Both at-home essays and in-class essays are necessary

September 3, 2015 — by Frederick Kim

Whether in-class or take-home, each type of essay has its purpose. With at-home essays comes great pressure, because having more time and resources means being graded more harshly. At the same time, the more stressful in-class essay prevents procrastination and pushes students to think faster.

 

By the time most students reach high school, they know the feeling of wanting to sleep earlier but are unable to because of essay deadlines. In general, writing essays can be compared to swallowing medicine: necessary but unpleasant.

Whether in-class or take-home, each type of essay has its purpose. With at-home essays comes great pressure, because having more time and resources means being graded more harshly. At the same time, the more stressful in-class essay prevents procrastination and pushes students to think faster.

Though students may prefer one over the other, in truth, both types  are necessary.

The more common option, the take-home essay, is preferred by most students. The guidelines for the take-home essay generously allow writers days rather than minutes to write and assign whole novels rather than excerpts.

A big drawback associated with take-home essays is procrastination. When given huge chunks of time, many students tend to leave everything to the last minute (hence the painful late-night writing sessions). The consequence is that procrastinators fail to reach the higher standards listed on rubrics and endure extreme stress.

For other students, take-home essays may still be the best option. They can pace themselves appropriately and have the freedom to perfect each sentence at their leisure.

For hardcore procrastinators, however, in-class essays may be the better option.

Of course, the in-class essay can seem stressful because students must rush to finish in time while maintaining their quality of writing. However, in-class essays are usually graded with a lighter pen, which allows room for some mistakes.

The time constraint with in-class essays can also be helpful when there is too much homework for other classes. Finishing an essay in class ensures less homework.

According to English teacher Ken Nguyen, in-class essays force students to practice “on-demand thinking,” which will be necessary later on in college.

Furthermore, in-class essays allow the teacher to see the student’s individual work. In contrast, students at home can get help from siblings, parents or tutors.

Yet, at-home essays are also necessary so students can gain a well-rounded background in writing. Nguyen states that out-of-class essays “are generally reserved for assignments or topics that are more far-ranging and require more research and deep analysis.”

When all these components are drawn together, it becomes apparent that though students may have their individual preferences, both types of essays are necessary. Only a balance between in-class essays and at-home essays can ensure that students will receive sufficient practice in all kinds of essay writing.

 
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