What was the idea behind timed writing?

Seriously, who thought this was a good idea?
It's counterproductive and forces you to think on your feet and write the most surface-level bs rather than have deep analyses of the topic.
I understand that we don't have all the time in the world, but seriously, an essay written in forty minutes is never going to be as good as a deeply analyzed essay that takes two or three hours.

September 10, 2015

10 Comments • Newest first


They're not looking for the most in depth essay ever produced that is fit for publishing. Because of the time restriction, graders are generally much more lenient than an essay you had days/weeks to develop.
On timed writings that reference an article, it's more to see if the writer is able to read a passage and able to understand what the author is trying to tell the reader. It allows students to develop their ability to think on their feet and more importantly, to think on their own (without the assistance of Google and your classmates).

Is the writer able to communicate their ideas and understanding in a clear and concise way? I just wrote a timed writing yesterday for my intro to engineering college class because apparently, engineering majors aren't able to properly communicate.

Reply September 10, 2015

it's done to improve your ability to think critically and make those connections quick.
In the real world, you often have to be able to come up with solutions quickly and be able to analyze a lot of info. If you know how to weed out the garbage info, it allows you to do your job much more proficiently.

Reply September 10, 2015

AP tests pretty much. Which is why AP English classes are worthless. All they do is prepare you for the test, which is kinda useless besides getting credit for college.
If you wanna learn anything n English, take a college level course, or a college prep class.

Reply September 10, 2015

I write all my essays in 40 minutes, doesn't matter if it's a 4 week deadline.

Reply September 10, 2015

i actually didn't REALLY learn how to write an essay until i took AP Lit and APUSH (but not really since they have different standards)
an essay in 40 can be pretty decent past all the anxiety and a tiny scribble of an outline with the intro, body, and conclusion topics with key words helped me a ton

Reply September 10, 2015

so you man up

Reply September 10, 2015

Eh I disagree. If you're writing an essay on a subject you've studied you should know the content well enough to articulate something credible and knowledgeable in 40 minutes.

Reply September 10, 2015

thats why back in HS if I knew or had an idea of the topic, I would basically write out the essay at home and write out the same thing when tested.
i've never had to do timed writing in Uni. Thank god. </3

Reply September 10, 2015

English teacher here.

Where I'm from (Vancouver/Richmond), there are many students who pay tutors to write their essays for them. Because of this, the only way to get authentic assessment of writing ability is to have it done in class (here, its 80 minutes a block). If they're allowed to take it home, we no longer know if the writing is theirs or someone else's. For the same reason, topics are also not given beforehand and changed for every block/period taking the test.

Its rather unfortunate, I agree. In an ideal world, I'd love to give students all the time in the world to write to demonstrate their full potential. But in light of the fact that we have such a problem here, there's no other choice but to go the timed route and grade based on that. That being said, I usually try my best to make accommodations for slower writers. If the class is before break or lunch, I'm willing to let them write through the bell until whenever they're finished. Same thing if its the last block of the day (they can write as long as they need).

Reply September 10, 2015

[quote=vietua] you to think on your feet and write the most surface-level bs rather than have deep analyses of the topic.[/quote]

This is exactly what they're grading you on. Most teachers don't heavily grade on content on timed writing.

Reply September 10, 2015