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Humanities LibreTexts

11: Timed Writing

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    235774
    • Rachel Bell, Jim Bowsher, Eric Brenner, Serena Chu-Mraz, Liza Erpelo, Kathleen Feinblum, Nina Floro, Gwen Fuller, Chris Gibson, Katharine Harer, Cheryl Hertig, Lucia Lachmayr, Eve Lerman, Nancy Kaplan-Beigel, Nathan Jones, Garry Nicol, Janice Sapigao, Leigh Anne Shaw, Paula Silva, Jessica Silver-Sharp, Mine Suer, Mike Urquidez, Rob Williams, Karen Wong, Susan Zoughbie, Leigh Anne Shaw, Paula Silva, Jessica Silver-Sharp, Mine Suer, Mike Urquidez, Rob Williams, Karen Wong, and Susan Zoughbie
    • Skyline College

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    WHAT IS TIMED WRITING?

    Also called timed essays, essay exams, or in-class essays, these essays require you to demonstrate disciplinary knowledge by producing a writing sample within a limited time period. Timed writing measures your raw writing ability and your skill at thinking under pressure. It also reflects your ability to quickly recall, synthesize, and analyze detailed material. One of the major skills that is being tested in a timed writing exam is your ability to write to a prompt. A prompt is simply the exam question or writing task. In a timed exam, your thesis will generally be your answer to the prompt.

    WHY STRENGTHEN THIS SKILL?

    Being skilled at timed writing is important because…

    • oftentimes when you transfer to another college, you will be required to take a timed essay placement exam or graduate exit exam, so placing higher will save you time and money spent on taking additional classes and later enable you to get your degree.
    • some large survey courses base the majority of the student grade on in-class timed exams.
    • it improves your own mental agility—being able to think quickly and logically is an invaluable skill.
    • in college and in life, you will be required to compose arguments (written and verbal) on the spot, so the better you are at it, the more convincing and successful you will be.
    • American culture highly values polished written skills, so the more adept you are at crafting well written responses and proposals quickly, you’ll be the one who gets better grades, gets hired, gets the promotion, and will get more respect due to your effective communication skills.

    HOW DO I DO IT?

    Timed writing is challenging, so break down the task into manageable stages:

    1. Review the elements of an essay (so you are sure to craft a good one).
    2. Know how to successfully break down a prompt.
    3. Create a rough outline.
    4. Have a time management plan.
    5. Practice!
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