Throughout your academic career, you’re going to be faced with a variety of assignments. However, probably the most assignment you’ll encounter most often – and especially in college – is writing a paper. Writing and communication skills are critical for academic success. Since you’ll likely be writing papers throughout your high school and college careers, the sooner you establish a routine and good habits, the better off you’ll be.
- Start with what you know. One tip is to just begin writing. Without doing any kind of research or preparation, sit down and see what you can write based on your own preexisting knowledge. This technique helps you identify what areas you are strong in and what areas need more work or research. This may also help you find a starting point and start to create an outline for your paper.
- Create an outline. Once you’ve figured out what you know, take some time to try and plan a structure for your paper. Quickly jot down all the points you want to hit and arrange them in a way that makes sense. This will help keep you focused while you’re writing and allow you to transition between thoughts more easily.
- Take breaks. Give yourself the chance to get up and step away from the paper every once in a while. Some people can sit down and finish an entire paper at once, but it can often be beneficial to allow yourself a break and clear your head for a few minutes. You may come back with a new perspective on the topic.
- Proofread. Once your paper is finished and you’ve stepped away for a little while to clear your head once more, go back to your paper and proofread it this time. You should be looking to make sure that both the larger ideas, phrasing, transitions and so on make sense. And you should also be looking for smaller details – spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Ask for another set of eyes. Ask a friend or family member if they will look over your paper for you. It’s easy to miss mistakes when you’ve been staring at the same paper for so long. A fresh pair of eyes may catch something you’ve been missing all along.
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