College assignments require a specific set of skills, such as research, critical thinking, and excellent writing. It takes some time to adjust and to learn how to do it quickly and efficiently. No wonder so many students struggle with essays, research papers, or case studies.
But do not get discouraged – like any other skill it can be learned and bettered. If you want to make writing assignments easier for you, here are some tips to help with that.
A lot of work happens before you start to type the essay or other assignments. The better preparation is, the easier it will be to finish.
Line Up Resources
It is important to know all of the resources available for you. Those can be college libraries, online scientific databases, academic journals, etc. Will they write my research paper for me? – You might ask. No, but they will make the preparation stage faster. Make sure that you have them all bookmarked and ready to go.
Analyze the Assignment
A lot of great writers had their marks lowered because they were answering the wrong question. Or because they didn’t fulfill all the requirements. Read the assignment carefully, pay attention to all the demands listed, like the number of words, format, possible sources listed, etc. If you have any questions you can always consult with the professor.
Some students think that doing their assignment at the last moment allows them to write better. It is not true. The best way to be effective is to plan your schedule. Set a deadline in the calendar and make reminders when to start. Plan the time for research, outlining, writing, and proofreading. It is better to start at least two weeks before the actual submission date.
Save Sources and Citations
When you are reading for your assignment, create a document with all the sources and references. Copy the name and the link there as well as any citations you might include later. You can cite and reference as you go which will save you a tremendous amount of effort later. And you’ll be sure to not forget anything in the process.
Draft an Outline
Outlining helps to put your thoughts in order and make sure that your assignment is well-planned and balanced. Draft an outline with major parts and paragraphs; add keywords or arguments to the outline as well. When you know exactly what to write, there will be no staring at a blank page.
Now you’ve conducted research, gathered sources, and made a plan. It is time to get to writing.
Start in the Middle
This tip has helped lots of students. The introduction is pretty challenging to nail. It should be very straightforward yet attention-grabbing. Sometimes the stress of it stops students for quite a time. What to do? Start with the main body.
You know all the arguments and probably feel more comfortable with them. And you can always go back and complete the introduction and conclusion after, when you know exactly what the main body looks like.
One Argument At a Time
This is the main rule of being concise with your academic paper. Do not mix the arguments all in one unreadable wall of text. One paragraph should address only one argument. Then make a smooth transition and cover the next one. It helps to keep things logical and easy to comprehend.
Use Academic Style
Academic papers use a specific style of writing. It is often referred to as an essay voice. It is not “paper will talk about” but “the paper examines”. It should be more formal and neutral than speaking. Unless it is an opinion piece, try to stay away from emotional language and obvious bias.
First Draft Will Probably Suck
It is essential to accept the simple truth – first drafts almost always suck. It is fine and it doesn’t show that you are not qualified to do that. Think about it as a part of the process.
To create art, an artist may do lots of sketches and tries. So do not get upset and discouraged if your first draft is not what you’ve expected. It is a starting point and it will get better.
The conclusion is not an introduction but put differently. It has to summarize the argument and highlight the main result of academic work. Also, it may suggest further research and limitations for this one.
Proofreading usually takes as much time as writing itself. Do not skip this stage as it is crucial for completing an outstanding assignment.
Take Your Time
It is very helpful to get some time to rest after you’ve finished writing. It helps to recharge and get a clearer perspective. For some, it may take a couple of hours, for others a day. That’s why starting early is great – you’ll have more time to do things right.
Logic and Flow
Read the paper a couple of times, reading it out loud might also help. Did you answer the question? Is your argumentation logical and supported by evidence? Are the arguments clear? Is the assignment well-rounded and focused?
Grammar and Spelling
One can use such tools as Grammarly to quickly check paper for mistakes and errors. It is pretty good and saves a lot of time. But one still needs to proofread the paper manually as no software is as knowledgeable as humans when it comes to writing.
Is Formatting on Point?
And the last step is to check the formatting. Make sure you use the correct citation style and all your sources are listed in the bibliography. Check the margins, paragraphs, spacing, etc. These small details showcase your focus and professionalism.
College assignments can be challenging but there are many ways to make them easier. Make sure to plan your time and use all resources available. Put the same efforts in all three stages, research deeply, write quickly and edit relentlessly.