Aim to Perfect Writing: Don’t Let Things Spoil Your Essay
I have seen essays with perfect content, but horrible spelling, grammar, and construction. And then I have seen essays with perfect spelling, formatting, and grammar, yet horrible content. Having a checklist will help to keep your papers looking perfect in all areas: content, structure, grammar, and spelling. Use our list for assistance:
Baby steps-with any paper, the best approach is to break down the jobs. Work within baby steps and treat each step carefully. If you try to look at the whole paper, you could get overwhelmed. You could break it down into:
- The thesis statement
- The main points
- The outline
- The rough draft
- The final draft
- The reference page
Format-know the format of the paper that you are writing. You do not have to memorize the APA or the MLA instructions, but what you do need to do is to either have a handbook with all the format rules in it or have electronic pages bookmarked for easy reference as you work. Doing this before you have an essay due will save you hours of search time.
Outlines-a well-written outline can also save you time. Some teachers require you to have an outline. A word document will help you to properly format the outline. If the teacher does require one, it will either be a sentence outline or a topic outline. In the topic outline there are no complete sentences unless it is the thesis statement or it is a quote. Some teachers will even limit the words you can use to 3-5 words. The sentence outline might be easier to make because you can have as many sentences as you want to have in it. Always find out if the outline has to be submitted to he teacher as well as the paper. You will find samples of both styles online.
Schedules-always make a schedule for a paper. Use a large desk calendar and write down every single step. I like to start from the due date and work backwards to the date assigned. I always build in buffer dates for things like Internet crashes and out of ink printers. A schedule is a big key to a successful paper. A perfect paper is not much good to a student if it is submitted late.
Slang and informal language- a formal paper should not have slang words or contractions in it at all. The only time this rules differs if you are given a creative writing task or a narrative style piece. Other than that, you must always remember that your audience is an academic one.