Is It Possible to Write a Strong Academic Essay Overnight?
No matter how much you try to avoid the situation entirely, chances are you will find yourself needing to write an academic essay overnight. The key to writing a strong essay in a short period of time is to divide into small sections. Here’s how to do just that:
- Pick a topic you can find enough information on. You won’t have time to do any extensive research, so now is not the time to write on an obscure topic.
- Do a quick search, skimming sources. In this situation, the best place to find sources is online. Skim titles and introductory paragraphs to make sure you are only retrieving pieces that are related to your topic and are related in some way to the argument you have in mind. Print out your sources and make sure you write down all of your citation information as you go. This will save you lots of valuable time.
- Make an outline to guide you. You may think that skipping this step is preferable when you only have a few hours to work with. You couldn’t be more wrong. An outline is more important than ever. Providing you with the guidance you need to stick to your argument, use the correct examples and to keep you from spending too much time on one aspect of your paper.
- Start writing! A free-write. A rough draft. A first draft. It doesn’t matter what you call it, the important thing is that you get your ideas and argument written. You won’t have the luxury of writing a number of drafts so pay attention to keeping your paper as clear and logical as possible in this stage. This is why your outline is extremely useful.
- Revise your paper. Add citations. Chances are that this second draft will be close to the final paper you hand in. You want to slow down and make sure your sentences are well-written, your spellings are correct, and that you’re essay is generally free of any grammar mistakes. You should properly cite all of your material at this stage. In worst case scenario, this might be the version you will be handing in. Pay attention to the details.
- Proofread and edit.If you’ve managed to finish your paper with enough time to proofread and edit, be sure that you do! It’s hard to look at an essay for so long. Preferably, you want to proofread and edit with a fresh set of eyes, several hours between this stage and the prior draft. But don’t skip out on this step if you have the time. Pay extra attention to each sentence. An extra period, an extra comma, can make a huge difference towards the grade you receive.
Of course, there’s much more to writing a strong academic essay, but you’re probably not in the position to read about all this other stuff. Now stop procrastinating and get to it!