We’ve all been there. Time stretches lazily ahead of you with weeks to go until that next deadline.

It’s all fine, you’ve totally got this under control. In fact you’re actually quite looking forward to getting started, and whilst you wouldn’t tell anyone this, you’re mildly convinced you may be the next Austen.

Then, suddenly and quite rudely, everything is due in three days, and two episodes of Friends has turned into a complete re-watching of every episode. How could Netflix let you down like this, you thought you were friends.

But never fear! Here are our top five essay writing tips to help you cope, and even conquering, an essay crisis.

1. Don’t panic, and breathe

Trust us, panicking never helps. To tackle the biggest essay stress, put on a calming playlist, take a few deep breaths.

There are loads of great playlists on Spotify to improve your focus, or try a mediation video on YouTube.

2. Take 10 minutes to write down all the thoughts you have

It’s time to crack out the felt tip pens or post-it notes and write down all your thoughts. There are no right or wrong answers at this point and only you will ever see this part of the process, so go wild. Just empty your brain onto the page and hopefully things will become clearer.

If your mind has gone blank then start by writing the question in the middle of the paper. Add a couple of the key points around this and then start to fill out the rest.

3. Organise your thoughts

Now everything is down on paper, it’s time to start organising these thoughts into something a little more concrete. Move your bullet points or post-it notes into sections to start forming your argument.

If you’re struggling, talk it through with a friend or housemate. Even if your friend isn’t on the same course as you, it’s often helpful to talk through your ideas with someone and that might spark some genius idea. We’re pretty sure that the saying two heads are better than one doesn’t come from nowhere, and sometimes your lecturers were right when they insisted on group work.

4. Get settled and clear away distractions

An easy way to combat essay stress is to de-clutter your space. How can you think clearly when you have your notes piled on top of plates, mugs and old receipts? A tidy space is a tidy mind…and it’ll stop you absentmindedly reading the back of the cereal box for the fifth time today.

You might also want to grab some healthy snacks and a bottle of water to keep you from procrastinating by starring into an empty fridge.

5. Start small and congratulate yourself

Another cliché alert… a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single steps. Now, we’re not suggesting you’re walking to Russia but a 10,000 word essay can seem quite daunting sometimes.

Start by aiming to write one paragraph and then you can congratulate yourself. Take a 10 minute break and write the second paragraph. Soon a couple of paragraphs will turn into your masterpiece.


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