Four weeks ago roughly, lecturers begun to talk about the scary and hard-hitting reality that essay writing time was fast approaching, as they begun to give us essay titles. No need to rush into them, I thought to myself – diving into assignments at that stage of the year would be unnecessary, as a month still felt like a very long time away. How wrong was I; the days crept up on me and just less than a week later I started to embark on my first essay writing journey of second year. Almost a full seven days before the initial deadline and a week and a half preceding the second, my essays have been handed in and the hard work is done and dusted! It hasn’t been an easy ride – I’ve certainly felt stressed at points – but I did a number of things which not only enabled me to hand in my work early with plenty of time spare to check through it, but which also lowered the amount of stress I felt!
The first stage of an essay writing plan is to plan…
Pre-university, I would never create in-depth plans for essays and coursework; I’d start writing my work up immediately, forming explanations and finding evidence to back up my points as I went along! This worked well when I just had one essay to finish; it can be confusing to write up two or more essays without a clear plan in front of you, as I know I would certainly forget arguments and facts to include in the others!
This time round, I was tasked with writing up three essays for three contrasting areas in psychology, so before I wrote up each I spent a few days planning the foundations of my arguments and devised a clear sequence for each essay. I produced my plans in different documents as well; this may sound like the obvious thing to do, but I thought this was especially important so no ideas from plans ended up in the other essays! Planning also enabled me to take out points initially suggested which I no longer needed or could write up before it was too late, due to a lack of current or strong cited psychological research backing up my point.
Research before and during the write up:
With three essays, I naturally had many ideas flowing through my head, but before I actually contributed any of them to my essays I researched each point extensively! I would recommend spending a good day or two researching for an essay, which is another factor that pushed me to start my three essays off early! The research never stops once you’ve begun your write up either; I discovered that a good point does not always have enough evidence once you put pen to paper, so to ensure enough evidence was there I researched in fragments during write up as well.
Another tip I’d advice, and not just for multiple essay writing, is using Google Scholar as your go to source for references! I used it to find all my research, due to its simplicity to use. In psychology essays a requirement is to cite all references accurately according to APA guidelines. Losing marks is a very real possibility caused by even the smallest errors on citation, but Google Scholar provided almost full APA references for each piece of research I used!
Sacrifice your social life (just for a few days)!
I usually spend a couple of hours a day over the course of a week or two if I have one essay to hand in – I think it’s important to carry on with normal activities and hobbies so I would still meet up with friends and blog whilst writing the one essay. Three assignments at once demanded a substantial lot more of concentration and attention than just once, so for a couple of weeks I dedicated every spare second of time to my essays! I turned down seeing friends, watching TV as much as even blogging which is my passion, and although this was extremely hard the motivation of finishing my essays to an extremely high standard I was truly satisfied with pushed me on!
Checking my essays once the main write up had reached a conclusion almost took half as long as writing them! When juggling assignments ideas can get mixed up and end up in the wrong place, so I doubled, then triple checked each one individually, knit picking any mistakes I had made, right up to the final moment of submission! Grammar and spelling mistakes can also slip into an essay very easily, so I also checked for this just before the terrifying process of handing my work in for good arrived.
To sum it up, if you start assignments with a good two to three week window between hand in date, plan and research them in depth prior to writing up, set yourself a time goal to get certain parts completed by, and thoroughly check each assignment afterwards, then you will get through dreaded multiple essays deadlines, feeling as less stress as possible, like I have just done!👍