It’s the start of the week; you head to college and realize everybody is talking about the research paper submission. “Isn’t that due next week?” you ask, only to be told it was due the previous day. You hurriedly check your calendar and are in for a rude shock – you missed the deadline.

Just then, your alarm rings, and you wake up sweating. Thankfully, it was a dream!

However, the fact remains that you have a submission in four days, and you are nowhere close to starting it.

Given the busy college schedules, academic pressures, tight deadlines, and in many cases, even juggling a part-time job, it’s no surprise that college students are struggling with stress and anxiety.

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According to a 2018 American College Health Association report, over 60% of college students said they had experienced “overwhelming anxiety” in the past year. Looming essay deadlines have a significant role in contributing to this stress.

Smart Last-Minute Essay Writing Tips You Can Use

Doing an essay last minute is enough to give you the chills. Regardless of how much you plan to start early, you constantly find yourself racing against time.

However, doing an essay last minute does not mean you compromise on the quality. Here are 14 smart ways to write your last-minute essay and still do a good job.

#1. Stop panicking

At this point, you are filled with anger, self-loathe, and guilt. You keep telling yourself that you should have started earlier and hate yourself for putting off the college essay till the very end.
While you are bound to have such negative thoughts, you must do away with them because they are futile and will only obstruct your concentration.

The first step to approaching a last-minute essay is to stop panicking and actively start working toward your essay. It would be best if you created a positive mindset and workspace to do full justice to it.

#2. Stay away from distractions

When you begin work on your essay, you receive a notification on your phone, and the next thing you know, you have spent the next few hours doing everything else but working on your college essay.

It’s easy to get distracted and away with time, but you must remind yourself that you cannot afford to do so. Doing an essay last minute requires your undivided attention, considering you have limited time.

So, whether it’s Instagram, Netflix, or even your friends, stay away from distractions and focus on completing the essay.

Here’s an interesting TEDx Talk by Chris Bailey on focusing better.

#3. Commit to a topic

Writing a last-minute essay makes you more likely to doubt yourself and be in two minds. After reading the instructions carefully and researching, choose an essay topic and stick to it. By second-guessing yourself at every point, you will only be wasting time.

#4. Work on the outline

You may wonder if you can afford to work on an essay outline when you run out of time. The answer is yes; structuring your essay is always worth it.

Having an effective essay outline saves you time, ensures you have covered the key points, and maintains a logical flow throughout. For instance, if you are writing a research paper, the outline needs to include the following sections:

  • Title – the shortest page; this needs to mention what your paper is about succinctly;
  • Abstract – a summary of your paper in 150 – 200 words;
  • Introduction – include the essay hook, explanation of the topic, and the thesis statement;
  • Methodology – describe the methods used to conduct the research;
  • Results – state the outcome and substantiate it with statistical data, tables, and graphs;
  • Conclusion – reinstate the thesis statement while summarizing the findings of the research;
  • References and Citations – cite all the references in this section.

Once you have established these, note down the points you plan to include under each section before you begin writing.

#5. Set mini-deadlines

In an ideal world, one would finish the essay in a single sitting, but we all know that’s a little too difficult to achieve. There does come the point when we reach a stage of exhaustion, and pushing ourselves to work beyond that means doom.

To avoid burnout, break your writing into parts and give yourself mini-deadlines. For example, aim to finish writing three sections in four hours and then allow yourself to relax. Tackling the paper in parts keeps your mind fresh, and you can think more clearly in the process.

#6. Set a timer

Since you already created an outline, set a timer for writing every essay section and try to finish before the timer goes off.

For instance, you can set the time at 15 minutes for writing the introduction and try to complete it before the end of the 15 minutes. Once you finish the introduction section, take five minutes to review it and see if it makes sense without bothering to correct the grammar.

Set the timer again for the first body paragraph, then the second, until you have covered all the sections on your outline.

#7. Increase your typing speed

It won't be easy to finish your essay fast if you’re a slow writer. To finish writing within the shortest time possible, you need to increase your typing speed.

How do you increase your typing speed? Sit upright and maintain a good posture while typing (ensure you are not looking at your screen at an angle). Let your elbows rest on the table and slightly elevate your wrists.

As you type, focus on the screen instead of your hands. This will help you start typing faster.

#8. Use writing and editing tools to save time

Want to save time? Several writing and editing tools can automate some processes to save time and help you finish your work faster. Some of the best online tools you can use when writing last-minute college essays include:

a) Grammarly

Grammarly is one of the best editing tools for editing your essay. The software uses artificial intelligence to identify errors related to spelling, punctuation, sentence structures, and even plagiarism.

After you finish writing, pass your essay through Grammarly to help you identify and correct grammatical errors. It will save you the time you’d spend revising your essay to identify and correct such mistakes manually.

b) Evernote

To finish your essay faster, you’ll need to organize your notes to promote the flow of thought and help you write more quickly.

Evernote is one online writing tool that will help you organize your notes effectively, so you don’t need to keep everything in your head when researching. You can take clips, and screenshots of relevant web pages, reference documents, images, and graphics for later use when writing.

This way, you won’t need to surf the internet all over again when you start writing. You can use the software anywhere, at any time, without any charges.

c) Hemingway Editor

Another editing tool to help you edit faster when writing last-minute college essays is the Hemingway Editor. You can decide to type on the app or copy-paste your essay onto the app after you finish writing.

Instead of spending time reading your essay and trying to identify errors alone, Hemingway will help you highlight lengthy and complex sentences and suggest ways to improve them.

It will also identify adverbs and weakening phrases to eliminate from your essay to make it more meaningful. This online editor will improve readability and make your essay easy to read and understand.

d) Dynalist

Nothing makes writing easier and faster than outlining. They help you organize your ideas ahead of time so that when you start writing, you won’t get stuck in the middle. An essay outline will also help you stay on topic and answer all the essay prompts effectively.

The good news is that you can use online tools to write outlines fast to save time, and one of them is Dynalist. You can use the free version of this online tool to capture your points into flawless outlines and flesh them out later when you start writing.

These tools will help you finish writing fast since you won’t spend much time editing manually after writing.

#9. Turn off spelling and grammar checks

While writing tools help you edit your work, the best way to write faster is to turn off the spelling and grammar checkers until you finish writing your first draft.

Since you want to write fast to finish your last-minute essay, underlining errors as you write may be more of a distraction. The checkers sometimes underline correct words, and you may spend time thinking about how to replace the word or correct sentences instead of focusing on writing.

Therefore, consider turning them off until your first draft is ready; you can turn them on and start editing your essay.

#10. Write the introduction and conclusion at the end

Introductions and conclusions tend to require more time when writing an essay. This is because they are supposed to be compelling, thoughtful, and engaging. You, therefore, need a little brainstorming to write these parts.

To save yourself some time, skip the introduction and go straight to explaining your points in the body paragraph.

You’ll spend less time on this section since you have already researched and identified your sources. After completing the essay body, you’ll have a clearer picture of your essay, and the introduction will take you less time to write.

The conclusion will also take less time to write since it will summarize the points you already discussed in the essay.

#11. Cite references alongside

Citing references is an integral part of essay writing. Citing sources and providing evidence to support your claims shows you pay attention to detail and adds to the credibility of your essay.

However, given a situation where you are writing a last-minute essay, there are chances of making more errors or skipping this step altogether. To avoid this mistake, citing references and to write the essay is a good idea.

What does this mean? Every time you include a quote, fact, or piece of information that needs referencing, ensure you make a note of it immediately, so you don’t waste any time hunting for it later.

Alternatively, you can also use a citation generator.

Citing all your reference articles can be time-consuming and deter you from completing your essay fast.

You can use several citation generators to cite articles accurately to have your essay references right. You must copy and paste the generated citation to your list of references at the end of the essay.

Some of the best citation generators you can use include MyBib, CiteThisForMe, CiteFast, and Bibme. The tools help you format your references in APA, MLA, or Chicago style, depending on your essay instructions, all for free.

#12. Proofread

Proofreading the college essay must not be overlooked regardless of how much time you have in hand. This is even more crucial while writing an article in a hurry because you are more likely to make mistakes.

After all the effort put in, the last thing you would want is to submit an essay with grammatical mistakes and formatting errors.

So, put aside quality time to proofread your essay and edit it accordingly. It is also a good idea to share a copy with your parents or friends and get a second set of eyes on your work.

#13. Take short breaks

Even though it’s the last minute and you want to finish writing your college essay fast, short breaks can still come in handy.

Sitting on the table for too long can tire your mind and body, making you a less effective writer. When your mind is clogged up, it hinders the flow of ideas, and you may be unable to knit your ideas into meaningful paragraphs.

Therefore, consider taking short breaks of 5 to 10 minutes, after which you can return to your table and write with a fresh mind.

#14. Get professional help

Doing a last-minute essay can be overwhelming. Sometimes you don’t know where to begin, and your anxiety gets the better of you.

However, college essays affect your grades, and you should not submit substandard work. So, if you find yourself stuck, reach out to a last-minute essay writing service.
Writers Per Hour is one such essay writing service that can save you from all the stress and anxiety that comes with last-minute essay writing.

Our instant essay writers are trained to meet deadlines and tackle all sorts of specialized essays ranging from math, law, and chemistry to nursing, biology, and accounting.

Be it 24 hours or 1 hour, when you turn to our urgent essay writing service for last-minute essay writing help, you are sure to receive nothing but high-quality, original essays right on time to meet your deadlines.

Are you stuck on writing an essay?

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about writing last-minute college essays.

How long should it take to write a college essay?

The longer the essay and the more complex the topic, the longer it will take to write. A typical 5-page essay would take around 14 hours to write:

  • Brainstorming, researching, and outlining: 8 hours;
  • Writing: 4 hours;
  • Proofreading, editing, and formatting: 2 hours.

Is it possible to write an essay in one day?

Absolutely! It’s possible to write an essay in one day. All you need to do is prepare and do the research in advance. When you start writing, focus on your essay, and turn off distractions like social media notifications and chatting with friends.

Can I pay someone to write my last-minute college essay?

Yes, however, the person you hire needs to be a subject matter expert and a skilled writer who can deliver quality work quickly.

For instance, Writers Per Hour has urgent essay writers trained to deliver essays within the stipulated deadline. One page paper in 5 hours will cost you $33.99 if you are in high school. If you are a college student, the price will be $41.99 - $47.99, depending on your course.

We recommend you check our prices and discounts before making any decision, as we regularly conduct promotional campaigns for new and regular customers. So, check out our offers and essay promo codes which start from 15% to 25% off any order.

How do you write an essay 10 times faster?

To write an essay ten times faster, plan your writing and research. Create an outline and bookmark the relevant sources you’ll be using. Increase your typing speed, and use online writing tools to help you edit faster.


Irrespective of how much time you have, don’t make the mistake of plagiarizing someone else’s work, as it can lead to severe consequences such as expulsion or ruin your chances of getting selected. Hence, always ensure you submit original work and if you cannot do it yourself, seek help from last-minute essay writing services.

Last-minute essay writing is not ideal, but, in many instances, it cannot be helped either. So, the next time you find yourself in a similar situation, instead of hitting the panic button and haphazardly approaching the essay, follow these smart tips and don’t let the lack of time affect the quality of your essay.

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Achieve Academic Success with Expert Assistance!

Custom Essays:

Crafted from Scratch for You.

Plagiarism Removal:

Ensuring Your Work’s Originality.

Rewriting & Paraphrasing:

Transform Your Draft into Excellence.

Editing & Proofreading:

Perfecting Your Paper’s Grammar, Style, and Format (APA, MLA, etc.).