• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

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Timed Writings

Page history last edited by gretchen 11 years, 5 months ago

Tips for completing a Timed Writing successfully:

  • Bring a watch or note (jot down) the time when the session begins.  This strategy will remove the concern about “how much time is left” in the event that the proctor does not post times.
  • Spend about 3 or 4 minutes reading the prompt and planning your points.  Save about 2 or 3 minutes at the end for a final scrutiny.
  • Use an attention-getter in the introduction, but be sure to link it with a sentence or two to the idea of the thesis.   You want to impress the reader with your ability to be organized and coherent.
  • Your thesis will be stronger if you adopt the Although/Despite/In spite of /// actually/in fact — structure.  In addition, be certain your thesis addresses the prompt and expresses a clear point of view.  Answer the question of the prompt.
  • Plan to provide at least two pieces of support for your assertion.  Using figures from history or literature, especially strong examples from credible sources, will strengthen your essay.  Writing several paragraphs about a single example is a weak approach and allows your reader to assume that you have limited critical thinking ability.
  • Until you feel proficient enough to stretch for five, opt for four paragraphs with two different examples for support.  This decision will leave you with time to conclude appropriately and proofread your essay.
  • After planning your approach, get right to the point.  Avoid fluff and wordiness.
  • Avoid generalizing or pontificating about the state of man, life, the universe, and so on.  You may be wicked intelligent, but support and evidence from history and literature will trump your “off the cuff” insights every time.  Your word does not necessarily constitute credible evidence.  Remember, the goal is to earn a “6″ if possible, so use established evidence to prove your thesis assertion.
  • Transition from paragraph to paragraph.  Transition words and phrases are the “connective tissue” of your essay and are critical to a well-organized, coherent piece of writing.
  • Remember that each paragraph must have a topic sentence about a single idea that relates to your thesis.  Each topic must be supported with evidence, and that evidence must be analyzed for how it proves your assertion.


Now that you have considered the really BIG stuff, pay some attention to the following:

  • Attend to pronoun agreement
  • Do not make up words — “misfortunate” (unfortunately) makes you sound like a recent resident of the Oval Office.
  • Avoid cliches like the plague.  Those cute sayings that everyone knows have no place in your essay.  Don’t let silly verbiage substitute for thinking.  It will cost you points.
  • For goodness sake, PUNCTUATE TITLES PROPERLY.  By now, you have absolutely no excuses, folks.
  • Pay attention to word choice.  If you are not sure of meaning, choose another way to express your idea.
  • Vary your sentence structure.  Take control of how you express your ideas.
  • If you use 2nd person, you might singlehandedly prolong the current global recession. One does not use 2nd person pronouns in a well-written essay, timed or otherwise.
  • Legibility matters!!!

More to come......


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