It’s common to receive poor grades at college simply because you struggle to write good papers. You may have a good grasp of the material but find it difficult to express yourself in writing. If this is happening to you, here are a few things you can do to improve.
1. Understand the Assignment
Before you start working on your paper, make sure you know what you’re trying to achieve. Reread the question a few times, highlighting the key words and jotting down some ideas. Check how long the assignment needs to be, whether you are restricted to using particular sources, and if there are other criteria you need to meet.
2. Introduce and Develop Your Argument
Instead of writing down everything you know about the topic, figure out what argument you want to make. Use the first paragraph to introduce the argument and subsequent paragraphs to expand on each point. Tie everything together in the conclusion — this final paragraph shouldn’t include any new information; it should just summarize what you’ve already covered.
3. Avoid Plagiarism
If you commit plagiarism, you will get caught and the consequences could be severe. Universities have sophisticated plagiarism software that reveal if you’ve copied chunks of text from another student, or even if you’ve just used the occasional sentence you found in another source. Software can also detect if you’ve made minor changes to word order or used synonyms.
Remember that it’s also plagiarism if you copy something but add a reference to the source. You should only include quotes when this is necessary for the assignment. Otherwise, put information into your own words.
4. Be Concise
Cut unnecessary adjectives, adverbs, and other filler words and think about how to make your sentences more concise. This will gain you points for style. If you’re struggling to meet the word count, adding fluff won’t help. It’s likely that you’ve neglected some important points. Go back to the assignment instructions and figure out what you’ve missed.
5. Stick to Simple Language
Your professors are not interested in your expansive vocabulary — they want to see that you understand the material and can express the ideas in your own way. A paper is no place to try out new words you’ve recently learned, unless they relate to the topic. There’s too big a risk that you’ll misuse a term, which will lead to a weaker paper.
6. Proofread Your Paper at a Later Date
Come back to your paper an hour or more after you’ve finished — it’s better still if you wait a full day. This will help you see your writing in a new light, meaning any areas for improvement and typos will be more obvious. Make sure to proofread your paper several times before you decide it’s finished. It can also help if you read it out loud to check the flow.
7. Ask for Support
If you’re still having trouble writing papers, use the academic services at your university. For instance, you may be able to receive writing support or find a tutor who can read your papers and give you tips on how to improve.
Even when you follow all the above tips, you’ll struggle to write great papers if you’re unable to focus at home. Your best course of action is to leave your on-campus housing and search for apartments for rent. North Oshawa has fully-furnished suites, designed with the student lifestyle in mind, at Foundry Simcoe. Apply now while there are still spaces available.