You should always start your writing with a plan. Having an outline will help you to stay focused and use your time well. Sometimes you will have a problem when you write. This means you will need to change your plan. In this section, you will learn some strategies for how to solve common problems.
Problems with Timed Writing
Here we have a list of possible problems you can have when you write. Included are some ideas of how to help if you have that problem.
1. I can't think of ideas.
If you have a hard time thinking of what to write, the best thing you can do is practice. If you want to practice, you can do an internet search for writing prompts. There are many websites with questions to write about. Set a timer for yourself and practice. Another way to improve is to write in a journal in English. Set a timer every day and write about your experiences.
An outline can also make this much easier for you. Try making a short list of all of your ideas, even if you think it's not a good idea. Write it down. After you have your brainstorm, you can decide which ideas are best and put them in order. This is your outline. To practice this, use those same writing prompts and set a timer for 2 minutes for brainstorming.
2. I don't type fast.
Typing is a skill that takes time to improve. You need to practice with a US keyboard until it starts to feel natural. There are websites that your teacher can recommend to practice. One thing that will help is to remember to practice writing on a computer frequently. It can be easier to do homework on your phone, but practicing with a computer and keyboard is the only way you will be a faster typer. Practicing on the same type of computer is also helpful.
3. It's hard to focus in a computer lab.
This is a common problem for many students. First, you need to understand why it is hard to focus in that place.
- Wear the headphones in the ELC computer lab. It can make the sounds softer.
- Ask your teacher if you can listen to music. Use music without words.
- Ask if you can wear noise canceling earplugs.
- If you need additional accommodations like a separate room for testing, you can talk to the student life advisor.
- Choose a seat that is not next to your close friends.
- Remember that other students might feel nervous too. Everyone is focused on their own writing, and no one is judging you.
- The teacher or lab worker walks in the room to look for cheating and to see if everyone is focused. The teacher is not checking your accuracy.
4. I feel stressed.
Anxiety and stress about a test or the environment can make it hard to do your best. The most important thing is to recognize your feeling. Ignoring it does not make it better. If you know that you sometimes feel stressed, change your plan. Can you write fewer paragraphs so you can focus on making them stronger? What does the teacher actually expect? Sometimes we make higher expectations for ourselves, so remember to look at the rubric or ask the teacher what is necessary. If you have anxiety or panic attacks in every test situation, remember that you can always ask for help. The student life advisor can make accommodations to help you be successful.
Exercise 1: Reflection
Write a short reflection (1 paragraph) to answer the question below.
What problems do you face when you are asked to do timed writing? How do you overcome those problems? What strategy would you like to try?
Exercise 2: Timed Writing Practice
You have 30 minutes to respond to this prompt. Your answer should be around 300 words long. Before you begin, think about how you will use your strategies if you have an obstacle with following your plan.
The ELC currently has classes from 8:30 am to 2:20 pm. Some students would like to change the time to 12:00 pm (noon) to 5:05 pm. What schedule would you prefer? Why do you think that option is best for all ELC students?