If you must write an essay during an exam or test, such as at the conclusion of an English 101 course, for example, then you’re likely to face considerable anxiety during the test. And I’d like to share two secret tricks that will work really well to help you organize your thoughts quickly so that you could begin writing in confidence.
When you have a limited amount of time to write an essay, you naturally become very nervous. This anxiety is really your biggest obstacle.
Now, the fact is that when you are asked to write an essay in-class, especially when you’re not allowed to use texts or notes, the essay prompt in those cases assumes that the student already has all the information necessary to write a good essay. But why is it so hard to retrieve that information under pressure? And the answer is: anxiety.
So, let me share two tricks that will help you overcome the anxiety and write the essay confidently.
Trick Number One
Decide as quickly as possible whether you agree or disagree with the question or statement in the prompt. And I mean, as quickly as possible – because that’s the first main gatekeeper of the flow of thoughts. Yes or No? Agree or Disagree? Decide as quickly as possible.
And if you have difficulty deciding, there are simple exercises that you can do to overcome this first gatekeeper (more on them in other articles and also on my YouTube Channel). As soon as you have decided on the issue, the anxiety will diminish by about fifty percent, enabling your next step. Which brings us to…
Trick Number Two
Divide the answer into three parts. Now, it doesn’t have to be three. But here’s the biggest part of the trick: you shouldn’t have to decide on the number of parts during the test. You should do it at home – way before the test.
You can ask, how is it possible? How can I know that the topic that I’ll get could in fact be divided into three parts? Well, let me tell you – it is not only possible but it will save you a huge chunk of your allotted writing time to just show up at the test knowing that you’ll be dividing the topic into three parts.
In other words, you will present three reasons you believe the issue is positive or negative. Or, you will provide three ways in which something affects something else. Or three best or worst things about something.
Remember – any topic can be divided into three parts – absolutely any topic. So, there’s no need to show up at the test or exam without having decided in advance that you’ll be presenting three reasons.
And the three reasons allow you to write three strong paragraphs, preceded by the introduction and closed with a conclusion, which makes for a perfect five paragraph essay, if that’s one of the requirements. But each reason should really correspond to a section that can consist of one or more paragraphs, if you have to write a longer essay or have more than one hour to write it.
I hope this was helpful. Now, I know there is more to acing an essay test, and one technique you should really master is Zooming In, because it allows you to add content very fast – regardless of how difficult writing may have been for you in the past.
And I’ll talk to you soon.