How long does it take to write a 5-page paper?

How long it takes to write a 5-page paper (or any specific page count that you are aiming for) depends on several factors, including your writing process, style of writing, the time taken to research the topic, essay topic / given topic, the font type, number of body paragraphs, how much information you need to cover (does it require extensive research  or is it more of a common assignment that is minor), research materials, research methods and so forth. 

The important part is not necessarily how much time that is needed but rather whether nor not you are able to present a good idea, with a solid conclusion that answers the topic that you are adressing in an effective way.

Average time for writing a 5-page paper

If we assume that one page has roughly 500 words, then a 5-page paper should require 2,500 words. From experience, in order to write about 2,500 words in an effective way, you would need about 4-8 days (between 625/words per day at the most, and 313 words/day if you are spacing it out over 8 days).

Words per day How long to write 5 pages?
est. 313 words about 8 days
est. 500 words about 5 days
est. 625 words about 4 days

Regardless of whether your paper needs to cover a lot of information or if not, it is always a good idea to write over an extended period of time instead of writing everything at one go. This usually ensures a higher quality for your paper. 

Students undergoing academic programs at various higher institutions all over the world may occasionally be tasked to prepare 5-page papers. These 5-page papers may not be as long as projects and theses but they require no less attention. Students who assume that 5 pages are too few to attract serious concern can end up struggling to produce quality work.  

Before estimating how long it takes to write a 5-page paper, it is necessary to first estimate the number of words a typical 5-page paper will contain.  But coming up with both estimates involves a complex mix of factors.

Factors that can affect the number of words in a 5-page paper 

  • Writing/typing speed
  • Paper format 
  • Font size
  • Spacing
  • Paragraphing
  • Use of images/illustrations

How many words are in a 5-page paper?

As noted above, a number of variables can determine the word length in a 5-page paper. Previously we said that one page is about 500 words. However, different combinations of these variables will lead to different word lengths. For instance, a combination of times new roman font size 12 and single line spacing with about 6 paragraphs of not more than 5 sentences each (all on A4 paper) will contain around 570 words or thereabout. So 570 x 5 = 2850 words.   

Factors that can affect how long it takes to write a 5-page paper

The nature of the paper

Though no academic discipline or course can be described as easy, still, there are courses that are clearly more tasking or tedious than others. An assignment in physics, engineering, or math can be a lot more demanding than summarizing a book chapter in literature, or writing an essay for an English language class, for example. While the latter can take you a few hours or even minutes to complete, any of the former can take several hours or even days to tackle successfully.   

Also, academic papers sometimes come with strict formal guidelines the student must comply with. For instance, many academic papers require the student to include citations in the main body of the paper and references at the end of it. This implies that a student facing such conditions will have to conduct significant research for appropriate sources to cite in his or her paper. Such research can end up being more time-consuming than a paper that does not require citations and references. 

Similarly, the student may also be asked to use one of the several style guides (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and others). Each of these guides has its own rules on several aspects of writing (punctuation, quotation, capitalization, citation, referencing, etc). Observing all these rules can affect how long it takes to write a 5-page paper.  

The proficiency of the writer

The ability to continuously knit words together to make chronological and logical sense varies from individual to individual. While some students have worked hard to improve their writing skills and become wordsmiths, others tend to struggle to put even one paragraph together.

For those that have developed a high level of proficiency in English (or whatever language they are writing with), a 5-page paper is just another exciting exercise that shouldn’t take much time immediately research is concluded. For the other group, it is yet another nightmare that will take days to get over (some will eventually outsource their assignments to any of the proficient students at a cost).

The writer’s time management skills

Apart from their studies, all students need to allocate time to several areas of life that also require attention. This means that a student must be a very efficient manager of time if he or she intends to achieve academic excellence and still cope effectively with other facets of life such as family, religion, work, etc.

One way to manage time efficiently is to construct a schedule for your daily activities and ensure you religiously comply with it. This will help ensure minimal conflicts between time for academic and non-academic activities. If you still find time management difficult after creating a schedule, be sure to seek advice from professionals in the field. The internet and time management books will also be very helpful. 

The writing format

Format here has to do with whether the 5-page paper has to be written manually in an exercise book or typewritten. At the post-graduate level, the norm is usually to type all papers meant to be submitted albeit there may be instances where students are allowed to submit manually written papers.  Therefore, how long it takes to write a 5-page paper can vary between an exercise book (say foolscap sheets) and a standard typing sheet such as A4 since both are not of the same size.

Deadline for submission

It is usually the case for professors and other lecturers to assign specific deadlines for assignments such as a 5-page paper. The longer the deadline the more time it takes for most students to turn in their papers. This is especially the case for papers whose topics are not easy to cope with. Short deadlines can lead to hastily written papers that may not yield the best in terms of quality.

Tips for writing an excellent 5-page paper

  • Construct a time management schedule
  • Develop genuine interest in the topic
  • Conduct in-depth research
  • Adhere to all formal instructions
  • Avoid distractions
  • Construct an outline for the paper
  • Edit edit edit!

So how long will it take to write a 5-page paper?

Considering the factors highlighted above, it becomes a difficult task to say exactly how long it will take to write a 5-page paper due to the complexity of the matter. It is due to this complexity that most institutions and instructors will clearly specify their desired font size, spacing, citation/reference format, etc to make things clearer for students.

However, any student that is very serious about his or her studies should endeavor to complete a 5-page paper between 48 to 72 hours. If you have the luxury of a long deadline, you can delay submission and edit painstakingly for a few more days in a bid to make the paper as robust as possible. 

Finally, remember to take a short break every now and then from writing if you feel overwhelmed. Also make sure that you are using reliable sources that are authoritative in your space. The fastest way to write a paper is to start writing today! Try to write at least 300 words per day if possible. Try to avoid information overload by remembering that the first version of your short paper is a rough draft , and you can always improve it later on,