Learning to write a good essay is a skill that will serve you all through your time in school, whether it is high school, college, or even grad school. You will probably end up writing hundreds of papers during this time, so learning to write them well once will help you throughout all of them. Luckily, there are a few simple tips that you can use to learn to write well and get a good grade. Here are 8 tips to get you started:
If you don’t choose a good topic you’ll be at a disadvantage for the whole writing process. There are several characteristics of a good paper topic: it is interesting, it is relevant, and there are adequate sources about it.
Once you have picked a topic you may need to either make it narrower or broader to fit the length and depth of the paper.
In addition to picking a topic you also need to decide what you want to say about it. Your thesis statement is a one sentence summary of the argument or the point you want to make with your paper.
This means using lots of different sources to try to find information on your topic as well as related topics.
Most students don't give outlining their paper enough attention because they think it is a waste of time. But organizing your notes into a detailed outline may take an hour or so to do, but it can save you several hours of floundering in the writing process.
A good paper should both directly quote the sources, and summarize what they are saying. When you do use a direct quote, be sure to explain it too.
Sometimes after finishing writing it may make sense to reorder your paper to make a stronger argument. Don’t be afraid to do this!
If you have time, try to put your paper away for a day then come back to proofread it. This distance can help you to see typos and problems with your writing that you can’t see when you’ve been writing for hours.
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