(Borrowed from insanecats.com)

  1. Choose a topic that is as distant from your subject as you can get. If your TA knows less abou it, it will take less to impress them. In this case, since I have to write an essay on Mesopotamia, I'm doing Babylonian mathematics.
  2. Look up on google the keywords of your topic plus 'edu'. This way, you'll get a huge group of sources with domain names .edu . What's the advantage? You're almost guarenteed that they will be journals, articles, and other published information or things written by quotable sources.
  3. Record and print. Copy down every single URL that seems related even distantly (or save in some kind of Bookmarks folder) and print the entire webpages on scrap paper. If you found enough information, you should be printing between 30 and 50 pages.
  4. Read and star. Read everything you printed, and draw big pink stars (yes, they have to be big pink stars, because if you're me, that's the only kind of marker you can find in your messy, messy room) next to any paragraph that you can use in your topic. This also includes pictures and diagrams you want to use. About one third to one quarter of every page should be starred, for appropriate ratios.
  5. Cut. Cut out everything that you starred during the previous step. This can be done (and is recommended to be done) while listening to the Simpsons on in the background.
  6. Pre-footnoterize. On the back of every scrap of paper that you cut out, write a number corresponding to the webpage that you got it from.
  7. Sort and divide. By now you should have an idea of a few main topics. For example, I had 'zero', 'the number system', 'why base 60?', 'problem solving', 'pi, e, square roots and other new math concepts'. Go through each scrap of paper and put it in the appropriate pile.
  8. Order. Choose one pile. Then lay out all of the bits of paper for that pile and put them in an order that makes sense. Repeat for all the rest of the piles.
  9. Type and paraphrase. Don't copy what each piece of paper says, but rather write it in your own words, occationally adding sentences in order to make the various pieces of paper flow better together.
  10. Introduction and conclusion. These are the easiest things to write. For history papers, your thesis will be: my topic played an important part in influencing relevant time frame.
  11. Footnote. This should be one of the easiest task since cutting. Since all of your pieces of paper have the relevant sources on the back, just flip everything over and footnote accordingly.

Ta-da! Instant essay!