How to Budget Your Time in a 30-Minute Essay

How to Budget Your Time in a 30-Minute Essay

Thirty minutes goes by very, very quickly when you’re trying to pound out an essay.  (Why can’t the last thirty minutes of English class go by just as quickly each day?)  So often teachers tell us to take our time with our essays, and they give us several weeks to write one.  So how are we supposed to write a good essay in less 30 minutes?  Usually I spend at least 30 minutes staring at a blank screen!

There are lots of tips and ideas for improving your essay writing skills.  One of the first things you want to consider is how to budget your time.  It helps having a schedule in mind before you begin working so that you can keep track of what you’re doing and make sure you’re completing everything a great essay needs.

Here are two different recommended schedules for budgeting your time.  They are mostly the same, except that one has two body paragraphs and the other has three.  Before you take your writing test, make sure you decide how many body paragraphs you want to include!

Your time is precious – you must plan on working for ALL 30 minutes.  Don’t finish early!  Don’t fall behind!  Remember that you MUST include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.  You cannot leave any of these parts out.

 30 minutes broken down – (for writing 2 Body Paragraphs)

(5 minutes) = Read the prompt and prepare an outline

(5 minutes) = Write your Introduction and Thesis Statement

(7 minutes) = Write your first body paragraph

(7 minutes) = Write your second body paragraph

(5 minutes) = Write your Conclusion

(1 Minute) = Review / Make small edits

30 minutes broken down – (for writing 3 Body Paragraphs)

(5 minutes) = Read the prompt and prepare an outline*

(5 minutes) = Write your Introduction and Thesis Statement

(5 minutes) = Write your first body paragraph

(5 minutes) = Write your second body paragraph

(5 minutes) = Write your third body paragraph

(4 minutes) = Write your Conclusion

(1 Minute) = Review / Make small edits

Notice that it is highly recommended that you take time to outline and brainstorm before you begin writing – don’t leave this out!  It is very important to take time to think and plan prior to jumping into the actual essay writing.  If you do your thinking up front, then the essay itself will be pretty easy to write!

Also, notice that the bulk of your time should be dedicated to composing body paragraphs.  You can probably write your Introduction and Conclusion in less than 5 minutes; if you can, add that time into your body paragraphs.  The body paragraphs are the real “meat of the sandwich,” the more time you devote to making these stand out, the more delicious your argument will be!

When deciding on if you should write 2 or 3 body paragraphs, take into consideration how fast of a writer you are.  If you can easily write down ideas and explain them rapidly, then write 3 paragraphs!  If you’re a little slower and need more time with your paragraphs, write just 2.  Quality is more important than Quantity!