How do you write the perfect paper that gets you the grades you want? Whether it’s an essay, thesis, or dissertation, if you want to write like a pro (and get the grades to prove it), you need to learn how to create the perfect paper. Here are some guidelines for how to write your next paper:
Whether you’re writing a paper on Annette Funicello or objectivism, take some time before you start your research to read through and plan out your paper. This will give you more structure, which will make writing your essay easier and quicker. If necessary, come up with an outline, drawing from class materials. Organizing your thoughts beforehand will also help ensure that you hit all of your major points before closing out each section. You don’t want any big ideas left hanging at the end!
Most academic writing falls into one of two categories. Informal research includes things like email, memos, journals, and class notes. Formal research uses more formal formats such as term papers, lab reports, presentations, and even dissertations. In general, formal research requires that you follow specific guidelines (such as APA or MLA style) when citing sources and formatting citations. To do well in school, you’ll need to know how to do both types of research.
Do you need more than a simple definition for your paper? If so, take time to conduct informal research. This can be in person or online, but try and find real-world examples of things you’re trying to define. In other words, don’t look up what an en dash is (or any other form of punctuation) on Wikipedia—that should be covered in class or during assigned readings! Instead, look at how it’s used by different sources.
Write Multiple Drafts
One of my favorite pieces of advice I received was to write multiple drafts. When I asked what that meant, my professor explained that when writing an essay or research paper, you should write multiple drafts. The first draft is usually pretty bad, but it helps you figure out what your thesis is and how you want to present your ideas. If done well, revising becomes much easier as you learn which parts of your paper need attention.
By drafting your paper, you can focus on individual sections rather than having to rewrite large portions at once. Also remember to edit carefully; most people don’t proofread their work enough. Editing yourself and getting feedback from others will ensure that everything in your paper flows together nicely.
Review and Edit
When you’re ready to present your paper, ask your teacher or professor if they would be willing to review and edit it before you submit it. Your writing is sure to improve with their feedback, and they may even be able to offer further insight into how you can better support your argument.
If you’re given extra time at all during class time or office hours, utilize that opportunity as well! It could provide an additional resource of input on how best to improve your paper. And, who knows? They might even let you know about any grammatical errors right away—saving you some last-minute anxiety. Plus, if they don’t have time to review your work right away, you can always send them a copy once it’s completed.
The important thing is that when you are submitting something (especially something long), make sure someone else looks over it first. And never forget to proofread or hand over to an essay writer to help you!
Keep It Fresh Over Time
To keep your papers interesting over time, consider cross-linking them with each other. This will create a logical flow of information throughout your paper that’s engaging and easy to follow. If you mention something in one paper, it can show up again in another in subtle ways that give readers little rewards along their reading journey. Cross-linking can be done subtly—and if done well, readers won’t even realize it’s happening.
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