your mind when you think of the essay question. Then analyze your ideas and choose what fits best.

3. Research the Topic

If you need to write an essay fast, chances are you will not have much time for the research. Thus, we encourage you to take this step only if it is necessary. If your knowledge of the topic is deep enough, you can take it from there.

If you do need to research the topic, be sure to do it wisely. Don’t waste too much time on doubtful resources. Go straight to the sources you know well and trust and search for the key concepts that can serve as the basis for your paper.

4. Make an Outline

When you need to write a paper really fast, you can’t do it without a solid outline. We recommend spending about 20% of the time you have on structuring and outlining your future essay. This will help you create a solid grounding for your writing stage.

When making an outline, be sure to include all key essay sections in it - an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. With every point in your outline, provide:

  • A central idea

  • Supporting evidence

  • Concluding sentences

  • Transitions to the next paragraph

For the introduction, you should also specify your thesis statement and a hook sentence that will grab the readers’ attention.

Pro Tip: A hook is the first, opening sentence of your essay. It is used to engage and intrigue the reader, and make him want to read the whole thing. To make a strong hook, you can use a relevant anecdote, a rhetorical question, statistical info related to the topic, some shocking statement, or a quote.

5. Write Down the Key Sentences for Your Paragraphs

During the previous stage, you were only making a rough draft of your main statements. Now, when you finally start writing your essay, begin with formulating your key sentences for every paragraph.

Take your time to write a good hook, thesis statement, topic sentences for body paragraphs, restated thesis statement, and a concluding sentence.

6. Write Your Essay

When you have your most important sentences and statements written and polished, all that is left to do is to write the rest of your paper.

Start with your introduction. By this time you should already have a great hook and a well-defined thesis statement. You only need to make smooth transitions between the sentences in the introduction paragraph and maybe add a few background facts about the topic (if necessary).

Move on to the body paragraphs. You already have your topic and concluding sentences for every paragraph. Now, you should formulate your supporting arguments and make smooth transitions.

Finally, during the last step in the writing process, polish your conclusion. Make sure it is logical and clear.

7. Proofread and Edit Your Paper

If you only have a bit of time to finish your essay, it can feel tempting to skip the proofreading and editing stage. But, you should never do that! Without proper proofreading and editing, you risk getting a lower grade. So, be sure to devote at least a bit of time to this stage.

To handle proofreading and editing quickly consider using grammar checkers like Grammarly. Such tools will help you to identify and fix the biggest mistakes quickly and easily. But, don’t forget to proofread your text manually as well to ensure that it is 100% error-free.