In-class essays provide clarity, eliminate distractions for writers


You’re sitting in the back of your English classroom, gnawing on the end of your pencil and staring down at a few scattered sheets of lined paper. The pressure is immense, and as your teacher says “begin,” your heart races. You scramble to jot down an outline as quickly as you can—the timed in-class essay has begun.

While there are clear drawbacks to the in-class essay, writing in a timed, stable environment still remains a strong challenger to the second option: an out-of-class essay.

Especially in English and history classes, in-class essays are routine for students both in and out of the IB program at Marshall. The timed environment, although it may be stressful for some students, provides an opportunity for all writers to find concise language that gets a point across more easily.

As opposed to out-of-class essays, writing an essay in school eliminates distractions; when in a classroom setting, students cannot log onto Facebook for a quick five-minute break or text friends complaining about the assignment.

In addition to clarity and a virtually distraction-free environment, writing in-class essays as opposed to out-of-class essays demonstrates an individual’s true knowledge of a subject. Without any aid, teachers can see directly into the mind of each student, unhindered by technology or outside information.

Of course, one could argue that not having access to information beyond what’s contained in the student’s mind is unfair, and that a time limit restricts the full potential of the essay; however, in-class essays are still beneficial in that they thwart the traditional essay style. Instead, the writer’s mind is accessed fully during a confined time and the unencumbered results are significant—with a controlled setting, the writing flows out smoothly.

So, next time your hand is shaking with anticipation as your in-class English essay begins, take a deep breath and remember that beyond the pressure and the end time lies a well-crafted paper.