From there, the lazy teacher will peruse the body paragraphs, noting grammatical errors or placing enigmatic checkmarks to signify satisfaction; it all depends on how ambitious our pedagogical friend is feeling.In short, these lazy instructors of which I speak demand the five-paragraph format so they can evaluate not the student’s writing or critically thinking skills; instead, the teacher can determine whether or not the student has followed the rules.I always just made one up afterwards because I was to turn one in with the final paper.
So, to save time, many English teachers from the eighth grade all the way up to high school (and sometimes beyond) force students to write in the five-paragraph essay format.
That later part of the thesis is known as an essay map; it prevents hapless readers from getting lost along the way because – God forbid – we don’t want to be surprised by what we find in the third paragraph.
As I moved through college, however, I developed a system for cranking out papers in record time.
This let me spend more time on things that I enjoyed, such as writing for this blog and taking long walks through the woods. The ultimate waste of time when writing a paper is to write something that doesn’t even answer the question the professor is asking.
That is, if the paper is supposed to be 5 pages, don’t spend more than 2.5 hours on research (maximum).
Spending any more time than this puts you at a point of diminishing returns. If you find that you need more info after you start writing, you can always do more research.Yet, when I was an English TA in college, I saw this problem all the time.Students would spend hours researching and writing a paper on a completely different topic than what the professor assigned.Today, I’m going to share this process so that you too can write papers more quickly (without a decrease in the quality of your writing). Don’t be afraid to ask the professor to explain any part of the assignment that’s unclear.If the assignment seems vague, it’s not because the professor is trying to trip you up.Once you understand the assignment, you need to start researching. If you’re not careful, research can be one of the best ways to procrastinate.“One more source” can easily turn into hours that you could have been writing.Now to be fair, wonderful content can be found in many five-paragraph essays; in fact, a master essayist can flourish within the constraints of the five-paragraph form, the way great poets thrive despite the confines of the sonnet.Five-Paragraph Essays suck because they have become a crutch for lazy English teachers, they burden the writer (and the weary reader) with an overly formalistic style, and finally, they do not allow a student to discuss more than three main points.Most students abandon their hierarchical outline soon after their fingers hit the keyboard.”– Cal Newport, “How to Use a Flat Outline to Write Outstanding Papers, Fast”Ever since I learned the traditional method of outlining papers in 8th grade, I felt the system was broken.I never created an outline with bullets and numbers and letters before writing the paper.