Blog Post,  University tips

How to plan and write an essay when you are a lazy student!

Here is some advice on writing and planning an essay when you don’t have time, or would rather be doing anything else! Here are some quick fire tips to help you organise your essay, before you go back to procrastinating!

Tip Number One – Planning

When planning your essay, start off with a word-map to get all of your ideas down. Write down everything you know and have learned about the topic, even if it may not make the final cut.

Word map with points from the post on it in mindmap formation.

Once you have completed this, write a list of what you would like to put in the essay and what information you still need to find out.

Then comes the next step. Writing out a basic plan. Start with the introduction, move on to the paragraphs and then the conclusion.

*Top Tip* Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so give yourself plenty of time to plan the essay as well as write it!

Step Two – Planning, but more in depth

So, by this point, you should have something that looks a little like this. A very basic plan.

What you want to do from here is start adding key concepts. If you struggle with structure, write each idea with PEA. (You may have learned this in school, it’s a great structuring tool where you write your points as: Point, Evidence, Analysis. (Click here if you would like a more in depth explanation.)

Point Evidence Analysis written in green, red then pink.

Usually, for a typical essay you are looking at anything from 1500 words to 2500 depending on the subject. So, keep this in mind while choosing points to bring up! Start with 4-6 workable points that you can expand upon.

Step Three – Writing the essay

This is the part that, unless you are academic or love writing, sucks. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to write your essay, and have at least one re-draft before the deadline. Don’t leave it to the last minute and stress yourself out!

*Top Tip* Make sure you feed your brain so that it is at it’s optimum working capacity by choosing some great snacks!

Picture of a packed of fruit winders.

So, because you have just done a concise plan, you will already see the essay unfold. Use this as as structure to write your essay.

It may be slightly unorthadox, but I suggest starting with the first paragraph, writing the essay and then writing the introduction and the conclusion. If you prefer to write the conclusion first, do this by all means, but I find that essays tend to take a different shape while writing.

*Top Tip* Always make sure that you don’t have any points in the introduction or the conclusion that you don’t mention and expand upon in your essay!

Make sure your essay stays concise, don’t start discussing points that are left hanging or points that are not integral to your argument! This will lower your marks. Sticking to the plan you made should ensure that you do not deviate!

Another tip is to use quotations sparingly. In my first year, one of my biggest essay mistakes, aside from referencing badly, was that I used up my word count on large quotations. After four years of university, and asking my lecturers and tutors, many times it is better to use quotations sparingly. This ensures that your argument is strong because you are using the references to strengthen your point, not just putting a quotation there and thinking it is going to do the work for you!

Remember to take regular breaks. I recommend writing your essay for 45 minutes and taking a 15 minute break. Do this for an hour or two a day up to the deadline, providing that you give yourself enough time!

Tip Number Four – By now you should have your essay…

So. If you have made it to here, you should have written at least the first draft of your essay. Make sure you give yourself at least a whole day without thinking about it before you go back to it.

Get someone else to check it for you, such as a friend, relative or someone on your course.

Quick Reminders!

Make sure you check which referencing the department wants you to use, and the rules they require you to follow when submitting your essay!

Put your student number and word count in the heading! (If this is your University’s policy!)

Double space your essay! Put in page numbers! And add your bibliography.

Give your essay a final check, and you are good to go!

Hopefully this has set you on the right track to finish your essay that is due! If it has, please give this article a like, comment and share to help others!


Lead writer for The Lazzzy Student x