I'm a student and have an essay due in 2 days - can you give me some advice?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by snowydog, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. snowydog macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2011
    Hi everyone

    I don't frequent many forums and I was looking for some people to chat with and who could maybe give me some advice.

    Basically I'm in final year of university and I have one more assignment left - it's due in on Friday. It's not 12.55am here wed night/thurs morning.... I know the stuff I need to right about - 3,000 words...I've done 800!

    I'm having some sort of mental block or panic!

    To get a first class honours, I need above 70% ... currently, with all completed coursework and exams...I'm sitting on 75% ... all I have left is this one piece of coursework and two exams.

    Basically I have to write a critical review on a topic area I was assigned - I'm studying a science subject.

    I know a lot about the topic area and I've got a great structure that I'm working with to base my review and arguments on ... but for some reason I can't write down what I want to say!

    I'm pushing myself to get above 70% in this assignment and I guess I'm really worried that I won't write enough or probably more to the point, won't critique enough to get the higher grade.

    Can anyone give me some advice on how I can ensure I critique enough - I mean is anyone an academic here that would know what examiners would be looking for?

    I don't know why I'm struggling - I scored highly in all my other pieces of coursework, including critiques. Perhaps I'm a bit burned out, it's been assignment after assignment for weeks now! :eek:
  2. Bingbonghoho macrumors member

    Dec 1, 2008
    Wirelessly posted

    Try drugs! Just don't overdose
  3. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
  4. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    I willing to bet the OP does not.
    My suggestion is at this point make a basic outline and get more topics. Sounds like you need to create one at this point since you hit your end with out it. You will be amazed at how much you can added after you write one.
  5. snowydog thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2011

    Yeh I have an outline, I've wrote the intro, I've wrote the biological and physiological aspects etc...

    I've made notes throughout my outline on what I want to include etc..

    I'm pretty happy with the outline/structure of it - it's just actually writing it...

    Here's an example:

    I'd write about 3 or 4 lines - stop - read over it - reword it - read it again - reword it - delete it all! Then I'd read various sources over AGAIN and then attempt the whole thing...I know If I do get it done earlier and read over it, I'll prob re-word things again or want to include more stuff :/

    I know I'm capable of writing very well - I just got the results of one of my other assignments today and my lecturer (a well respected researcher in the topic I was writing about) told me I done an excellent job! ...
  6. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Better start writing...

    I find it best to have a glass of scotch, bull$#*! for a while, then revisit and tweak later. Got me through 4 years of college with a 3.6 GPA.
  7. eric/ Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    Keep calm.

    If you wait till the last minute to get something done, you get it done in a minute. :cool:

    Time management is for suckers
  8. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
  9. MattZani macrumors 68030


    Apr 20, 2008
    Couple beers, not DRUNK, just one or two, write until you fall asleep, wake up and edit it tomorrow.

    Throw enough ***** at the wall and some of it will stick.
  10. Shrink, Apr 25, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012

    Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    What I was going to suggest ^^^

    Just keep writing, if possible. Don't stop to correct spelling or do any editing.

    Just keep writing!

    After you finish, or get as much down as possible, then go back and edit.

    Even if what you are writing is very rough, with poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation...you can fix that during editing.

    Do not interrupt your train of thought by editing as you go along.

    Good luck...:D
  11. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    I miss the days of weaving a 3000 word ******** web and getting a grade for it.
  12. snowydog thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2011
    :D :D

    Ok I'm gonna try blasting through it and then edit afterwards - I dunno why I'm finding this one so difficult - I know the subject area, more so than other essays I've done in recent weeks! Arghghgh!
  13. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    As others have said, do this:

    1. Outline it.

    2. Write down whatever to fill your outline. It won't look nice at this step.

    3. Walk away from it for a bit (or overnight).

    4. Go back and refine it.
  14. sysiphus macrumors 6502a


    May 7, 2006
    Very simple advice.

    Unplug your internet connection. Turn off your phone. Find a quiet place without other distractions. Then try again.
  15. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Drink a lot of sugary tea. Got me through my 20,000 word dissertation!

    Sounds like you don't have a visual plan on where you're going with your essay. Draw up an introduction and end points/conclusion, fill in the gaps in-between with subheadings and gradually fill in the content.

    If you know this subject area well, that shouldn't be a problem. Sounds like you are just panicking over getting a good mark and it's draining your brain. Drink some tea, and draw on a piece of paper your essay plan. It'll all start flowing soon enough.

    Taking a break and watching TV helps too, you might get an epiphany on what'll really get your essay a good mark.
  16. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    Get into the mood and just get it done. Put some music on, have a cup of coffee by you and get typing like you've never typed before. Works for me.
  17. Heilage macrumors 68030


    May 1, 2009
    Draw a mindmap of aspects you need to include and how they are related. This can help you find a general structure of the whole paper, and it gives you a "roadmap" of segways.

    It's easier to write when you don't have to think "What do I have to mention now?".
  18. decafjava macrumors 68030


    Feb 7, 2011
    Some excellent advice here. I always found the pain of getting started worse than actually sitting down and writing. As the others said just start and don't stop until you are done-then fix!

    Good luck. You'll have fond memories of college even this bit. :D
  19. snowydog thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2011
    Thanks for all the pointers guys!

    I'm not sure how it sounds like I don't have a plan - I already said I had a plan, and that I've made notes throughout the plan...I have a clear logical structure to the essay that I'm really happy with

    I know what I need to write, where I need to write it etc....I'm just struggling to actually write it - i.e. I write a paragraph - read it - reword it X3-4 then scrap it and start again! :eek:
  20. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
    Maybe you could change your topic to "Procrastination, the Cost of Putting things Off". I feel for you. When I had to write... I needed to feel the pressure before I could do it. Ten PM, the night before it was due was when I would start.

    Those who have suggested to write it all out to the finish, then polish it, are correct. Do not write a paragraph and then try to get that paragraph perfect.
  21. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    ? senioritis
    ? fear of transitioning to the next phase in life
    ? burn-out

    There is excellent advice here. Go outside for a few hours and do something physical in the sun. Then crwl into yoiur work cave adn disconnect from the outside world (turn all electronic devices off, pull the window shades, etc.) and WRITE.
  22. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Start with a strong thesis statement, and build your introduction paragraph off that. Once you have all the topics in that intro paragraph you should be able to bang out the rest.

    Good luck, and sometimes the best way to get in the flow of it, is to just start writing it. Don't worry about reworking it yet, just produce the paper and then rework it.
  23. snowydog thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2011
    Definitely a mental thing of some sort - like you say, probably burnout! essay after essay for weeks and months on end! infact my last essay was on the topic of burnout!

    I had about 7 hours sleep last night but I still feel tired! Gonna get some fresh air and then attack this essay!
  24. SOLLERBOY macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2008
    I'm coming to the end of a long 12 week semester and have a presentation to do for tomorrow. I'm in the same position. Just can't get it done. I find that writing without editing or structuring helps even if you have to delete some or restructure later.
  25. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Wouldn't that be specific to your university?

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