Essay tip: What to do if you run out of time

1 11 2011

I just came across an incomplete script that included some bullet points scribbled in pencil at the end of the essay. Clearly, this student ran out of time, and clearly, they had more to say.

If you’re stuck in this situation, what should you do?

1) Attach your essay plan to your essay. Do not plan on the question paper – you might not be allowed to submit it. Always plan on a fresh sheet of paper, and write your plan in pen. And this applies regardless of whether your essay is complete or not – you should always attach your plan.

2) What if you think of additional points that aren’t on your plan? Should you scribble them in at the end of your essay in pencil, as in the abovementioned script?

The answer is no. Do NOT write in pencil. Anything in pencil counts as rough work, and won’t be read. Instead, add your new points to your plan and attach your plan. You might want to draw a box around those points in your plan, just to draw attention to them.

3) But what if you have no plan? Firstly, this should not happen. Secondly, IF you are in that situation, scribble your points in pen on a new piece of paper and attach it to your essay.


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