Some time ago, we asked students to share their best writing tips. The response we received was tremendous and we gathered the 5 most popular tips and applied them to a hypothetical assignment: an essay on childhood obesity. Here are writing tips we (and our readers) feel will improve your assignment writing abilities:
- Understand the Requirements
This might seem obvious, but the simple fact is that many students fail to understand what an essay prompt is asking for – and this often leads to failing scores. For our purposes, we will imagine needing to write an argumentative essay on childhood obesity. Key terms are the subject “childhood obesity” and “an argumentative” versus terms like “a narrative” or “a descriptive” which are different types of writing assignments altogether. Underline other key terms that point you towards your goal – and whenever you doubt the meaning of something, ask your instructor right away.
- Explore a Handful of Essay Topics
Another tip you should try is exploring a handful of subject or topics that interest you before choosing the one you think will be the easiest. Consider things that captured your attention from your lectures, readings, or something you may have found online. These are great starting points for brainstorming or mind-mapping questions and potential research projects. Anything that piqued your interest is sure to lead to more dedicated and thorough research, which will subsequently lead to a more interesting read.
- Research Material at the Library
Not only should you conduct your research early, but you should focus the majority of it at the library. The library is a great place to access academic and government sources you know are credible and can be referred for their factual information, quotations, charts, graphs, and more. The internet is a useful tool to provide you with background information, but you should never rely upon it for the bulk of research. Even if you are citing information from a legitimate online resource, true academics utilize their school and public libraries.
- Start the Childhood Obesity Essay Draft
Far too many students jump into the writing process with expectations that it will be flawless. This is wishful thinking that not even professional writers can achieve on the rarest of occasions. Writing a great academic essay takes time, patience, and, most importantly, a lot of drafts. Your first draft will not be close to perfect but it is still an important phase in the craft. Focus on the body paragraphs first (this is your essay’s core and is the most important). Leave the introduction and conclusion until the end, once you know how your essay is taking shape.
- Revise Your Essay after a Few Days
If you’ve managed to plan appropriately, you should have left yourself several days before your essay is due. This means that you can take a few days off between the drafting and revising processes. Research shows that leaving your first draft aside for a few days will dramatically improve your ability to revise effectively. Revise the body paragraphs first and then move onto the childhood obesity essay introduction and conclusion. Don’t be afraid to cut out anything that does not add value to your essay. Extra words, phrases, sentences, etc. needs to go if it means your writing will be stronger. Also, look towards rearranging material or adding material when necessary.
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