During your later years in high school, and almost all through college, writing papers seems to be one of the main issues for students nowadays. Regardless on what part of the writing process (assuming they follow one), hard times come, sooner or later. However, even if English was not your strongest subject, there are simple things you can try and apply to your papers to help you improve the overall outcome of it. Here are some writing tips for your papers and academic writing assignments for high school or college.
Before starting to write, know what are you going to write
There are a lot of different types of papers you may have to turn in, and each of them has their own characteristics and special qualities. For example, essays, especially in Academic Writing, tend to follow a typical structure of one introductory paragraph, three to five body paragraphs, and one conclusory paragraph, and regardless of the type of essay, each of these follow some general guidelines. Articles are meant to inform your readers about a topic, not to make them adopt any particular posture on that topic, unlike essays. Reports usually contain lots of statistical information, detailed explanation about procedures, and such. Before writing anything, take time to know what are you writing, and what that type of paper usually has.
Do your proper research
After you know how you should write your paper, you must know your topic: what are you going to talk about. Usually not for reports but for other Academic Writing papers, you need to select a topic. Take your time to look up for different topics appropriate for the particular type of paper you are submitting. Additionally, it is a very good idea not to look up for only one topic: do a brief research of several topics, check what can you talk about each of them, and how comfortable you feel with each, in order for you to select the best topic for the paper and for yourself.
Next, knowing how that particular paper needs to be written (what structure it will have), research a bit more, now keeping in mind what will you add and what will you not add, so you can distill the information properly, leaving out boring or irrelevant facts, and sticking with more important information.
Start in the middle
Most papers you have to turn in have an introduction and a conclusion. However, it is not the best idea to begin with those. The core of any Academic Writing paper are the body paragraphs, so put most of your dedication and strength into getting your point across with your body paragraphs first. Besides, knowing what your body paragraphs look like will give you a better idea of how your introduction should go. Just always keep in mind how each type of paragraph should look.
Don't be afraid of writing crap
Even professional writers write crappy paragraphs all the time. Don't feel bad if you do, too! That's perfectly normal. There is nothing wrong with sentences that make no sense, or with the lack of usage of transition words, as long as you don't turn those in. Always keep in mind that whatever you write must undergo a revision process: an honest, sincere, critical, non-biased revision process. Therefore, give yourself the freedom of writing cheap sentences, remembering you will come back to those later and fix them before turning the whole paper in.
Research, but don't copy
One thing is to look for sources about a topic that you are not too good at, but it is a completely different thing to use the words of whoever you researched from and not give them credit for their work. Citing is a very important part of any writing process, especially in Academic Writing. You can paraphrase, you can cite, or you can make explicit mention of what they say by mixing it in your paragraph with the proper mention of the author, but you should never use their exact words without giving them credit. Plagiarism is a whole topic on its own, which I plan on covering in proper time.
Start your Research and Writing ahead of time
Don't use the excuse of "Don't do today what you can do tomorrow". The writing process is complex, and takes time. The more time you put into it, whether on the research, the writing process, or the revision process, the better your paper will end up looking. If you have a deadline, don't sit and wait for it to come: start ahead and do it properly.
There are no stupid questions: just stupid people who don't ask. It won't make you look dumber. Asking will show your teacher you are interested in producing a compelling work, and that you are taking the time to follow the guidelines. Whenever you have a doubt, or you might want any kind of suggestion, feel free to ask your professor. You may even obtain more information than what you were initially looking for.
There is nothing too bad that cannot be fixed, nor nothing too good that cannot be improved. You only need to take the time and put in the effort for making it happen. I hope these tips help you with future papers. If you liked them, make sure to like the post and share it with your friends. Thanks for all the support. Always be the best version of yourself!