What do you do when can’t answer the question? When your mind seems as blank as the study notes you meant to write? What should you do the sh*t hits the fan?
The first part is easy – don’t panic. Yes maybe your hopes, dreams, and parents’ love rest on your result; but they don’t give marks for panic attacks. If you are going to salvage any part of this situation you need a clear head.
The second thing is not to stare at the question or the blank page in front of you and hope that your essay will write itself. It won’t. Many people have tried – learn from their mistake.
Thirdly, you need a change of perception. Instead of, “Oh sh*t! I’m so screwed!” You need to view it as a challenge and rise to it. The game’s the same but the rules have changed. You write nothing, you get zero. You write something, you might get more than zero.
So what do you do? You write.
You write down the essay question and list everything you know about it. Anything you can remember from class, from the study you did do, what you heard on TV, read on someone’s Facebook page etcetera. Anything you might be able to use to answer the question.
Then plan an essay around it. Choose an argument and fit in all the relevant bits and pieces you can remember in a clear, logical, structured, concise way.
What you don’t do, and I stress this, is try and look at the paper of the guy next to you. A zero is better than cheating.
Anyway, if it looks like you tried to write an essay, you may get some marks; if you made a few good points, you may get some marks; if you’re persuasive, you may get some marks. Any marks are better than no marks. Markers aren’t evil (usually) and they want to give you marks – especially at university where you are likely being marked by your lecturer – they don’t really want you to fail (usually).
In saying that, this is not a substitute for studying. To put it crudely, no matter what sort of essay you pull out of your arse on the day, it will still be sh*t compared to the rest of the class who studied. (Oh and don’t ever write like this in an essay – it’s a sure way to lose you marks!)
This is your Plan F and I hope you never have to use it!