The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #12: Writing On A Deadline

by on October 27th, 2012

It’s 3AM. You’ve been writing for HOURS… but you’re nowhere near done and your deadline is creeping up. You swore you’d finish early but this is your THIRD application and, frankly, you’re exhausted. Writing under pressure is never easy but it happens to the best of us – the key is to do it well.

While your best bet is to avoid these last-minute scenarios, you can still deliver a fantastic essay on deadline if you don’t panic and, instead, focus on the task at hand. The worst mistake last-minute applicants make is to panic and tire themselves out without getting anywhere NEAR the results they want.

So… take a deep breath, follow these five tips and get ready for a long night. If you work hard and focus, you can knock this application out of the park:

  1. Make a plan. Resist the urge to start writing without a plan. Slow down, collect your thoughts, choose a topic and write an outline. Ten minutes of planning will save you an hour of editing down the line.
  2. Stick to your plan. If you have three essays and three hours to write them, that’s an hour per essay – don’t deviate thinking you can make-up time later. Likewise, make sure you triple-check the essay question and STICK TO IT. It’s easy to get derailed when you’re writing on deadline and that means lost time correcting yourself afterward.
  3. Review, review, review. Do it early and often. Writing in stressful situations means you’ll be making more mistakes than usual, which means triple-checking yourself during the process AND afterward. Likewise, if you realize your essay isn’t working midway through and you suddenly have a better idea, you’ll have to judge whether it’s worth taking another crack at it or pressing on with your current attempt.
  4. Take deep breaths. If you’re cracking up under pressure, take a few minutes to breathe deeply and think of something else. Make a cup of tea, go for a walk around the block or just get away from your computer and close your eyes. Then, five minutes later, get back to the task at hand and start fresh.
  5. If you can, sleep on it. When you’re done, if you have the opportunity to get a few hours sleep before handing in your application, do so and give it one last review in the morning – you may very well catch some tricky hidden mistakes after a few hours of rest.

So remember:

  • Make a plan.
  • Stick to your plan.
  • Review, review, review.
  • Take deep breaths.
  • If you can, sleep on it.

Check out the other articles in this series:

The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #11: Researching Your Dream School
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #10: Sentence Breakdown: Career Transition
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #9: A Guide to Fantastic Essay Conclusions
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #8: Simplify Your Writing By Avoiding Buzzwords
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #7: “Your School Is Ideal Because…”
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #6: Breaking Down Technical Jargon
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #5: Getting Specific With Goals
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #4: Writing About Sensitive Topics
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #3: Quantifying Success
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #2: Making Your Personal Qualities POP!
The MBA Essay Writing Guide – #1: Building a Catchy Intro

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