Strategies for Timed Essays

Timed essays are one of the most stressful assessment activities a student will ever encounter! Here are some tips to use in managing the timed essay and a list of further resources.

Also, while it may seem like a waste of time, in this situation as in most, practice will help improve your skill and reduce anxiety, so find ways to practice before your next test.


To lessen test anxiety, try some of these tips:

Test prompts (i.e., the test questions) will often contain one or more keywords. These indicate what type of essay is expected:


Yes, the first step in writing the timed essay is to resist the urge to start writing frantically. Take a few moments to plan your approach, and the results will be much better. In preparing to write a timed essay, follow these general guidelines:

While Writing


If there is time, let's practice writing (or at least starting!) a timed essay.


Aldrich, C. (2005). Learning by doing: The essential guide to simulations, computer games, and pedagogy in e-learning and other educational experiences. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Test taking tips. (n.d.) Retrieved January 30, 2006, from

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.

Page Author: Barbara Z. Johnson