A good breakfast and keeping yourself fuelled on some brain food whilst you work is key. Things like bananas, eggs and healthy snacks will help to maintain your concentration. And make sure you’re well-watered, too – studies have shown that even mild dehydration can impair brain function.
Just pick your workspace, shut out the World and get in the zone! Make sure it’s quiet, switch off from your social media and focus on the task in-hand! And remember, the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll finish.
Even if you have left your essay until the last minute, make time to do some reading and research before putting pen to paper. Don’t know where to start? Well, your Campus Library is a very good place! There are lots of helpful tips and resources on our Study Skills webpages, too.
Well, it’s nearly Bonfire Night after all! Fail to plan and you plan to fail….spider diagrams, bullet points - whatever your poison, you need to be armed with your ideas and a structure. And make sure you are answering the question! If you’re running short of time, allocate a timeframe for each section and stick to it as far as possible.
The last thing you need is an IT issue at a time like this. External drives, hard drives, cloud drives – embrace all the things that technology now has to offer you! And don’t forget, IT issues ARE NOT considered a valid reason for applying for Extenuating Circumstances.
Stay focussed….not only on the topic, but getting your essay complete! Keep referring back to the question or title. Are you still answering it? Think about the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of your subject. Feeling overwhelmed and unproductive? Then perhaps it’s time for a quick break to sharpen that mind of yours….
Every 50 – 90 minutes, rest your eyes and brain and get outside for a walk. Taking a break can help to inspire you, increase your focus and even reduce your stress. You may need to switch off from your work, but we would recommend staying away from social media and excessive caffeine!
In an ideal world, reference as you go…..but yep, we know - you’ve left this to the last, possible minute! Just make sure you leave enough time (we recommend around 90 minutes) to get this done properly. And nailing this skill early on will only benefit you on future essays. Remember, good referencing can be worth a fair proportion of your marks!
Spelling, grammar, punctuation. Again, make sure you allocate enough time to do this properly. Watch out for accidentally including those ‘txt wordz’ in your essay – you won’t get marks for those! Make use of your online spell checker and read through your work. And definitely don’t leave your proofreading until after you’ve submitted it!
So, now you’re armed and equipped with the best tips we have to offer, in the words of Dean Karnazes (Ultramarathon runner), “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up”. And for some further motivation, set yourself a reward for after you have completed your essay. Anything that will incentivise you to get it done – after all, you’ll deserve it!
So…..what are you doing still reading this? Go get working!