Timed Writing Guidelines

posted in: English Toolbox, Students | 0

Rock your next timed writing! Make sure you’re prepared for every timed writing assignment by completing the assigned reading and homework assignments before every class period! If you know the essay prompt ahead of time, take notes targeting the prompt so you know exactly what to write about when you get to class. Also, use the outline below to maximize points.

Click here to download a printable PDF of these guidelines! 


  1. If you have enough time, start your essay with a hook.
  2. Always restate the prompt. You should also introduce the topic of your essay before the thesis statement.
  3. Your introduction always ends with a thesis statement. If you don’t have time to write a full introduction, simply restate and answer the prompt as your thesis statement.
  • Important points to remember when writing your introduction:
    • You only use quotation marks around the titles of short works, such as short stories, poems, magazine articles, or specific episodes in a TV series.
    • You underline or italicize the titles of large works such as novels, textbooks, magazines, and TV series.

Body Paragraph (1-3 paragraphs total)

  1. Every body paragraph must start with a topic sentence!
    • Supporting Statements introduce your first claim, but they CANNOT stand alone.
      1. Textual Evidence sentences must ALWAYS follow your main idea sentences. No textual evidence, no points.
      2. Explanation sentences must ALWAYS follow your textual evidence sentences. The analysis sentence tells your reader what to think about the textual evidence. This is your chance to explain how your evidence proves your point! No analysis, no points!
  2. Every body paragraph should end with a concluding sentence. Remember, this sentence paraphrases the topic sentence and either leaves the reader with a lasting impression, or transitions to the next paragraph.
  • Important point to remember when writing your body paragraphs:
    • Main idea chunks can repeat as many times as necessary in a timed-writing body paragraph. But ever time you have a main idea, you must always have textual evidence to back it up.


  1. Restate your thesis in the conclusion using different words as you did in your introduction. You always restate your thesis as the first sentence in your conclusion.
  2. If you have the time and the ideas, connect your essay to a larger concept such as the human condition, society today, the theme, character development, author’s purpose, etc.
  • Important point to remember when writing your conclusion:
    • You must always have a conclusion, even if it means abandoning your second or third body paragraph and writing a conclusion instead. If you’re short on time, simply restate your thesis statement as your conclusion.

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