Managing Your Time During a 15 Minute Essay

If you’re planning on sitting a Selective Schools entrance test, a Scholarship exam or a SEALP test, it is likely that you will be required to write a persuasive essay under a strict time limit. On some of these tests, students are required to write a clearly thought out and well structured persuasive essay in only 15 minutes! This is not an easy task. In between brainstorming ideas, planning the structure, expressing your arguments and ensuring your spelling and grammar are up to scratch, the time can easily slip away from you if you’re not prepared.

In order to make sure that you don’t run out of time, I suggest that you practice using the following fool-proof structure.


1. Planning (1 minute)

In this minute, your goal is to come up with a contention (your opinion on the topic) and 3 main arguments. Don’t spend too long writing down all of your ideas or making for/against tables. Use short hard and dot points to get the planning done as soon as possible.

2. Introduction (2 minutes)

The introduction of an essay can often consume the greatest amount of time if you do not have a clear plan of attack. Make sure you know exactly what needs to go in to your introduction and try to follow this structure consistently every time, so that writing an introduction becomes second nature. For more information of the exact structure of a perfect introduction, check out my new ebook!

3. Body Paragraphs (8 minutes)

Ideally, a perfect 15 minute essay will include 3 body paragraphs, one of which might be a rebuttal paragraph. This is a very difficult goal to achieve under a limited time constraint. To save time, it is important to follow a clear TEEL structure and not let yourself get carried away and make your paragraphs too long. Get in, make your argument, and get out!

4. Conclusion (3 minutes)

When under pressure, students often neglect to save time to write an adequate conclusion. Make sure that you set aside 3 minutes to wrap your essay up neatly and clearly.

5. Revision (1 minute)

Once you have finished writing, it is always a good idea to save a minute to read over your work and see if you can find any mistakes or things you should change.


Bonus Tip: Practice Makes Perfect

If you are struggling to write an essay in only 15 minutes, the best way to improve is by building up gradually. Start with a time limit of 25 minutes. Make a note of which sections are slowing you down, and actively focus on how you can write those sections more efficiently. Once you can do 25 minutes, give yourself 20 minutes, and then 15. Practice makes perfect!

For more information of how to plan, structure and write a high-quality persuasive essay in only 15 minutes, check out my new guide in the Spectrum Learning digital bookstore.



Spectrum Tuition Talks NAPLAN On SBS News

Last week, Spectrum Tuition’s Thuy Pham spoke to SBS news, sharing her experiences and opinions regarding the upcoming NAPLAN test. The story, which features on Monday night’s broadcast, questions whether the test puts undue pressure on students whose teachers are overly focused on improving their scores.

Thuy explains that problems arise primarily when teachers focus too heavily on preparing students for the test without providing a more general and productive understanding of the fundamental concepts behind the questions: “If you just give students the test, and you just go through the test, without teaching them any of the content before that, then it’s all going to be a waste of time.”

On the other hand, Thuy suggested that, in classes, such as those at Spectrum Tuition, that focus on the fundamental skills required by the NAPLAN, and not just on how to get through the test, studying for the NAPLAN can be a productive and valuable activity:”Regardless of whether you’re coming specifically for NAPLAN training or not, we find that it’s a very worthwhile experience, to do NAPLAN style questions.”

You can view the full story here. If you would like to know more about the NAPLAN test and what it means for your child, please visit our website for more information.

New To The Book Store: Write A Persuasive Essay in 15 Minutes

If you’re preparing for an entrance exam (e.g. the Victorian selective schools exam or an accelerated learning entrance test) you’ll know that a vital part of the exam is the persuasive writing component. This part of the exam is extremely tricky and requires you to craft an amazing response in just 15 minutes! Having seen many students struggle with this component of the exam, I have designed a book to show you a dead simple way to write a compelling a well structured essay in just 15 minutes.


I understand that many students leave preparation to the last minute. That is why I’ve made this a short simple and straight to the point book with no ‘page filler’ – only techniques that work under the 15 minute time constraint. If you’re feeling the pressure of an upcoming exam, or if you just want to learn how to write a high quality persuasive essay under a strict time constraint, then pick up your copy of “Write a Persuasive Essay in 15 Minutes” today.

Sign Up For Our Simulated Selective Schools Exam

On the 31st of May and the 1st of June, Spectrum Tuition will be holding a Simulated Selective Schools Exam. If your child plans to sit a Selective Schools Exam this year, or if they want to get a good impression of what is required to succeed on the exam, then don’t miss out on this event

What Does The Exam Involve?
Over the course of the two days, students will be involved in a 6 hour immersive experience carefully designed to  prepare them for the Victorian selective schools exam.

Day 1: Students sit a fully supervised exam under full exam conditions. Overnight, our exam marking team will go through each student’s exam paper and correct it. Further, we’ll provide detailed feedback on the essays you wrote during the simulated exam.

Day 2: Students will participate in a 3 hour workshop that will go through answers to the more challenging questions. Prior to this workshop, we’ll analyse the questions students struggled with and devote time in the workshop to answering those specific questions.

Check out our website for more information!

How Much Does It Cost?
The full 2 day program costs just $150. This includes
– A full 3 hour exam, including all the areas covered by the Selective Schools exam
-Full correction and written feedback on all exam questions and written tasks
– A 3 hour feedback session, aimed to clarify the more difficult questions on the exam.

Click here to secure your ticket today!

How Will It Help My Child?
If your child is preparing for a Selective Schools exam, then this is the program for them! Most students who are preparing for the Melbourne High, MacRob, Nossal High and Suzanne Cory High School entrance test have never sat a 3 hour exam. In fact, for most students the first time they’ll ever sit such a long and high pressure test is on the day of the actual exam! By sitting our simulated exam, the fear and anxiety is likely to be reduced so that on the day of the exam, students are relaxed and ready to do their best. Our feedback session is designed to allow students to identify their strengths and weaknesses in order to make a plan of attack to help them achieve their goals.

How Can I Learn More?
If you would like more information, please visit our website for everything you need to know. Alternately, you can email us at or call us for free on 1800 668 177.