WRAC Tips for handling in-class essays
  1. Before the exam, ask your instructor about his or her expectations. You have the right to ask! Some instructors permit dictionaries, prefer pen to pencil, require “blue books,” etc.
  2. Read and annotate the exam instructions and topic(s) carefully, so you can respond as directly as possible
  3. Take some time to brainstorm and plan your response before you start writing (20-30 minutes of planning is not unreasonable if you have a two hour final exam period).
  4. Make your intro short and to the point. A clear thesis is more important than a clever hook!
  5. Write your essay, keeping track of time and sticking to your plan. Most instructors ask you to skip lines – which gives you room to revise, and them room to make comments while grading.
  6. If at all possible, leave time to revise and proofread. Don’t just leave early! (Again, for a two-hour final exam period, 20-30 minutes is quite reasonable).