Let’s take it section by section, one directive at a time. Go through and find the concepts the prof wants you to cover in the paper. Lord love ‘em, but professors are notorious for giving more information than necessary or saying more than what needs saying, so do your best to boil the assignment down to the essentials with your highlighter: Take note, these macro concepts are often suggestions, not commands. These are the items that must be included in the paper for you to get a good grade.
They are the prof telling you how to be impressive, clear, or to raise your grade through a demonstration of your wits and knowledge. Usually they are very specific: Clearly, if your paper uses first-person pronouns, it will irk the person giving you the grade—probably best to stay away from that.
All this should take you no more than 10 or 15 minutes.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but using time to get organized saves you time later, and makes the writing process so much simpler.
Take a look at this assignment from an actual college professor: Yow!
Even with bullets and commands that’s a lot of text.
Focus on Development and Body Paragraphs for your other two.
They’re simple—almost completely made of a thesis statement and transitions.
Make a list of three strengths and weaknesses you have as a writer.
Be mindful of the pitfalls and confident about your high points.