For most students, academic assignments are truly burdening. They don’t know how to approach the entire process and after all efforts they make, they don’t achieve the desired results.
The problem is that professors fail to explain exactly how the students can improve their academic writing skills. The students are left on their own to experiment with different techniques, and commit themselves to an ongoing practice.
Do you want to make that practice easier and more effective? We’ll tell you what techniques to implement in order to boost your assignment writing skills.
Start by Reading
If you want to write a great essay, you first need to understand what a good essay looks like. You may start reading samples of professionally written essays found online. This content has been written by professional writers, who follow the rules of academic writing while maintaining high levels of uniqueness.
When you read an essay, observe its parts. A 5-paragraph paper is usually consisted out of these sections:
- Three body paragraphs
How did the writer cover all these sections? Can you immediately recognize the thesis statement? How persuasive was the essay and what would you do to improve it further?
As you keep reading more essays, you’ll realize what works and what doesn’t work. You’ll notice the most powerful aspects that convince you to believe a writer’s idea. In other words, you’ll get inspired.
Always Make Outlines
Yes; the outline will take some time to complete, but it will actually save you time on the overall process.
Through the outline, you plan what you’re going to write in each section of the paper. You may even use a table, so you’ll clarify the main points in brief notes. For example, let’s say you’re writing an essay on a topic The Modern State of Police Brutality. Here’s what the outline would look like:
- Background: what is police misconduct and police brutality?
- The term police brutality first appeared in the Chicago Tribune, in 1872.
- Thesis statement: although police brutality is illegal, the gaps in law still allow it to exist.
2) 1st Body Paragraph:
- Argument: There are laws that prevent police brutality.
- Reference them, explain what they mean.
3) 2nd Body Paragraph
- List few latest cases on police brutality that show that it exists despite the laws that are supposed to prevent it.
4) 3rd Body Paragraph
- Argument: Discuss the gaps in law that cause these situations.
- Restate the thesis statement. What could improve the situation?
Such an outline won’t take much time. You’ll get it ready in half an hour. It will keep your arguments focused and on point.
Do Your Research!
Great academic writing is based on research, research, and more research. Let’s take the same example from above. If you say there’s police brutality in your country, your professor won’t take your word for it. They will want to see evidence. They will want to see sources from newspapers and other types of publications that prove such occurrences. When you say there are laws that prevent police brutality, you’ll have to name and reference those laws. Moreover, you’ll need to mention the specific lines that are relevant to your point.
Always do your research. Whatever your arguments are, you’ll need to support them with relevant and reliable resources. Always make sure that your resources are up to date.
Don’t use Wikipedia or other pages that would appear in the first page of Google results. Google Scholar is a better search engine to use for your academic papers. It leads you to academic and scientific publications that make the research process meaningful.
Use Clear Vocabulary
When you want to sound more intellectual, the usual solution is to use “big” words. Instead of saying use, you’ll say utilize. Instead of saying understand, you’ll say comprehend. Moreover, you’ll open Thesaurus, you’ll check out the word of the day, and you’ll find a way to fit it in your paper.
That’s not a good thing to do.
It’s okay to use words that you didn’t know after you found out what they meant. However, it’s not okay to replace words with big terms just because they sound more intellectual. There’s an important rule to remember: when there’s a simple word for something, use it.
Academic writing, although advanced, should still be understandable for an average reader. You don’t want your professor to use a dictionary just to get your point, do you?
Do Your Editing
This is the easiest stage to skip. You feel like you’ve done a lot of work and your paper is already written. You’ll run through it to catch some basic mistakes and you’ll just send it to your professor.
Don’t do that! The editing stage is extremely important, since it ensures proper grammar, style, and punctuation. No matter how careful you were while writing, you might have made few mistakes that would ruin the overall impression.
You may rely on your word processor’s grammar checking tool to identify some of the mistakes, but keep this in mind: software cannot replace the human mind. You may even use Grammarly or another additional tool. Even that won’t be enough.
You’ll have to carefully read the paper, word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. You’ll get rid of unnecessary phrases and sentences, and you’ll add information where needed. No software will cover that aspect of editing. Finally, you’ll focus on proofreading and you’ll make sure everything is spelled correctly.
Assignment writing is not easy, but you can make it easier if you practice enough. The five above-listed techniques are a great place to start. Now that you know what to do, you only need to invest the effort. Are you willing to do that?