What are timed writings and how to score high


Going into the assignment with the right mindset and an idea of how you intend on handling the essay is essential to success.

For many students, timed writings are the most distressing segments of any advanced placement or standardized test. The objective is for students, between forty and fifty minutes, to effectively answer a given prompt. These prompts vary in the subject matter depending on what subject area (language arts, history, etc.) the test falls under. Going into timed writings, many students are nervous and don’t know where to start. Some have difficulty gathering information via engineering assignment help and others find sorting it into logical groups troublesome. However, taking adequate time to prepare beforehand can have you testing with the opposite mindset.

What Are The Types of Timed Writings

Timed writings are generally divided into two categories: the document-based question (DBQ) and the free-response question (FRQ). Both essays test students’ ability to analyze data and draw informed conclusions from that information. However, the two essays require different types of data analysis; thus, the method for effectively preparing for the two essays varies.

Document-based questions, as the name implies, test your ability to use provided documents to provide an answer to the given prompt. They are most common in social studies subject areas. The topic of a DBQ typically concerns itself with how well the tester can identify changes over time or impacts of certain people/events on other people/events.

Regardless of what the topic asks you to identify, it will always provide you with some sort of guidelines as far as how to organize your essay. These guidelines take a form similar to: “identify how increased nationalism affected the political and social atmosphere of France and Britain.” In that example, the topic has given you up to four ways to group your documents: political impact on France, social impact on France, political impact on Britain, and social impact on Britain. Every document (usually between 6-12) will have some connection to one of those four areas, even if the connection isn’t overt.

Free-response questions allow you to freely discuss a topic. Unlike the DBQ, there aren’t specific documents that you must incorporate into your essay, but you are nonetheless unable to write an essay on whatever topic you choose. In short, you must still follow the prompt but are unbound by the constraints of the given documents. This said you are not prohibited from using outside resources. Drawing documents from outside the prompt will be a great boost to your score.

The same is true, to a lesser degree, for the DBQ. FRQs are more popular with language arts subject areas but are an excellent way to assess students’ interpretive abilities across all subjects. They will often ask you to compare and contrast differences between two pieces of information or describe how certain factors contribute to the effect a piece of information. In this case, students prefer to ask someone to “write my essay” to succeed in writing and researching. (ie. what factors could have contributed to the decline of wild roses from 1970 to 2002 given data on rainfall, pollution, the population of possible predators, etc.).

General Guidelines

Notate your documents/information as you read through them. You’ll save yourself the time of having to gather information during a second read-through.

Don’t stress over a conclusion. It is always better to have well-developed body paragraphs than to have choppy ones and a great conclusion.

Avoid using “fluff” in your supporting paragraphs. Your time should be spent including credible supporting details. If you’ve little to write in a particular area, spend that time improving upon an area where you can create a great argument.

Keep an eye on how much time remains, and pace yourself according to how many body paragraphs you plan on writing.

Mastering the DBQ

The DBQ is a difficult essay to conquer, primarily because each document has a specific use, and if they aren’t used for those purposes, your essay has a chance of failing altogether. As you read through the given documents, mark every possible group where it could potentially fit. This way, when you’ve finished looking over the final document, you’ll have an easier time determining which document will fit best into each category. Organizing documents in the best possible combination is important to your essay because it determines how well you’ll be able to relate your documents and groups to the prompt.

Composing the essay itself is no simple task either. Avoid regurgitating information from the documents; the essay is not an assessment of your ability to understand the content of the documents, but to be able to relate that content to the prompt. Suppose a DBQ prompt asked you to identify the causes of a corn shortage. One document involves a farmer who describes himself as getting rid of pesticides. Don’t analyze the document merely as a farmer removing pesticides, but as a farmer removing what he identified as the cause of his declining corn output. When possible, also try to go “one level deeper” with your analysis of documents. This becomes clearer as an analytical technique as you gain more experience with the documents of these question types. The more in-depth you go with each document, the greater your score will be.

Even if you can incorporate twelve documents into your essay, try to cut down on that number. Use only documents over which you have the most complete understanding. You won’t get much in terms of bonus points for using every document which is why it is most important to devote your scarce time to squeezing as much as possible out of those that you understand best about the prompt.

Mastering the FRQ

The FRQ is surprisingly similar to the DBQ in that you must analyze the information you are given, though it is not typically a single document and, thus, requires a more detailed analysis. Just like with the DBQ, as you read through the document for the first time, search for and mark any information that may be useful in answering the prompt. Take a moment to organize your ideas before starting the actual essay.

Because the free-response question doesn’t provide you with a plethora of documents with which to answer it, drawing comparisons between what you are given and personal experience or other sources demonstrates a keen understanding of the subject matter. If the FRQ is concerned about literature, find someone to write my paper to draw comparisons between the main piece and other novels you have written. If it is concerned with a particular period, mention other, similar periods or creative works that dealt with that period.

It is important to not feel confined by any topics of discussion suggested to you in the prompt. Going out of your way with original ideas will help you to score higher. Like with the DBQ, go into as much detail as possible when addressing your points.

Last Minute Preparation

Going in to take timed writing, try to keep your wits about you. Though difficult for many students, try not to stress. Read sample timed writings beforehand, and analyze what each writer did right or wrong in their essay and what techniques contributed to their scores. Of course, you don’t want to completely take an idea from another student, but try to use other students’ ideas as guidelines for what the graders will be expecting.

Timed writings can be intimidating, but only if you have not taken the time to prepare beforehand. Remember, writing is a process of growth; without practice, you won’t be able to improve. Maybe you might even benefit from looking for sample timed writing topics to practice before taking the actual examination. As with much of the world, practice makes perfect.