How to Ace a Last Minute Assignment

How to Ace a Last Minute Assignment
  • Opening Intro -

    For whatever reason, you have either put off an assignment to the last minute or your professor has suddenly sprung a paper on you with little time to lose.


In three days you need to submit a six- to eight-page paper, not quite as long as a term paper, but requiring some and dedicated serious work on your part. Here’s how to write that paper and ace it in the process.

1. Clear the slate. You don’t have much time to do anything else, so expect to devote the better part of the next two days gathering information, writing an outline and creating a rough draft. The basketball game you planned on attending tonight is out. Be prepared to lose some sleep over the next few days.

2. Begin your research. If your college library is open, then head to it immediately. With your topic already in hand, begin searching for information that will support your paper. Plan on finding at least three sources to start with — five or more would be ideal. Look for books, periodicals, notes or anything else that is acceptable.

3. Find a quiet place to begin. The last thing you need at this point are distractions. You need to shut off the television, turn off your smartphone and avoid any other electronic interferences for the next few hours. Keep your laptop handy to write your notes, but avoid hitting any websites that might distract you. Your friends’ photos on Instagram can wait. Messages on Facebook and Twitter can be read and answered later.

4. Identify the salient points. With little time to spare, you need to review your research materials and highlight the top points made. Those salient points should be supportable, something you can argue for or against with ease. If you identify three to five main points, these will compose the bulk of your work. From there, you can expound upon each point.

5. Give yourself a break. The last thing you want to do is to become so stressed out that you cannot handle your assignment. Take a break, eat something healthy such as fresh fruit and avoid caffeine if it is late at night and you’ll soon be turning in soon. You may not get as much sleep as you want, but your sleep should be restful, not fitful.

6. Draft an outline. Write up an outline to guide you through the writing process. Start off with a strong introduction and show the main points you will be making in the body. You can save the conclusion until your paper is finished.

7. Offer your opinion. Your professor wants to know what you think about the subject. As you share a source’s thoughts about a topic, include your opinion too. Keep your opinion brief and avoid rambling. Stay on topic and explain why your opinion, if different, matters.

8. Add substance. The problem with writing any assignment with little time to spare is that substance is a sacrificed. Clearly, you have to build on your outline and flesh out each point and do so in a constructive and convincing fashion. Come back to these points after you have had a good night’s sleep and you should be able to offer something concrete.

9. Be careful with your spelling and grammar. With some very good spelling and grammar tools at the ready, your paper should be flawless. Write up your final draft, run both spell check and grammar check, and reword language for clarity and brevity as needed.

10. City your sources. Cite your work by giving credit to each source in your footnotes and/or end notes. Use the formatting and style guide preferred by your professor. Save time by visiting Citation Machine, choosing MLA, APA, Chicago or Turabian style to create your style.

Assignment Considerations

Be very careful to avoid plagiarism! In the heat of the moment you may find yourself quoting another source without attribution. Your intention may not have been to mislead, but that won’t matter much if your professor finds your paper has failed spell check.

As far as getting an “A” grade with an assignment cobbled together rapidly, you would have had to invested an extraordinary amount of time doing your research. If everything else is in order, a “B” grade should be within reach, something much better than the “F” you would have received if you forgot the assignment.

See Also15 Tips For Writing Your College Term Paper


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Categories: Education Tips