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8 Simple Essay Hacks Every Student Needs To Know
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=42346"><span class="small">Janet91</span></a>   
Tuesday, 07 February 2017 03:28

Writing is a huge part of school life. The person who can write a good essay will find it a lot easier to get good grades, while those that struggle at the former will struggle at the latter. For that reason, you should do whatever is in your power to get the knack of essay writing down (and even make it exciting).

Fortunately, it’s not actually as hard as you may think it is. There are plenty of hacks that will significantly simplify the whole process. Here are some of the best ones I’ve found.

Cut out distractions

They did this study where they found people that said they were really good at resisting temptation and those who said they were really bad at it. Then they got both groups to randomly report during the day how much temptation they were being exposed to and how well they were doing at resisting it.

The result? The first group wasn’t better at resisting temptation at all! They just took far more actions to limit the chance that they could be tempted.

You should do the same. Cut out distractions. It’s easier than you may think. For example, on your laptop create a second profile and don’t give it access to Netflix, don’t log into your social media accounts and in other ways make it harder for you to give in to temptation.

In this way, you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand.

The Pomodoro Technique

Procrastination is probably the biggest reason some people manage to finish on time and others don’t. The thing is, procrastination isn’t always because you’re lazy. Sometimes it’s because a task seems like a mountain and you don’t know if you can climb it all.

So stop focusing on the whole thing! Instead, focus on taking small steps. A great way to do that is the Pomodoro Technique. Here the goal is to work for in a highly focused manner 25 minutes. Then there’s a big buzzer and you can take a break.

If you start off your day with a Pomodoro 25 minutes, you’ll feel good, motivated and you’ll have done more by 10 o’clock than you’ll have done most days by 1. So go on, give it a try!

Use a notetaking app

Personally, I prefer Evernote. It’s a great way to take pages from the internet and store them for later. There are plenty of other tools out there, however. So find your favorite one. Then, as you scour the internet for some bit of information, you can store things that might be useful as well.

In this way, you’ll seriously cut down on your research time and can actually get on with the writing part of it.

Plan something for the evening

You know what’s the biggest problem with having a whole day to study? It gives you plenty of time to push things back. Instead of getting on with what you’re supposed to be doing, you’ll think ‘oh, I can do it later. I’ve got all day!’

So don’t give yourself that option. Instead, agree to meet with somebody in the evening. Make a gym date. Have dinner with somebody. In that way, you’ll have that looming on the horizon and you’ll feel far more pushed to actually get on with the essay writing.

Get help

Sometimes you’re so close to the text you’re writing, you really can’t figure out what’s working and what isn’t at all. In that case, get help. You can agree to exchange your draft with another person in the class, where they critique yours and you theirs.

Just remember to give each other honest feedback. It’s not a feel-good session. It’s a get a better grade session.

Alternatively, get some help. A site like Paperwriting.reviews can give you invaluable feedback. You can be sure they won’t pull their punches.

Separate your writing and your editing

If you’re writing, it can be immensely appealing to do your editing as well. The thing is, these two activities don’t actually go that well together. Writing is a creative exercise and works at its best when you give yourself the freedom to experiment and try things.

Editing, in the meantime, is a destructive process. It’s about saying ‘no, this doesn’t work, that has to change, and let’s cut this’.

In other words, they’re largely opposite mindsets. So, let yourself do one at a time. Write a piece of text and only edit it once you’ve finished at least the section you’re working on. Don’t be afraid to write stuff in note form. You can always fill those bits in later.

Skip stuff

Sometimes the first time you try to write a paragraph or a thought, you just can’t get it onto paper. In that case, don’t be afraid to skip it! There’s always the next draft to come back to it.

I’ve saved myself hundreds of hours with this strategy. I’ll skip a piece, write a bunch more and come back to it a few hours later. Then, because I’ve been productive and I’m in a positive mindset, I often find that something that I was struggling with the first time around is hugely easy to write the second time.

Learn the shortcuts

I write in word and I can’t really write in any other program because I’ve got all the shortcuts internalized. For example, I don’t use the backspace key on its own. I use CTR + Backspace to delete a word at a time.

Similarly, I’ll use CTR and the arrow keys to jump around as well as the navigation panel, so that I can jump from heading to heading (yes, you do have to use headings if you want that to be useful).

The more shortcuts you can internalize, the less time you’ll be spending trying to do basic things and interrupting your thought process while you’re waiting for them to happen.

Last words

Yes, essay writing is something that you have to learn. It isn’t easy, to begin with. It’s a matter of frequent repetition. Only then will you get better and will it get easier. Only then will you move from needing a night for an essay to only needing an hour.

At the same time, you can make things easier for yourself. Adopt those hacks that make you faster and better and viciously drop those that do not. If you can be honest with yourself, then you’ll find yourself improving. And that will be a reward in and of itself.

Yes, of course, that good grade from the teacher also helps.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 February 2017 09:28