For most undergraduate programs in colleges in the US, high school students will need to take a standard exam like the SAT or the ACT. This exam is bound to include a timed essay - it rarely takes more than thirty minutes. Consider these tips on writing a passing essay for your next standardized entrance exam.
Do some practice essays. All essays have pretty much the same format, even standardized ones. They are normally about five paragraphs long. Your thesis should be preceded by a couple of introductory sentences. Then there are a couple of paragraphs that support your thesis and give examples from your readings. Finally, the last paragraph brings it all together and should complete your essay on a strong final point. By the time you have been through high school, you should have written many essays that follow this format. To be extra prepared though you should try to write a few practice essays and have a teacher or tutor go over it with you. Pay attention to the time limit for authoring the piece so it's more realistic.
Go over the instructions carefully. Your nerves might be bothering you during the exam, but you have to try and relax. Go over the instructions for the essay carefully. Be aware that there is a difference between the words 'discuss' ,'state', 'review', 'list', 'compare' and 'explain'. All of these words instruct you to take a slightly different approach to writing the essay. Note down some pointers first of all. That way you will not forget to include the important points in your essay for sure.
Remember your basics. Whatever you do - don't panic. You know the basic outline for a passing essay, now all you need to do is follow it. As you have probably been told many times in your high school English class, a good, passing essay is made up of three main factors: a definitive point of view, which is supported by examples, and is written in proper English. That is all. Knowing these facts, you'll probably write a great essay on your next standardized test. If you really want to do well, follow these tips also.
Do a quick essay outline. Every minute counts when you only have 30 minutes to write your essay. Organize your time wisely and take a minute or so to write a brief essay plan. Give the main idea of each paragraph by using 5 jot notes. Then you will have an overview of your essay, which will let you write without stopping to ponder the next point. Ensure that your essay adheres to the instructions exactly so that you'll get a passing grade.
Don't write in the first person tense. A formal essay must not be written using the "I". Unless your topic is about something in your life or about yourself, avoid using the word 'I' at all costs. This will make the tone of your essay much more professional.
No need to impress. Passing this essay is not really about impressing your professor with your big, fancy words but it is about putting as much information as you can into each paragraph. Keep in mind that you are writing to inform people not impress them.
Proofread your work. It is still necessary to proofread your work for common errors before you submit it, even though you will be pressed for time. Sure, it won't be your best essay ever because you only had a half hour to write it. Therefore rewording the work is not important. Correct all spelling and grammar, follow instructions carefully, then submit your essay for the next standardized test.