As an English major in college, I had my share of essay exams.
I usually kept an eye on the clock when writing, but I’ve definitely had moments when I ran out of time.
So here’s some advice from Harvard University on how to complete an essay when you only have minutes left:
- Conclude by linking the last paragraph to the first, perhaps by reiterating a word or phrase you used at the beginning.
- Conclude with a sentence composed mainly of one-syllable words. Simple language can help create an effect of understated drama.
- Conclude with a sentence that’s compound or parallel in structure; such sentences can establish a sense of balance or order that may feel just right at the end of a complex discussion.
And here’s how you should never end an essay:
- Don’t simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long_more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas.
- Avoid phrases like “in conclusion,” “to conclude,” “in summary,” and “to sum up.” These phrases can be useful_even welcome_in oral presentations. But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You’ll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious.
Read more tips on how to conclude an Essay . . .
- How to Write a Fascinating Thesis Statement
- Beware of These Tricky Words on Essay Exams
- What Stephen King Can Teach You About Writing Essays
- How to Write a Great Term Paper in One Evening
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