10 Effective Steps to Write Your Essay Without Wasting Time

Picture of Sergio Guevara

Sergio Guevara

Head of Client Success at Gradehacker

You’ve got a 2,000 word essay due in 48 hours for that BULL$#!+ class and all you’ve got is your name on the first page. You’re freaking out! 

Here at Gradehacker, we assist college students with exams and coursework on the daily. In our years of experience, we have helped many students who have difficulties writing essays. Our clients often voice that they struggle with writing essays on a time crunch. 

Luckily you’ve stumbled upon these 10 kickass steps to get you to the finish line of your paper with enough time to catch a few episodes of your favorite Netflix show BEFORE the deadline. So let’s not waste time and get right to the best tips on how to write your essay.

1) Make Sure You Fully Understand the Requirements

Believe it or not, many times students start writing or freaking out about an assignment without first understanding what it’s about. 

When you are unsure of some aspect of your assignment, it makes the essay seem intimidating. 

Go ahead and reach out to your professor or TA and ask any questions you want to clear up. If anything, this makes you look like you have the initiative to write your essay. 

Don’t waste time researching articles and pages you won’t end up using.

2) Brain Dump

Making an outline is so 1990s. Take that blank page and start writing ANYTHING you know about the topic for the next 10 minutes. 

Think about the lectures, your conversation with classmates on the essay, and anything in between. Write down some main points to cover. Don’t hesitate! Just write what comes to mind in any particular order. 

It can be just a few words or complete sentences, it doesn’t matter! This will get your mind thinking on the right track and ready to make connections.

Quick side note: if you do this asap after being assigned the essay it will help to make the essay less intimidating/off-putting. It will subconsciously reassure that you know a fair bit about the topic.

3) Go to Our Favorite Websites: Wikipedia, Google Scholar, PubMed, Your School Library Database

99% of your teachers and professors will tell you Wikipedia is the worst place to base your essay on. 

BUT! We recommend you take a look at the REFERENCES section of the Wikipedia article that interests you to find high-quality sources from peer-reviewed journals, scientific studies, and much more. 

Also, you can use the “Links to similar articles” at the bottom of the page to find more useful content. 

Check out Google Scholar for Google-type searches of scholarly articles and case studies. Visit PubMed for more life science and medical sources. And lastly visit your school’s online library database to access EBSCO , a database where you can access peer-reviewed journals and sources to write your essay.

Google Scholar

4) Only Read the Abstract or SMMRY of Your Source

Don’t waste time reading pages and pages of sources. Just read the abstract. They are usually one or two paragraphs long. 

If your source does not have an abstract, use the website SMMRY to instantly summarize your source to 10-15 sentences long. 

Determine if the source matches anything in your brain dump from step 2. If it does or at least brings up points you believe will work, keep it. 

Rinse and repeat until you have 4-6 sources per 1,000 words of your essay.

5) Save Your Sources Through Bookmarks or Apps Like Evernote

Bookmark your source pages on your browser or save them to a site like Evernote. The reason for this is now that you’ve invested lots of time in looking for sources it would be terrible to lose them. 

This has happened before and it’s a buzzkill and a half. This step ensures they’re saved.

6) Write your first draft based off your sources

Take your Abstracts/SMMRYs and begin paraphrasing in your own words to avoid any sort of plagiarism. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT IT BEING PERFECT! Future you will be there to fix it later. 

Take your sources and write one to two paragraphs for each source. This step is where your writing juices will really flow and you start to really feel good about your essay.

7) Edit Your Content

Look at your paper as a whole and ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the paper flow well?

If it doesn’t, rearrange some paragraphs through copy and paste to make it smoother.

  • What can be removed or written in a simpler way?

Look for repetition or sentences that don’t add to any ideas.

Just worry about the essay communicating to the reader as effectively as possible.

8) Save the Introduction and Conclusion for Last

If you noticed, we never mentioned writing the introduction and conclusion until now. Think about it, how would you introduce something you haven’t even put together yet. 

Use your paraphrased paragraphs to write a clear intro for what your main body paragraphs state. The same concept applies to the conclusion.  

9) Edit the Spelling and Grammar

Use the Grammarly app to catch any spelling and grammar errors. The app is great because it will also catch any errors in formatting and poorly structured sentences. Best of all it’s free!

10) Use a Citation Generator to Make Your Reference Page

You know how much your professor stresses that reference page and the proper formatting of it? 

Well, don’t let it stress you when you can use sites such as ZBib, EasyBib, Citation Machine, or BibMe to create your citations in MLA, APA, MLM, Chicago Style, and many more formats. 

Just create them and copy and paste them to your paper.


Use These Tips to Finish Your Essay in No Time!

There you have it your paper is done! These 10 kickass steps will have you done with your paper in no time. 

The best thing about it is you can apply this to anyone of your papers no matter how long it is. Just stay calm and positive. You are more than capable of getting it done. 

We understand how stress-provoking writing an essay can be when you’re on a time crunch. We hope that these tips will give you that extra push to finish your essay for the upcoming deadline. In case you need some extra assistance, don’t hesitate in contacting Gradehacker to help you with that essay

Does your professor often return your essay with a heap of corrections? Check out our article on 5 Common Essay Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.

Do you often struggle with writing excellent essay conclusions? Check out our article on how to Improve Your Essay Conclusion with These 5 Secrets


Picture of Sergio Guevara

Sergio Guevara

Sergio Guevara has been an avid essay writer and researcher for Gradehacker since 2018. He has helped countless non-traditional students with a plethora of subjects like literature, nursing, and history. Now as the head of the Client Success Team he’s constantly involved with SEO-driven content that can make the life of both non-traditional and traditional college students much easier. You can find him on LinkedIn