Staring at a blank page, knowing you need to write 4,000 words on it, can be horrifying. Especially if you’ve only got a few days to do it.
Why do we always leave it to the last minute, even though we know the suffering it causes?
With these five tips you can hand in assignments you’re proud of, with a few days spare to treat yourself before the deadline.
As easy and tempting as it is to start the assignment the day it’s due, you are only increasing the risk of stress and low-quality work. Start a few weeks (or at the very least, days) before it’s due. You don’t have to finish it all in one but, even if you just make a really rough plan, you’ve still started! The more detailed ideas will grow from there.
One of the easiest and clearest ways of planning is mind-mapping. Create a mind-map for each point you’re going to make in your essay. Then, as you’re writing it out, you can tick off each idea you’ve used. This helps keep the essay structured and makes the writing process less intimidating.
Rather than doing the whole essay in one day, work on a little section every so often. This way, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and, when you return to your work, you’ll spot mistakes and improve it along the way. Doing it all in one go can leave you feeling overworked and less sharp, so you’re more likely to miss silly mistakes and hand in a poor essay.
Staying up all night working, unless you’re a night owl, will only cause your brain to perform at its worst. Go to bed at a decent time and come back to the essay in the morning. Your refreshed brain will be far more alert and you can continue where you left off. Have some of your favourite snacks on your desk, and some water. As tempting as it is to survive off coffee, it isn’t great for concentration, hydration or energy levels - so try to stick to water!
When you finish your essay, don’t try to proofread and perfect it there and then. Go away and take some rest. See some friends, relax for a while. Come back to the essay with a refreshed mind and body - you’ll proofread so much better after a break.
Overall, the main priority is to keep your stress levels low. Start your assignments well in advance to avoid stressful late nights and poor grades. Give these tips a go and you’ll thank yourself when you’ve handed yours in with time to spare.
And if you really don’t know where to start, speak to your tutor. It’s what they’re there for and they will be more than happy to help.