Now that the school year is in full swing, chances are good that you have realized at least one thing–that, over the summer, you somehow managed to completely forget how to write any kind of school-related paper.
Or, at least, this is what I would always find had happened to me at the beginning of every year when I was in school. No matter what I had learned during the previous school year, and no matter what grades I got on the papers I wrote last semester, every essay-writing skills I had ever honed in my life seemed to have evaporated over the summer. Perhaps you can relate? If so, you will be comforted to know that, a lot of the time, all you need to re-learn your essay-writing skills is a quick refresher lesson. And, fortunately, there are a lot of good refreshers on the internet. (Seriously.) So, check out these tips that will help you get A’s on any paper you write for the rest of the year:
1. Know how to structure your essay:
Different things work for different people (and different classes), but this is a pretty good primer on how to format most standard essays.
2. Know how to take an essay from “informal” to “formal:”
Some of your teachers might be okay with you having a more colloquial voice in your papers, but most will not. Try these tips for kicking your formality up a notch if you’re worried about being too casual.
3. Know how to reduce the stress of writing essays:
Most people think of the essay-writing process as an automatically stressful process. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Follow these steps to make any essay you write infinitely less stressful.
4. Use your words like a boss:
Knowing about certain words that teachers tend to like is a great way to boost your essay. Just make sure you aren’t inserting random words in there just because you think they look impressive–you have to know how to use them in order for them to be effective.
5. Use synonyms well:
Do you feel like you’re repeating certain words and terms a lot? Use synonyms! Don’t get too out there–the word still has to make sense in the context that you’re using it–but it can be a good way to make your paper seem a lot more interesting.
6. Especially when it comes to the word “very:”
Teachers generally tend to hate this word–here are some good alternatives!
7. Be careful of how you use the word “says:”
Usually, “says” or “said” is all you need. But, just in case you feel like you need something more interesting, here are some good options.
8. Know how to introduce a comparative essay:
First impressions are important! (This is true in essays for school and in life.) So, you should know how to write an amazing intro–this one is for comparative essays.
9. Know your transition words:
Transitions are also important! These are some excellent words to keep in mind to keep your transitions smooth and seamless.
10. Like really know your transition words:
There are so many words and phrases to use that there’s really no excuse not to make each part of your essay have the smoothest, easiest transition that there could be.
11. Change your perspective:
If you get panicked at the mere concept of writing an essay, just take a deep breath and switch your perspective around a little. Once you do so, you’ll probably come up with a better, more creative essay than you would have been able to otherwise.
12. Don’t rely on the word “but:”
There are many, many other words you can use. Switch it up!
13. Know the difference between revising and editing:
Before you turn in your essay, you’ll need to do both, but they’re slightly different–basically, revising is when you check the flow and structure of the piece, and editing is when you check and see if there are any misspellings or grammar errors to fix.
14. Use this checklist before you turn anything in:
You should supplement this with whatever rubric or syllabus your teacher gave you, but these are some pretty vital things you’ll have to check on for pretty much any paper you’ll have this year. It can’t hurt to print this one out and keep a few copies on hand so you have something to physically check off every time you write an essay.
15. And, of course, keep this in mind every time you write your conclusion:
I can’t imagine that it’s failed anyone before.
Do you have any advice for writing papers? What are they? Let us know in the comments!