The need for a mix of in-class and take-home essays

In-class essays and take-home essays are a pain. Essays are a pain, period. They are, however, a necessary part of our education, and they test more than just writing skills. Thus, a balance of in-class and take-home essays is necessary to ensure that a student can master time management, analyzing and writing skills.


Most upperclassmen know the pressure of an in-class essay. We get sweaty palms, sore wrists and a brain that turns into mush afterwards. English and history classes often test a student’s true knowledge and ability to write about a subject in a certain period of time. For example, students are expected to analyze the prompt, construct a thesis, structure a six-paragraph essay and coherently provide evidence in 55-minute history free response questions. On the contrary the teacher won’t be expecting perfect grammar and penmanship or eloquence since the essay is given in a short period of time.. Additionally, the timeliness of in-class essays make them more desirable than take-home ones for procrastinators.


There are some valuable lessons to be learned from in-class essays. Since there is little time to prepare for the prompt, students are forced to formulate their thoughts on the prompt in an articulate manner. Even if the teacher releases some of the possible prompts beforehand, writing an in-class essay with a time restraint requires faster-paced thinking than a take-home essay would.


While in-class essays test our ability to think on our feet, take-home essays emphasize our capability to utilize resources and manage our time wisely. With take-home essays, students feel less pressure while actually writing but have to deal with the prolonged stress of getting it done. Being assigned a week or two in advance certainly raises expectations in terms of grammar errors and inaccurate facts. Other things to take note of include improvised structure and the overall flow of the essay.
Essay writing might be stressful, but it’s a way for a students to learn effective, clear communication skills. Only a balanced mix of take-home and in-class essays will truly help students succeed as masters of writing not only in academic environments, but their future careers.

By Brian Chen, Opinion editor
Photo Courtesy of Ninja Essays