Although the subjects and the occasions may vary, the basic steps involved in composing an effective essay under strict time limit are essentially the same.

Know the material or topic: the most important step in preparing to take an essay exam begins weeks before the actual exam date: Keep up with all assigned readings, participate in class, take notes, and look over those notes regularly. Spend the night before an exam reviewing your notes, handouts and not reading them for the first time.

Relax: When faced with a time limit, we may be tempted to try composing an essay before we have composed ourselves. Resist the temptation. Breathe in, breathe out. Take a few minutes at the start of the exam period to read and think about each question.

Read the instructions: Make sure that you read the instructions carefully: Know from the start how many parts in the questions you’re supposed to answer and how long your answers are expected to be.

Study the topic: Read the topic several times, looking for key words that indicate how you should develop and organise your essay. Don’t forget the essence of the following:

State: Present the main points in a logical order

List, enumerate: Be brief and to the point, as if you are making an outline

Summarise, review: give a short version of the main points

Discuss, criticise, evaluate, and justify: Use specific facts and examples to back up your judgements

Show, explain: Present specific points clearly and logically in step-by-step order

Set up a time schedule: Calculate the time you have to write an essay, and a set up schedule. While working under a one-hour time limit, for instance, you designate the first five or ten minutes for discovering ideas and planning you reproach, the next forty minutes or so for writing, and the last ten or fifteen minutes for revising and editing. Or you might spend a shorter period to the initial drafting and devote more time to revising the essay. In any case, plan a realistic schedule-one based on your writing habits and then stick to it.