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The first time: meeting a deadline

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If you’re not used to writing essays, your first deadline can seem incredibly daunting.

Often it feels as if you’ve only just been given an assignment and suddenly it’s due in next week. You don’t have to be unbelievably organised to get it in on time, but you do need to find some motivation.

There are ways to avoid that panicked feeling…

Start working
It sounds obvious, but when you’re first given that assignment, it can feel as if the hand-in date is too far ahead to even think about. It’s not. It is never too early to
start reading around the subject, making notes of anything that might be relevant and recording your sources. Some people find a study timetable helpful.

Set yourself mini-deadlines
Giving yourself goals to reach can help keep you motivated. The shorter the goal, the more you’ll achieve and the greater the sense that you’re getting somewhere will be. Rewards make these goals even more satisfying; it’s amazing how much half an hour of TV for reaching 500 words can motivate you.

Write anything
We’ve all been there - staring at a blank page waiting for some words to appear. The best way to get passed it is to just start writing. You might end up changing
everything you’ve written but at least you will have something to show for the hour you’ve sat at your computer screen. It’s much easier to go back through what you’ve done and change it than to start writing from scratch.

Avoid facebook, twitter, youtube and any of the thousands of distractions the internet has to provided us with

Easier said than done. When you’re sat at a computer writing about health promotion, it can suddenly seem the ideal time to email that person you met on your
gapyear three years ago. Avoid the distraction by only having open the windows you are using. If you really can’t resist the temptation, ask a friend to change your passwords and agree a word limit you need to reach before they tell you what it is.

Figure out your own study-style

Everyone you speak to about essay writing will have a different tip for you: work in short spurts, work for 7 hours at a time, only work between the hours of 4 and 8am; listen to thrash-metal while you’re working. The truth is that everyone is different. You might even find you can only really concentrate on working when the deadline is just around the corner. Figuring out your own way to meet that deadline will help you get through your course without ever having to have a caffeine-fuelled all-night writing session.

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