How to Write an Essay Fast in an Exam

How to Write an Essay Fast in an Exam

To use the limited essay exam time effectively, you should know how to write an essay fast in an exam. An essay is a writing piece that methodically evaluates and analyzes an issue or a topic. Essay writing exams are aimed at testing the ability of the students to synthesize information as well as to organize their thoughts in writing. Usually, an essay exam has a limited time within which you should write a concise and clear essay. The time constraint of these essays usually instills fear in most students. However, there are approaches that you can take to write an effective essay quickly during an essay exam.

What you need to know even before you know how to write an essay fast in an exam

Exam essays are as important as research papers because they will influence your final grades. They can also make a difference when it comes to getting your desired academic program. As such, you need to know how to write an effective essay in an exam situation.

Usually, a well written exam essay has the following attributes:

  • It answers the exam question

Even if you will write your essay fast, make sure that it answers the asked question properly and in a focused manner. This implies that your essay should answer all aspects of the asked question without ranting and rambling because this would show that you do not know what you are required to write about. Therefore, read and understand the essay question before you start writing your essay during an exam.

  • It is well organized

Just because you have limited time within which to write your essay does not mean that you have to write it in a haphazard manner. Take your time to plan so that you can determine what you will write and how to write it. Decide the points to make through the essay and how to proceed as well as how you will conclude your essay by summarizing the materials that you will cover while emphasizing on your main point or thesis.

  • It is well supported

Rather than simply asserting the truth of something, provide prove for it. Use figures, examples, facts and tests as your prove. In most cases, an A-grade essay is differentiated from a B-grade essay by how effectively the supporting evidence is used or presented.

  • It is properly packaged

If your essay fails to use the accepted language conventions, the examiner will consider you as less educated and less competent. Therefore, adhere to all language conventions while writing your essay to package it properly and to meet the expectations of the examiner.

How to write an essay fast in an exam step by step

Step 1: Plan how you will spend the given time writing your essay

The first thing you should do once you get the essay exam is to consider the time given for writing the essay and the length of the essay that you are required to write. If you waste time or procrastinate while writing the essay, you will score a poor grade in the essay because you will write it hurriedly in the last minutes. For instance, when writing a SAT essay in an exam which usually allows for 30 minutes, spend at least 3 minutes of that time planning and the rest writing and editing the essay. When you take time to plan your essay, you will save the time that you would spend rewriting and restructuring the essay after you start the writing process.

Step 2: Read and analyze the essay question

Take a few minutes to read and analyze the question so that you can understand what the examiner wants you to write about. Avoid rushing to grasp ideas that relate to the main subject or topic of the essay that you are required to write on because this might make you flustered, lose concentration or even become blank. Therefore, read the question carefully and analyze it so that you can understand what you are being directed to do. Think about what you already know about the topic or subject and what you do not know. Look out for active verbs that state what you should do. Such verbs include, “define,” “explain,” “illustrate,” and “summarize” among others.

Step 3: Outline your essay

Usually, some students ignore outlining but it is an important step of a guide on how to write an essay fast in an exam. Typically, your essay should have an introduction, the body and the conclusion. The introduction should introduce the topic of your essay and the thesis statement. The body should present your arguments and supporting evidence while the conclusion should wrap up the entire essay. While outlining, indicate the information that you will include in each section. Divide the body of your essay into paragraphs with each presenting an idea and supporting evidence. Think about the supporting examples to include in your essay for each point.

Step 4: Write the introduction

Write a strong introduction with a hook that draws the attention of the reader. For instance, you can use surprising or interesting facts about a historical figure, personal experience or a moment that you consider important in life. You can also use a provocative quotation, a vivid anecdote or a provoking question. Make sure that the hook that you use in your introduction keeps the readers interested in reading on.

Step 5: Write the body

In the body, present your main ideas and support them with at least a single example. Use a strong topic sentence or argumentative point for each paragraph. The body of your essay should have at least three paragraphs.

Step 6: End your essay with a strong conclusion

The conclusion should give a summary of your thoughts while wrapping up your essay. Do not introduce new arguments or ideas in the conclusion. Instead, restate the main points and thesis statement of your essay. Make the conclusion clear and straightforward.

Step 7: Revise your essay

Spare time to read your essay to ensure that it has a clear thesis statement and that the body and the conclusion are coherent. Correct all mistakes including spelling and sentence structure issues.

Bonus hints and reminders on how to write an essay fast in an exam

  • Familiarize yourself with and use the terminologies of the essay question

It is important that you familiarize yourself with the terminologies that are used in essay questions. Know what different terms mean and what they require you to do. Such words include trace, illustrate, compare and evaluate. These words convey different meanings. They also require you to answer the essay question with different types of essays. Therefore, look out for such words, understand their meanings and do what they require you to do.

  • Provide your answer in the first sentence of your essay

The introduction should provide your answer to the essay question. Use the words or language that the essay question uses to answer the question.


If the essay question reads, “What is the difference between the goals of socialist feminism and liberal feminism” you can start your essay with a sentence like, “There are three major differences in the goals of socialist feminism and liberal feminism…”

Such an approach indicates that you are going to answer the essay question directly. It also makes marking the essay easier for the examiner.

  • Structure your essay properly

A good exam essay should have the structure of a basic essay. Therefore, make sure that your essay has an introduction that states your thesis statement or answer explicitly and if possible, states the organization of your essay. It should also have a body in which you present your main arguments and supporting material. The final section of your essay should be a conclusion which re-answers the essay question while referring to the points discussed in the body in a brief manner.

  • Always have time to plan and check your essay

Depending on the time given for the essay and the length of the essay that you are required to write, give yourself time to plan your essay and time to check the essay. Although the limited time requires you to write your essay quickly, divide the duration into time for planning the essay, writing the essay and checking the essay. Give writing the essay more time. For instance, when writing an essay within 45 minutes, take 10 minutes planning the essay, 30 minutes writing and 5 minutes checking your essay for errors.

  • Use sample essays to practice writing essays in an exam

You will know how to write an essay fast in an exam if you practice using good sample essays as part of your writing guide. Click here for a sample essay that was written during an exam that you can use as your guide during your essay writing practice.

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