Writing Center

Finals Week from Hell: How to Handle Writing Final Essays

By Isabel DeMarco, Writing Center Tutor


Finals week. Those two words often send shudders down the backs of many college students, and for no surprise. Finals week is often the most stressful part of any student's semester because they are bogged down with exams and projects in every class. While balancing those assignments can be hard enough, many students struggle when they realize there is yet another writing assignment looming in their calendar. However, with the right preparation, students can write an excellent paper while balancing group projects and studying for exams. The key is organization. Any tutor can tell you that leaving yourself enough time to get your work done is key to writing a great paper, but during finals week, many students feel as if they don't have adequate time to plan.


Here are a few easy ways to make essay writing as easy as possible during finals week:


  1. This is when time mapping comes handy. If you chart out study time over the coming week and map out clear goals as to how much of each assignment you have to complete each day, you can set reasonable limits for yourself and avoid feeling overwhelmed with deadlines closing in. Time mapping ensures that you set reasonable expectations for your work and have a clear balance between essay writing along with preparing for exams.


  1. Another suggestion when writing research papers is creating 'quote docs.' When writing a large research paper, an outline is definitely important, but having a quote doc can ease the writing process and keep you on track for your paper. This entails going through all of your sources before you begin the writing process, finding quotes that fit into your argument. Once you identify a quote, copy it down and cite it so that once you reach the writing process, all you need to do is go to your document and find whichever quote best fits to your essay.


  1. When all else fails, talk to your professors. Your teachers are here to help you, and if you feel overwhelmed with an assignment, it is important to seek out the assistance you need. Professors are open to meeting with students and want to ensure that you are doing your best work. If a prompt seems unclear or you are struggling with an aspect of your essay writing, don't be afraid to ask your professor for assistance or visit the Writing Center.


Overall, focus on organizing your calendar, organizing your paper, and don't be nervous to ask for help from those around you. Simplify the writing process for yourself during the busiest time of the year!

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