Friday, October 25, 2013

5 Things You Should Know to Make Your Paper Stand Out

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)
by Jane Dabad

You are probably reading this because the deadline for writing a paper on whatever topic your professor assigned is coming up fast.

 Fear not, dear student! Read and take these simple tips to heart and you'll be out of your misery in no time.

Sweat it!

That's right. If you want a remarkable grade on that paper then you should be willing to work for it. Writing a paper is not some magic spell or a twitter update that you could write in five seconds flat.

It actually needs to be written, rewritten, and rewritten, and perhaps rewritten again, then do your final-checking for typos before you submit it if you want a mark that you could be proud of.

Face it, nothing good comes from half-assed work. So if you really want that sweet "A" on your paper, set your mind to give it the best that you could.

What YOU think matters most

One thing that professors look for is your own voice.

When writing a paper, do not just jot down the fact after fact such as "according to Mr. Famous Philosopher ..." or "Genius Scientist's theory states ..." as you are assigned to make a list of what famous people say, unless that really is the writing assignment.

Do not even paraphrase or try to copy their tried-and-tested styles. Use quotations sparingly. What matters most when writing a paper, even if it's not for academic purposes, but life in general is, expressing your ideas.

Come on, there must be a lot of things running inside your head that you're just too shy to share. Now is the time to let that out; not only will your ideas be given serious attention, you may also get valuable feedback.

If you could impress and/or make your professor think hard because of the ultra-unique way your mind works, the better!

Don't edit on your first draft

That is pretty self-explanatory. No one would likely see your first draft so don't write like you believe eyes are watching you on this part of writing a paper. Just let your ideas flow as honestly as you could.

Rewrite and simplify

Our first drafts tend to be the messy, beat-around-the-bush kind of work since we're just doing our best to get those ideas on paper fast before they vanish into thin air.

Now that you've let it all out, start reading through your paper and identify the parts that are: 1. Redundant; 2. Too wordy - this means not only using too many words when you could just use one, but also using big words ("paradigm") instead of simple ones ("example"); 3. Twisting and turning and make readers confused about what it is you really want to say.

Fix all of these. Remember, writing is communication - effective communication only happens when there is understanding - understanding comes from clear and direct expression. In short, simplify.


Don't even try to skip this part. Have you ever submitted a paper feeling so confident about its excellent content only to discover your professor's corrections about the wrong use of your its and it's, they're and their, or worse that you've misspelled your own professor's name?

Yes, proofread, proofread, and proofread you must.

Let these 5 simple tips guide you in writing a paper and you just might be your class' next superstar. Enjoy!

For tips to help you write a great college paper, check out these guides: The Insider's Guide to Writing an A+ Paper and Secret Tips for Writing a Great Paper.

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