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Writing a Paper Under a Time Crunch

Have a paper to write but only a short amount of time to do it? Learn how to save your paper and write under a time crunch at The Evergreen State College.

Emma Tovar

on 13 January 2014

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Transcript of Writing a Paper Under a Time Crunch

Almost there! Kind of...
Ok, let's begin.
This doesn’t mean grabbing a beer. It means calming yourself down and focusing your mind on the paper topic. You have one night to finish this paper, and you can do it.
You should brainstorm a bunch of reasons why your thesis statement is true.
Brainstorm for 30-minutes and think of every reason why your professor should be convinced of your claim.
Write down the key arguments because those become your supporting paragraphs. Each argument is a mini-thesis that helps you support your paper.
If you have time
, make sure to cite what critics might say about your arguments. By responding to what critics say, you’re strengthening your paper by revealing that you understand other points of view. This shows you’ve spent some time thinking about the topic, and are prepared to answer objections.
When you’ve completed your paper, wrap it up by restating your thesis (with some support). Make sure to leave your professor with something to think about at the end of your paper.
You need an introduction that not only grabs the attention of your professor, but focuses the paper on the topic at hand.

Think of it as an inverted pyramid, where you start with a wide overview but move towards the thesis statement or hypothesis, which should be the final element of the introduction.
Writing a Paper Under a Time Crunch
By Emma Tovar

It's 2pm (or 8pm for some of us) the day before a big paper is due and you realize you haven't even started yet...
Sound familiar?
It happens to all of us, and it's never the best feeling to turn in a paper that was literally written hours ago.
But it happens.
And it happens for different reasons (procrastination, work/school schedule conflict, forgot, etc). However, when it does happen wouldn't it be amazing to know how to effectively write that paper in one night?
Before we start...
Included in this presentation are approximate time lengths for each step. These are just approximations that will obviously fluctuate with your particular assignment. The purpose of setting times for each task is to quickly move your paper along.
Relax Your Mind (15 minutes)
What helps you relax?
You can play some classical music.
Practice breathing exercises.
Study in a quiet space.
Have a small snack with you. (I prefer carrots and hummus)
Develop a Great Thesis Statement (45 minutes)
Your thesis statement is what will keep your research and writing on topic.
This is the most important part of your paper.
Spend some time reading thesis statements in Google Scholar or whatever journal article database you have access to.
Write a Killer Introduction (15 minutes)
Defend Your Thesis in a Brainstorming Session (30 minutes)
Start Your Research to Defend Your Thesis (2 hours)
This is the part that most people waste time
, so give yourself just two hours to copy and paste your citations into your paper. Try to organize the quotations within an appropriate argument (from step 4). More than likely, you’ll find more arguments for your topic when researching.
Time to Write (4 to 5 hours)
Select your best arguments (with supportive references) and use them as the introduction for your supporting paragraphs.

Write as if your professor was right there, and make sure to think of possible weak spots in your argument.
You want to write a flawless paper, so keep your argument tight.
It’s easy to get stuck when you first begin to write, so don’t worry much about your sentence structure and argument process. Focus more on getting all your ideas down on the page. Just start writing, and use your main arguments as writing prompts.
Think of What Critics Would Say About Your Thesis (1 hour)
Summarize Your Thesis At the End (30 minutes)
Cut the Fat (1 hour)
When you’re ready to edit, it’s time to eliminate everything that does not support your thesis.

Cut out:

Leave in:
passive verbs (to-be) action-oriented words
That wasn't so hard was it?
Let's review:
Relax Your Mind (15 Minutes)
Develop a Great Thesis Statement (45 minutes)
Write a Killer Introduction (15 minutes)
Defend Your Thesis in a Brainstorming Session (30 minutes)
Start Your Research to Defend Your Thesis (2 hours)
Time to Write (4 to 5 hours)
Think of Critics Would Say About Your Thesis (1 hour)
Summarize Your Thesis At the End (30 minutes)
Cut the Fat (1 hour)
Grand total:
~11-12 hours

Take a 10 min break at this point.
Time for another break:
Take 15 min.
Throughout this phase don't forget to take short breaks! (about 10-15 mins)
For more helpful tips, visit:
Eliminate any sentences or paragraphs that slow down your paper or weaken your main argument. Make sure your arguments are clear and easily understood.
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