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Help Writing Creative Essays Under Pressure

blueberrydish 1 / 1 1  
Jan 19, 2022   #1

Writing Creative Essays Under Pressure

Hello Essay People,

I am due to take an exam in March which has a verbal reasoning, written task, and a scientific reasoning section (medical school entry exam). In search of guidance for the written task, I have read lots of the usual essay writing tips on this forum, but the tips generally relate to essays written over a longer period of time, and not in an exam.

For the written task (essay) in this exam, you are given two sets of 5x prompts (usually quotes but could just be statements); the first set of prompts relates to a random sociocultural theme (war, capitalism, inequality, activism etc), and the other relates to a random personal theme (love, jealousy, ambition, remorse etc). Your task is to develop a 'piece of writing' in response to one or more prompts, in the space of 65 minutes (60 mins writing time, 5 mins planning time). This means you must 1) generate 2x separate ideas or theses and 2) express those ideas in the form 2x cohesive, well-structured essays. The examiners are marking you based on the quality of your response to the theme and how effectively you express and present yourself in doing so.

In the past, many test-takers have stuck to a 'safe' generic formula: Intro (state thesis), 1st paragraph (argument for), 2nd paragraph (argument for), 3rd paragraph (argument against), and a Conclusion (synthesis). However these types of essays can look bland and formulaic and generally don't score well. The essay can be discursive, argumentative, or even a creative, narrative piece. There are no rules. In my experience, the more creative pieces do better, and if you have a really interesting idea, you don't even have to finish the piece to score well. Essays submitted are said to be around 350 to 500 words each.

I have taken this exam a couple of times in the past, and I am giving it my all this time. However it's really hard to prepare for this part of the exam outside of reading widely, and hoping you're struck by inspiration based on the prompts you get on the day (which I have experienced in the past). This does not instil confidence, as this leaves you open to getting 'page-fright' on the day because you receive essay prompts on a topic you don't know much about (which I have also experienced). I really want to lean into the creative side of things, but am afraid I won't be able to think creatively on command.

I believe I can produce good writing when I can draft and reflect and edit over time, but I'm not sure how I can consistently produce anything of substance in so little time, and on a random topic.

So, my question to the essay experts out there is, do you know of a good way to prepare for this type of assessment? Is there certain formula, literary device or format that could be applied to many or almost any given prompt or topic? Do you know of any writing exercises that help with generating and/or expressing ideas in a creative/novel way?
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 12,696 4119  
Jan 19, 2022   #2
You were already clued in on the various combination topics that could comprise the prompt for your writing test. It is up to you to combine various topics and then write about it during your practice test. My advice is, use the creative writing technique. That way you can creatively connect various themes, while not being personally involved in the writing. When you use the standard writing format for the response, your tendency will be to use personal insight, which limits your creativity in terms of thinking and tackling the topics provided.

It appears that there are no right or wrong answers to the topics you will be provided, so don't be afraid to get creative and just write what you feel and what you think. By detaching from the essay through the use of a creative narrative, you will find yourself falling into a creative zone that should allow you to better brainstorm when it comes to the actual test. Use characters, settings, and dialogue to get you out of the habit of writing from a personal point of view. The more creative your storytelling, the more interesting your paper will be to the examiner.

If you need help with practicing and preparing for this aspect of the test, you may contact me privately. Remember, practice makes perfect but you need proper guidance to achieve that perfection. By using the actual time situation during your practice test, and combining the most outrageous partner themes you can write about, you will be better prepared to take the test.
Jonathan123 - / 1  
Jan 28, 2022   #3
I get what you are trying to ask and want to consider as a solution but you must not rule out the basics and consider them bland. It is because there is not a straightforward approach to success and you can say that the test takes were not up to the mark to crack the test and gain good grades. There is a wide possibility that people do not possess the necessary skills and thus they fail but what they do in return is that they question the questioner and the question itself but do not look to the bright side. If you are also one of them then there is little I can do.

Moreover, you will need to consider the basics of essay writing but there will be good tips that I can give you and will be giving you in the process. For example, you can start and finish the complete essay in three paragraphs as well but that thin looks bland. What looks less bland is you making around 4 to 5 paragraphs and ensuring that there is a good finish to a theme and then you begin the next one. Dividing and ruling is not just in the war and in the field but also on the paper. And your impression and attempt of clean writing will work only.

Furthermore, the thing you are asking regarding the selection of prompts, always look for the ones that match in some way or the other. Often, the problem arises when you consider what looks good to you but you find it difficult to relate. If you select slightly matching prompts, you will not need to shift your tone drastically after one ends and the next begins. In essence, you will just move from one topic to another.

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