How to Overcome Last-Minute Essays and Score Better

Last Updated: 27 November 2023

Does this sound familiar? You have swirling must-do assignments that seem to pile up with each passing minute, and even the simplest task seems overwhelming.

We all know the feeling of putting off a big essay until the last day and rushing to complete it on time. It’s like a rite of passage for every student.

You may be wondering why this happens. Is it procrastination or lack of interest? Or are you just not interested in working on the assignment? What drives you to push your assignment until the 11th hour?

In this article, we will dive into all the reasons for writing essays at the last minute.

Reasons Students Write Essays and Assignments Last Minute

There is no valid reason for writing essays at the last minute. So why do so many students write assignments at the last minute? Here are some of the reasons this happens:

Complexion Anxiety

Completion anxiety is the fear of not being able to finish a task. This fear can be so crippling that it causes you to procrastinate your most important tasks. If this is your case, you may feel overwhelmed by the work or find it difficult to begin the assignment; while it's normal to feel this way, sometimes, it becomes a problem when it affects your assignments.

One way to tackle this complexion anxiety is by identifying its root cause. Understanding where your anxiety comes from can help you decide how to manage it. This fear often stems from low self-esteem, problems at home, or fear of failure.

Lack of Proper Preparation

Another big reason for writing essays at the last minute is the inability to properly prepare for the essay or assignment. The academic assignment demands a lot from students, from proper research of topics, coming up with a thesis, writing flawless work, and finally proofreading it for errors. If you have not prepared adequately, you will struggle to finish it on time.

Therefore, you must begin the assignment immediately by reading the prompt to understand all the requirements.

Lack of Interest

If you are not interested in the given task, chances are you won't put much time into it or feel motivated enough to begin working on it. Without genuine interest, you may be tempted to put it off until the last minute or delay the writing process.

Additionally, a lack of interest will cause you not to focus on the different stages of writing an essay. You will struggle to gather relevant information or develop coherent arguments and ideas necessary for your task.

You can combat this by finding a connection between the given task and personal interest. Find out whether the topic is directly or indirectly related to something you are dealing with.


Another reason for writing essays at the last minute is perfectionism. Perfectionism is a double-edged sword. While high standards can help you maintain high grades and help you avoid mistakes like late submission of assignments, it can be a trap. It can prevent you from even attempting or completing a task. The desire to submit a perfect essay or assignment can cause overthinking, leading to mistakes like putting your essay off until the last minute.

As a perfectionist, you may excessively plan and organize your thoughts before you begin working on the assignments. This can lead to you delay working on it until the last minute. You may also use excessive editing, revising, and proofreading to make your work flawless. Therefore, you may delay submitting your assignment until the last minute.

The best way to deal with this is to set realistic goals and reasonable standards for your essays or assignments. Understand that writing is a process that demands continuous improvement.

Improper Time Management

Writing essays at the last minute is a sign of improper time management. Poor time management will cause you to push tasks until the last minute, leaving you with limited time to work on them. If you have no control over your time, procrastination will force you to delay your work until the pressure of the imminent deadline causes you to work on it at the last minute.

Without proper time management, you will not allocate enough time for each essay stage, such as selecting a topic, coming up with a thesis, etc.

So, to address these issues, you must learn how to manage your time by setting realistic goals or breaking down the task into manageable chunks.

Fear of Failure

Fear of failure or receiving negative feedback from teachers can cause you to delay working on your assignments until the last minute. If you usually feel unable to produce high-quality assignments that earn good grades, you may put it off as a way of avoiding it.

Instead of being afraid, you can deal with this fear head-on and ensure you don't work on essays at the last minute. For instance, ask your teachers which areas to work on if you fear negative feedback. Then, use this feedback to improve your writing.


Feelings of doubt are a significant factor that can lead to writing essays at the last minute. If you are faced with a difficult topic or one which you are not familiar with, it's natural to experience feelings of uncertainty. Such feelings may stem from not fully understanding the particular assignment or not having confidence in your abilities to do a good job.

In such situations, you may be caught in a cycle of indecisiveness and reluctance to begin or complete your assignments. This then leads to the need for excessive clarification or second-guessing your arguments, and before you know it, the assignment is due.

To overcome these feelings of uncertainty, seek clarification from your instructor about the assignment requirements. It is also important to thoroughly prepare for the assignment and set realistic goals about what you intend to work on. This will also help you approach your work with more confidence.

Pros and Cons for Writing Essays/Assignments Last-minute

Writing an essay or assignment at the last minute is a challenging experience, but unfortunately, it is one that most students find themselves in most of the time. While this situation has positive sides, there are certainly some drawbacks. The following are the pros and cons of writing your essay at the last minute.


You can reap the following benefits from writing essays at the last minute.


Most students thrive under pressure and find that an impending deadline is a big motivation. When you are under pressure, your body releases adrenaline, increasing alertness and forcing you to focus on the task and be more efficient with a limited time. This enhanced adrenaline rush will force you to channel your stress and use it to finish your essay on time.

In addition, when you are focused on the task, it's easy to block out distractions and maintain a steady flow of ideas. Your mind will be alert, which can help you write the essay much faster. You won't have time to doubt your capabilities or arguments. There is no time to do anything but focus on the task before you.

Increased Efficiency

Writing essays at the last minute helps you use your limited time wisely. Your mind will focus on the most important task, the assignment. You can easily manage your time and know what to prioritize and what to keep aside for later.

Proper time management takes a shift in focus from task to results. Remember, being busy isn’t the same as being effective. Better time management also forces you to give your best, thus helping you achieve the set objective much faster. Many high achievers manage their time exceptionally well by using time management tools such as activity logs and a to-do list. These tools allow you to be better in control, giving you the confidence to achieve your target.

Increased Creativity

The pressure of an impending deadline can help enhance your creativity and create a unique perspective and diverse ideas for your assignment. This urgency in deadline will push you to think outside the box and come up with solutions that can help you accomplish tasks much more quickly.

Increased Motivation

Writing last-minute essays can indicate a lack of motivation to work on a task. However, a looming deadline, even if annoying, will help you complete your assignment. A looming deadline sparks intrinsic motivation, the internal desire to get things done for its own sake. This internal desire allows you to fully absorb the task and ensure you complete it on time.

Furthermore, an impending deadline creates the desired psychological stress, motivating you to finish your task faster and increasing your sense of urgency. This is because your mind will embrace a positive mindset. In other words, stress is a challenge to be embraced, and when embraced, it will help you become more effective and productive in class. The imminent deadline for the task becomes more urgent and raises the priority of getting it done at the last minute.


Even though pulling an all-nighter is a common way to finish assignments, it's not good. The following are the disadvantages of writing essays at the last minute.

Missed Errors

When trying to finish an essay or assignment at the last minute, there is a high chance that you will make and miss many grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors because you are working at a high speed. This speed is dangerous for assignments because your mind won't pick out the simplest errors. Reading the finished work, your brain will make assumptions about the words.

Moreover, you are also likely to need more time to edit and proofread your work effectively. As a result, you will submit an assignment with many grammatical errors, redundant phrases, or unclear sentences that you could have easily rectified with enough time and more careful revision.

Increased Stress 

Writing essays at the last minute can increase the risk of stress because of the possibility of not completing the assignment on time. Knowing that your time is limited increases the feelings of urgency and pressure. Additionally, you may also feel out of control over the situation. You will feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and feel like time is running out, which can further exacerbate stress.

Additionally, the closer the deadline, the higher you will feel the stakes. You will worry about not completing the assignment on time or submitting high-quality work, which can intensify feelings of stress.

Low-Quality Work

Writing essays at the last minute often means that there is limited time to do thorough research, develop a strong thesis statement, or develop stronger arguments to support your thesis. This means you will be sacrificing a lot of essential aspects of essay writing.

The rush to complete work on time will likely hinder your ability to do a good job on the assignment, thus increasing the risk of getting a bad grade. Research shows that students who begin their assignments early tend to get better grades than those who don't. It also leads to a pattern of poor time management and overall lower academic performance. If you consistently don't work on assignments until the last minute, it can create a cycle of poor performance, which could eventually lead to discontinuation from school.

Tips to Get essays/Assignments Done well at the last minute

Having limited time to finish your essay or assignment is incredibly stressful. Fortunately, here are tips on how you can pull off writing essays last minute successfully.

Don't Panic

At this point, you are probably panicking or filled with anger about delaying until the 11th hour. But this is counterproductive. The more you panic, the more you will feel the pressure and waste your precious time. While moderate pressure is good, too much can cause you to freeze up.

The best thing you can do is calm down and avoid negative thoughts. Panicking will lead to feelings of paralysis, which can stop you from even attempting to work on the assignment. So, create a positive environment for yourself that will motivate you to work on the assignment.

Avoid Distractions

Sometimes, you may set aside time with the intention of working on it later but get distracted. Distractions can come in many forms, including text, social media news, your family, loud noises, etc. Getting distracted at the last minute when you should be working on your essay or assignment can keep you from finishing and submitting your assignment on time.

Writing essays at the last minute demands undivided attention. It would be best to remind yourself that you cannot afford to waste time on irrelevant things. Since your time is limited, every second should be dedicated to the assignment.  

Keep distractions by turning your phone off, temporarily blocking all social media apps, moving to a quiet room, and asking your family to give you a break to focus on your assignment.

Plan the Remaining Time Wisely

Since your time is limited, you need to use it wisely. Writing essays last minute requires that you understand how to plan your time well to ensure you accomplish the task on time. To achieve this, break down your essay or assignment into manageable chunks. For instance, you can divide it like this: choosing a topic, researching, outlining, writing, editing, etc., then setting time for each specific task. Ensure there is enough time to do all this and for revisions and proofreading.

Additionally, remove all non-essential activities and let your mind focus on what's important. Excessive activities or tasks can steal your time. So, determine and prioritize what’s important and what's not by labeling them like this:

Good time management will keep your mind focused on the urgent task and ensure you submit it on time.

Gather Relevant Resources

Determine what resources you need to write a high-quality essay and gather them before writing. Doing this can streamline the process and help write essays at the last minute for several reasons. First, having relevant resources for your essay allows easy access to information and evidence to support your arguments. Thus saving you time since you won’t have to pause to look for particular information.

Secondly, thorough research ensures you develop your understanding of the topic and strengthen your arguments, allowing you to present a comprehensive analysis of the material.

Thirdly, having relevant resources lets you plan and structure your assignment effectively. Based on the information given, you can organize your ideas and create a logical flow of information faster because you have a clear roadmap.

Cite Sources as You Write

Citations and references are critical in academic writing because they show you have done research and are willing to show the sources of your information. Under normal circumstances, you can cite your sources after writing.

But given this isn’t a normal circumstance, there is a high chance for you to skip this process. Writing essays at the last minute demands that you submit a high-quality essay. So, to ensure this, you must cite your sources as you type the assignment.

Type Your Essay

When writing your essay or assignment, your chosen method will impact your speed and efficiency. Unless your teacher tells you to write by hand, type your essay because it is much faster.

Typing allows you to input information much faster. Using a computer will be easy since you are already proficient with digital devices. You can quickly transfer your ideas and arguments onto a screen without the need to rewrite or erase wrong information.

Furthermore, typing makes it easier to edit and revise your work. Thanks to digital programs like Microsoft Word, you can easily make changes to your essay, rearrange the order of your essay, or add more information. This flexibility allows you to finish your essay faster and more efficiently.

Use Editing Tools to Save Time

If you want to save time when writing essays last minute, use tools to help you write and edit your assignments faster. There are various online tools, most of which are free, that can help you accomplish your task with ease. Some of these tools include:

Grammarly- this tool uses artificial intelligence to pick out grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors quickly.

Evernote- this tool will help you finish your essay faster by capturing, organizing, and keeping your thoughts flow.

Hemmingway editor-This editing tool highlights all the areas that need editing and also helps improve the readability score of your essay.

Incorporating these tools will save you so much time and allow you to finish your work on time and submit a high-quality essay before the deadline elapses.

Develop a Strong Thesis Statement

Another tip for writing essays at the last minute is developing a strong thesis statement for your essay. A strong thesis statement is the backbone of every essay that provides a clear and concise summary of the main argument of your essay. It will simplify your writing process by ensuring your essay is clear and making it easier for you to complete it before the deadline for various reasons. First, a strong thesis statement helps you maintain focus and clarity from the beginning to the end. It guides your writing by ensuring every paragraph sticks to the theme of your essay.

Additionally, when you are focused on the main argument of your essay, it's hard to go off-topic, and you won't include irrelevant information, thus saving you time in the long run.

Our Final Insights

Writing essays at the last minute is a common phenomenon among students. While there could be some advantages, such as increased focus, efficiency, and motivation, it also has several downsides. It’s important to understand all the reasons why you could be consistently working at the last minute and the risks that come with an impending deadline to find solutions.

Don’t let a deadline sneak up on you again. Incorporate the above tips to ensure you finish and submit a flawless assignment on time.

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