How Long Does it Take to Write a 3,000 Words Essay?

Writing an essay and completing it before a deadline is an important skill for any student, but even those experienced in time management might find it a challenge to consistently turn in assignments during a busy schedule. This is where it can be useful to know how long it takes to write a 3,000-word essay.

3,000 words is a common length for essay assignments at school or university, so it’s a helpful benchmark to get a sense of the expected time requirements. 

A quick Google suggests that it takes roughly an hour and a half to write 3,000 words, but an essay will take considerably longer due to the other stages involved.

How Long Does it Take to Write 3,000 Words?

The average time to write 3,000 words is around 75 minutes. This is taking into consideration that the average typing speed is approximately 40 WPM (words per minute). 

Despite this, 75 minutes should be considered the minimum, as that would require constant, uninterrupted typing and not take into account all the pauses that any writer needs.

Additionally, a 3,000-word essay will take even longer to write. After all, the entire process of writing an essay doesn’t just involve writing – there are many other steps too. 

A woman writing on a laptop. She's wearing a brown sweater and brown bangles on her wrist.

Stages of writing an essay

Breaking down the different steps to writing an essay will help you understand how long the entire process takes. Naturally, there is a lot of variation with each stage, depending on the requirements of the assignment, your familiarity with the topic, and your own strengths.

Deciding your topic

Depending on your assignment, choosing the subject of your essay can be a straightforward task, or it could take considerably longer. Either way, choosing the right topic is an important first step as it will guide your approach to the easy.

If you’re writing about something you find interesting, that will help you stay engaged throughout the writing process and ultimately help you write faster.


Researching your essay topic is of course another important step, and one that impacts the rest of the writing process. The more you research, the more familiar you’ll become with the topic, allowing you to write more confidently, freely, and therefore quickly.

The research stage, however, can take as long as you want it to take. You spend as little as half an hour on this or several hours. Being well-researched is great, but at some point you will need to start writing.


If you plan well, you will find it easier when it comes to writing. Aim to create a comprehensive outline of your essay, pinning down the focus of each and every paragraph so that you’re not impacted later on by writer’s block.


With a clear plan in place, now’s the point to start writing. Don’t worry about making a perfect first draft; focus instead on getting words on a page. You can make it better later.


Once your first draft is complete, you now need to work through it again to reshape your argument, while also making every single sentence as good as possible.

This is one of the most time-consuming stages, but it’s essential to make sure your essay is as good as possible.


Even once you’ve finalised your final draft and are content with your argument and analysis, there’s still one last step: formatting.

Depending on how much attention you paid to this in the previous steps, formatting doesn’t need to be a torturous final stage. However, it shouldn’t be overlooked as an essential aspect of your essay-writing process.

To find out more details about how to complete assignments following a clear series of steps, you can read this guide on how to write a literature essay.

Tips for speeding up your writing

It can take several hours to write a 3,000-word essay, but there are steps you can take to speed up the process.

Get rid of the blank page

Some writers suffer from “blank page paralysis”, a form of writer’s block caused by a blank, white page. To overcome this, you need to get words on the page as soon as you can.

Consider copying and pasting your plan and then writing your first draft using it as a foundation, editing each point of your outline to fit into clear sentences and paragraphs.

The minimum number of pages for 3,000 words is usually around 6, so you’ll want to get as much as possible into your Word document as a starting point to help yourself get going.

Don’t get stuck on one section

It can be tempting, if you come across a roadblock in the writing process, to get caught up on trying to get past it. However, this can take up valuable time.

Rather than deliberating what to do, switch focus to another section of the essay that you still need to write, or another stage like planning or research that could still be done.

By using a more scattershot approach to your writing, you’ll reduce the amount of time wasted and you’ll more quickly flesh out your essay. At a later point, you can come back to the part you were stuck on and hopefully have new inspiration and ideas for going forward. 

Pick a topic you’re interested in

As suggested before, writing essays is much quicker and easier if the subject matter is something you have an interest in. Get rid of the slog that comes with boring topics.

Research and plan well

If you have a clear outline and thoroughly-researched points, you will find that writing is a breeze in comparison to trying to write from scratch without any material to back you up.

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Can I write 3,000 words in 5 hours?

With an average of 40 words per minute, most people would be able to write 3,000 words in less than an hour and a half. However, this isn’t taking into consideration other factors such as time spent on research, planning, and having breaks.

How long should it take to write a 3,000-word essay?

A 3,000-word essay should take at least 5 hours to research, outline, and write, so it’s possible to be done in a day. However, depending on the topic, assignment requirements, and how thorough you want to be, it could take over 20 hours.

How much time should I allow to write a 3,000-word essay?

Ideally, you should get started writing an essay as soon as possible, even if that’s only deciding your topic and doing some light research.

You should aim to spread out your assignment over at least a week, if not longer, so that you can break it into stages. As you’ll likely have other time commitments, try to dedicate an hour minimum each day to work on your essay.

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