Cathy A.
Cathy A.

Mastering Timed Essays: Simple Tips for Success

5 min read

Published on: May 11, 2023

Last updated on: May 13, 2023

Writing a Timed Essay

Timed essays are a reality for many students, especially during exams. However, writing a timed essay is a lot more challenging, especially if you are not accustomed to writing under strict time-limits.

To succeed in these situations, it's important to have a solid strategy in place. In this blog post, we'll provide you with some helpful tips and tricks for writing a timed essay.

So, let's dive in and learn some essential strategies for writing a timed essay!

Preparing For the Essay Before the Exams

The best way for succeeding in a timed essay is to prepare for it beforehand. This is where your study skills come in handy.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for the exam:

  • Study the Course Content

    To prepare for a timed essay exam, it is important to have a solid understanding of the course content. You should study the materials that you have covered throughout the course, including lectures, readings, and assignments.

  • Take Effective Notes

    Take notes on the key concepts and ideas that you have learned and review them to ensure that you have a strong grasp of the material. This will help you remember the most important points easily.

  • Practice Writing

    Set aside some time to practice essay writing.

    Provide yourself an easy essay topic related to the course and see how much you can write within a limited time. This will help you get a feel for the time constraints and develop strategies for managing your time effectively.

Watch this video to learn some more tips about preparing for your essay exam:

The Prewriting Stage

Now you are sitting in an exam, and a prompt has been handed out to you. Should you immediately start writing? No, that won’t help.

Before you start writing, you should follow the tips below. These will help you complete your timed essay more effectively.

Understand the Prompt

The prompt is the question or topic that you're being asked to write about, and it's essential that you comprehend it fully before you begin writing.

By fully understanding the prompt, you can avoid wasting time on irrelevant information or ideas that don't directly relate to the question. This will help you manage your time more effectively during the exam.

Here are two steps you should take to ensure that you’ve understood it completely and correctly:

  • Read the Prompt Carefully: Take the time to read the prompt several times, making note of any key words or phrases that stand out. Pay attention to the instructions or guidelines provided, as these will be essential in shaping your argument.

  • Break Down the Prompt: Try breaking the prompt down into smaller, more manageable parts. Identify the main topic or question being asked, as well as any subtopics or specific instructions provided.

Stuck On Finding An Essay Topic? Let Our Topic Generator Do The Work For You.

Essay Topic Generator

Plan Out Your Essay

Before you begin writing your timed essay, it's important to take a few minutes to plan out your approach.

Expert Tip

Read this blog on importance of outlining to start writing with confidence!

Planning and outlining can help you organize your thoughts and develop a clear and focused argument. Which ultimately saves you time in the long run.

  • Start with the Main Points: Begin by identifying the main points that you want to address in your essay. These should be the most important arguments or ideas that support your thesis statement.

  • Think About Supporting Details: Once you've identified your main points, add supporting details and evidence to back up your argument. This could include quotes, statistics, or examples from the course materials.

  • Organize your Outline: Organize your outline in a logical and coherent manner to complete the essay structure. That is, you should group similar ideas together or organize your points chronologically or thematically.

Struggling To Start Your Essay? Let Our Outliner Tool Create A Clear Roadmap.

Essay Outliner

Writing Your Essay

Now that you've prepared and planned your essay, it's time to start writing. Here are some tips to help you write a timed essay in a well-structured and cohesive way:

  • Start with a Clear Thesis Statement: Your thesis statement should clearly state the main point or argument of your essay. This will help you stay focused and ensure that all of your supporting points are aligned with your overall argument. Try to review some thesis statement examples before writing your own so that you know how to nail it!

  • Use Topic Sentences: Each body paragraph should begin with a clear topic sentence that relates back to your thesis statement. This will help keep your essay organized and easy to follow.

  • Use Transitions: Transitions are important for connecting ideas between paragraphs and helping your essay flow smoothly. Use transitional phrases or words such as "furthermore," "however," or "in addition" to help your essay read cohesively.

  • Keep paragraphs focused: Each paragraph should focus on a single idea or point. Avoid including too many ideas or examples in one paragraph, as this can make your essay feel unfocused.

  • Don’t Fret Over Time: While writing, don’t worry about your time running out. Stress is the enemy of clear writing. If you are anxious about the time, you won’t be able to think and write clearly.

Edit and Revise the Essay

If you have time left once you have finished writing, go through your essay again to make improvements. Reading your essay and revising it can help you catch errors, clarify your arguments, and ensure that your essay is well-organized and cohesive.

Here are some tips on how to effectively edit and revise your essay within the time constraints:

  • Ensure that your Essay Addresses the Prompt: As you edit and revise your essay, make sure that it effectively addresses the prompt and answers the question that was asked.

  • Check your Organization and Structure: Ensure that your essay is well-organized and structured, with clear topic sentences and transitions between paragraphs.

  • Correct Mistakes As You Read Through: While reading your essay after finishing, you may find grammatical or spelling mistakes. Correct these mistakes as soon as you find them and move on.

Expert Tip

Learn the dos and don'ts of academic writing to make sure your essay is written to perfection!

To Sum Up,

Writing a timed essay is difficult for a reason. It tests your skills by forcing you to think and write under pressure. The best way to face this challenge is to prepare and practice for the essay beforehand.

And when the time comes for writing the essay, you just need to follow the tips provided above to write a good essay. Understand the prompt, outline your essay, and start writing clearly and concisely, moving from intro to body paragraphs and conclusion. Finally, read through your finished essay and improve any words, sentences, and structure that are unclear.

By using these strategies, you can approach timed essays with confidence and produce a high-quality essay that earns you the best possible grade.

Finally, you can practice your writing skills with help from our essay writer. You can use this AI tool to generate sample essays and improve your own writing by comparison and imitation. Try it today.

Cathy A.


Cathy A. (Mass Communication, Education)

Cathy is a highly dedicated author who has been writing for the platform for over five years. With a Master's degree in Mass Communication, she is well-versed in various forms of writing such as articles, press releases, blog posts, and whitepapers. As an essay writing guide author at, she has been helping students and professionals improve their writing skills by offering practical tips on research, citation, sentence structure, and style.

For more than five years now, Cathy has been one of our most hardworking authors on the platform. With a Masters degree in mass communication, she knows the ins and outs of professional writing. Clients often leave her glowing reviews for being an amazing writer who takes her work very seriously.

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