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.