How to Write an English Essay on Time (Grades 7 12)

For some middle and high school students, writing an English essay can be a daunting task. The fact that many people (students and adults alike) are problem procrastinators doesn't make matters any easier. Most people know that staying up until 12:30 the night before your paper is due is not a pleasant experience, and therefore would like to avoid that at all costs. Believe it or not, you are capable of completing your essay in a timely manner.


  1. Image titled Write an English Essay on Time (Grades 7 12) Step 1
    When you are first told about the project, make sure you know when the due date is. Have the teacher clarify this if you need to.
    • Write this down in at least 2 prominent places.
    • Calculate how many days there are between now and the due date.
  2. Image titled Write an English Essay on Time (Grades 7 12) Step 2
    If your teacher will be using a rubric, obtain a copy as soon as you can.
    • In case you were not aware, a rubric is a chart that states how you will be graded. It may include information as to what the content of your essay should generally be like, how long the essay should be, what format it should be in, etc. For these reasons, it helps to have one to look at as you write.
  3. Image titled Write an English Essay on Time (Grades 7 12) Step 3
    If your essay is to be on a piece of literature (this especially applies to independent reading assignment for each semester) and you know it will require quotes to demonstrate literary elements/figurative language, use sticky notes or write down page numbers to document them as you read. This is much easier than going back through the book at the end and picking out random examples.
    • Even if quotes aren't required, it can be helpful to document figurative language, literary elements, elements of suspense, and/or adherences or deviations to/from Freytag's pyramid.
    • Also, make use of your reading strategies. These include visualizing, connecting, predicting, inferring, questioning and evaluating. These will help make sure that you understood what you read. These skills grouped together are called active reading
  4. Image titled Write an English Essay on Time (Grades 7 12) Step 4
    Brainstorm and organize. First, figure out a general outline of the content of your essay. Then, organize your main ideas into paragraphs.
  5. Image titled Write an English Essay on Time (Grades 7 12) Step 5
    Come up with a timetable of getting everything done.
    • Aim to spend a maximum 2 nights on brainstorming and organizing (these processes take about the same amount of time regardless of the content of the essay or grade level you're in).
    • Once that stage is over, figure out what needs to be done and when.
    • Aim to have the introductory paragraph finished in a two-day period.
    • When it comes time to construct the body paragraphs, about three days is normal for a five-paragraph essay (in which there are usually three body paragraphs). If you have more than, say, four, body paragraphs, you can tack on an extra night.
    • When it comes time to write your conclusion, aim to spend up to 2 nights on it. The conclusion should leave a lasting impression on the reader (who will likely be your teacher!) so a little bit of extra thought never hurts.
  6. Image titled Write an English Essay on Time (Grades 7 12) Step 6
    Print your essay. Set your timetable up in such a way that you will not have to print your essay the night your paper is due. Some teachers are understanding of printer/computer difficulties, however, most are not.


  • If something comes up between the day the essay is assigned and the day it is due, see your teacher ASAP. If possible, finish your essay early. Many teachers will take projects early and grade them as they receive other people's, and any complications that will arise can be avoided altogether.
  • If you become unable to attend class due to unforeseen circumstances, have your parents contact your teacher with an explanation. It will provide backup should you end up having to face the teacher yourself upon your return to school.
    • If you think your parents will be able to, ask if they can drop your essay off in the main office and see that it gets to your teacher.
  • From the get-go, if you're aware of anything that might interfere with turning your essay in on time (a vacation, a scheduled medical appointment, etc,) it is imperative that you see your teacher privately about this and find out what their expectations are and whether points will be deducted. Have a parent contact them if necessary.
  • Never Give Up!
  • Store your documents on a computer at home, on a flash drive, floppy disk or other portable media storage device, and, if applicable, on your account in a school domain.
  • Make sure you have access to a working computer and printer.
    • If for some reason, you know you don't have any other options, always get your teacher's permission to hand-write your essay.


  • Don't stress too much
  • Laying out a timetable only works if you stick to it.

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Categories: English | Managing Time During School Years