3 efficient ways to practice essays

3 efficient ways to practice essays

Essay writing, especially the short type following rigid structures, is a technique which can be improved through systematic practice. The more you write, the better you become.

But before you randomly start writing as much you can, this is a blog to tell you how to improve the most using as small amount of time as possible. These are my 3 most efficient ways to practice essay writing.


  1. Time yourself with a friend
  • Generally, I do not recommend studying with friends but that excludes essays. Set a timer for about three quarters of the time you would be given in the exam, decide on a question, and silently write together.
  • Time is up when the alarm rings. Comment on each other’s essays in terms of structure and style. The reading and commenting should not take more than 15 minutes. Then, sit down and write the next one. Try to get at around three short essays done in one study afternoon.
  • With both a timer AND a friend watching, you can’t slack off and you will finish more than you would do alone.


  1. Submit a full-length essay before the exam
  • The week before the exam, write one full-length essay and show your teacher. Take advantage of the fact that it is not homework, so that the teacher can give you individual, more detailed feedback. You can also ask specific questions which are bothering you.
  • When I wasn’t sure whether it was better to write one ways or another, I wrote the whole thing twice and asked my teacher straight forward, which was better. If you do it nicely, the teacher won’t be offended and you also evade the problem of only receiving vague explanations.
  • For me, this helped with summaries.


  1. Rewrite what the teacher corrected
  • This may sound like a lot of unnecessary work. However, carefully rewriting one whole essay while correcting mistakes which the teacher marked, helps as much as writing two new ones. It is needless to say that it also takes a lot less time.


These are the practice methods I used when preparing for English and French exams, as well as the Cambridge Advanced English Certificate. (I scored full marks here, by the way^^)

You can find example questions in the internet or textbooks, or you can make them up. It can be anything really. It’s not about the content, it’s the technique you need to practice. You should be capable of writing a good essay, however pointless the topic may be.

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