Essay Writing Guidelines

Not having taken a prep course with a instructor to provide guidance on essay writing, I’m a bit unclear on the minimum amount we need to write/include to get full credit on the essays. The guideline answers for old AM questions are of course very detailed, which wastes a lot of time if we don’t need to write that much.

I know we can use short phrases and bullet points, but other than that, are there other things we can skimp on to get full credit? Any guidance on what kinds of things need to be more fully explained/expanded on vs just stating the answer (even when it says explain)? Can we assume that if we mention a concept we don’t need to explain what that concept means? I’m also a bit nervous on using abbreviations, and if you’re showing calculations for an answer it wastes time to have to write out everything.

Any guidance at all from people that have taken the test before or have talked to an experienced instructor would be appreciated.