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Beat the Clock Essay Workshop

Intimidated by the SAT* or ACT* essay?

Unnerved at the thought of essay questions on college exams?

Don’t be!

Come to the Beat-the-Clock Essay Workshop™ where you’ll learn:

  • A simple three-step process for writing essays on any subject.
  • A quick time formula for making the best use of limited time.
  • How to find your thesis within the essay question.
  • How to use your personal frame of reference to develop a thesis for almost any essay question.
  • How to organize thoughts and information for maximum impact.
  • How to quickly evaluate and improve your essay.

Best of all, you will practice everything you learn by writing two timed essays during the class!

This 3.5-hour writing workshop is designed for high school and advanced middle-school students (and for parents who want to improve their own writing and evaluation skills). The workshop includes a helpful 30-page booklet full of instructions and tips for essay writing.

Here's How to Host a Beat-the-Clock Essay Workshop

Two essays in one day with no complaining? Yes, it can happen!

I have always enjoyed teaching this class because I love seeing students succeed. Writing two essays during a 3.5-hour class doesn't sound like much fun, but by the time students leave, the responses tend to be overwhelmingly positive. Students who feel they do not like writing or who have not written many essays are excited that they finally have tools and a method that works. Students who enjoy writing tend to leap wholeheartedly into the challenge, and respond with enthusiasm. It's a joy to share some of my favorite writing strategies.

Scroll down to see what workshop attendees have said about their workshop experience!


  • Local (within 50 miles of zip code 23005)
    • Students (including handbook): $40 ($5 discount for second student in a family)
    • Parents taking full workshop with student (including handbook): $30
    • Auditing parents (listening; no booklet, final Q&A): $10
    Non-Local (more than 50 miles away)
    • Students (including handbook): $50 ($5 discount for second student in a family)
    • Parents taking full workshop (including handbook): $35
    • Auditing parents (listening, final Q&A): $10
    • Plus lodging and travel if the location is over 150 miles from zip code 23005.

What to Bring:

  • Hard-backed binder, notebook, or clipboard with paper
  • #2 pencils (at least 2)
  • Watch
  • Bag lunch and drink, unless the organizer tells you differently

To schedule a seminar in your area, please see the "How to Host" page (it's very easy to host, and hosts attend at no cost!), and e-mail Support at EverydayEducation.com. 

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions on the How to Host page. Watch the newsletter or the DoingWhatMatters.com blog for news of upcoming essay workshops.

People Are Saying...

"This is one workshop that actually delivers what it promises. I'm going home with many practical tools."

"I have never had a language/writing class with a live teacher, so it was such a help to hear what I have been reading for so long from a living and breathing person. I think this class will continue to benefit me for years to come. Thank you so much. And no, I wouldn't change anything, because you finally made writing fun and interesting."

"I appreciated the realistic basis of experience you brought to the class. The material was well structured, as is the method, but your insight and specific reference the SAT, ACT, and other tests was very helpful."

"I have learned much today from your presentation. As a product of the New York School System of many years ago, I graduated high school not knowing how to write. I did not learn the basics until I was in my twenties. Now into my fifties, your presentation would have been a tremendous asset some decades ago. I know I will, and my daughter will benefit from your teachings. Thank you very much."

"I liked writing the essays. I think it will make it easier for the SAT. The bubble thing helped with getting ideas on paper. The length of the class was good too."

"Thank you so much for traveling here to serve us. I have been so blessed by it. I loved the way you taught so kindly and encouragingly. Although I do not like writing that much, I enjoyed the class."

"The concrete nature of the class was most helpful. I benefitted from the steps, the information the grading criteria, and your coaching on the writing process in general. The actual writing was very helpful."

"I enjoyed this class a LOT! It makes writing essays less intimidating. Thank you so much. Now I know how to truly write an essay."

"You are a very good teacher and really know what you're talking about. Even though I had previously taken the SAT, I did glean more information than I thought I would. Thank you so much. I think your class will help me for my next SAT."

"I found it helpful to be able ask questions and to hear other people's questions and opinions."

"Thank you so much for this workshop! As much as I love to write, I was nervous about the SAT essay. Having done this workshop, I feel better prepared. Practicing writing essays in class was great experience! All the other tips, ideas, and information were wonderful as well!"

"Even though the example 25-minute essays were intimidating, I found the practice very beneficial. The practice essays help teach how to pace the writing process and to get done within 25 minutes. Thank you!"

"You did a great job clearly laying everything out. It was very easy to understand. This was very helpful, and I really enjoyed it."

"The two most helpful aspects of the workshop were the opportunity to write the essays and to have a copy of the Beat-the-Clock Essay Handbook, which looks to be a terrific resource."  


  • Hi, Jessica — 
    We never did record it, but it’s something I’d like to do. I’ll definitely post it here if we get it done!
    Thank you for asking!
    — Janice

  • Is there a way to purchase a recording of this workshop?


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