How to Tackle a Lengthy Report With Little Time to Spare

How to Tackle a Lengthy Report With Little Time to Spare
  • Opening Intro -

    Your big report is due next week and you haven’t even started it.

    Your professor approved the title, but that is as far as you have gone.


Welcome, my friend, to the world of procrastination — you’re living in it, but you need to quickly make an exit. Here’s how you can tackle a lengthy report with little time to spare.

1. Identify your sources. How many sources are required for your report? Can you use a combination of books, articles and online materials to source your work? Know what direction you can take and begin to research your work. A trip to the library can help you get started.

2. Jot down your notes. As you begin to read, take notes. Use a notebook and a pen to jot down this information or use a computer. Don’t forget to name your file, save it, and then return to it. You may find it easier to organize your notes by assigning a piece of paper to each source. Some students prefer using index cards.

3. Analyze the topic. With information gathered and recorded, you need to analyze what you have. This means thinking about the topic and considering various viewpoints. You might also discuss it with a friend to gauge how much you are comprehending. Your professor knows what you’re writing about — she wants to see what you’re comprehending.

4. Write an outline. Papers succeed or fail based largely on the outline or an absence of the same. You can’t afford to not have some idea where you’re heading with your paper. And with little time to spare you need to assemble an outline to guide you. You already have a title and you know that there will be introductory and concluding paragraphs. You also know that there will be several salient points, usually three to five, that will need to be discussed, argued and defended. The sooner you identify those points, the faster you’ll get where you’re going.

5. Start writing. With your notes by your side and your thinking cap on, begin to write. Work on a paragraph and include a topic sentence to guide you. You’ll polish your introduction later. Then, begin writing your points, not worrying about how you’re saying it or checking for typos and grammar issues, you’ll polish the meat of your work later. Be prepared to state a view point, make a case for or against it, and cite your sources.

6. Begin editing. With a rough draft before you, look over what you wrote (or typed) and begin to massage your work. This means paying attention to style as well as to content. If in doubt about anything you wrote, verify it. Your report must withstand scrutiny and you must defend your work.

7. Bring in the style. Your professor likely has included a stylesheet or your department or college may have one that identifies how to write this report. Check your spelling, clean up grammar problems, and include your references. If required, add a booklist. Then, type up your copy inspecting same when done.

Quick Report

Saving a report for the last minute puts more pressure on you. However, if you are very careful with your work you can still get a very good grade. Ultimately, it is what you put into a paper that matters the most with the output your excellent work.

See AlsoHow to Write a Winning College Term Paper


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Categories: Study Tips