General Advice on Academic Writing
Let’s face it. There’s no more difficult task than trying to approach academic writing. Teachers are expecting you to internalize a vast amount of information, analyze it, think critically on it, and then produce a thoughtful insightful piece. This is simple too much to ask – even from Einstein-level students! Academic writing can be a real chore if you don’t have the previous behaviors and methods to approach it. Luckily, there are a few general ways in which students can overcome academic writing.
Know what you’re writing about.
This is perhaps the most obvious, and yet least followed piece of advice out there. The hard truth is that students either don’t pay full attention when learning; teachers go too fast with their lessons, or it’s simply a difficult concept or course to comprehend. Whatever the reason, students need to ensure they understand the material before they start writing on it. This could include rereading, visualizing, gaining explanations from a teacher, researching the topic further, etc. If you understand what you’re writing about, you’re far more likely to write competently.
Have a plan.
The best writers aren’t the ones with the flashy vocabulary. They’re the ones that organize and plan ahead, before diving straight in to the text. This main seem like a tedious step, but it will save you time in the long run by outlining your essay for you. Use an outline format, essay map or other technique to plan the content of your essay. What are your major points? What is your supporting material, and which major points should it go with? What should come first in your body paragraph? Developing an outline will help you answer these questions while mapping out your essay beforehand.
Edit and proofread.
This is another step that many students want to avoid. They’ve already spent hours upon hours tackling this difficult essay writing – why would they want to go back and read it all over again? The answer is simple: editing and proofreading improve essays. It helps you catch tiny mistakes – such as errors in verb tense – while also highlighting large problems, like unclear ideas, cluttered paragraphs or inconsistent/unclear communication. Edit and proof, and you’ll better ensure your essay is top quality!
Panic is the enemy. Panic clouds the minds and causes students to become even more fervently avoidant of essays. Don’t panic – the essay will get done, and you’ll be fine. Try cutting the stress and worry out of your life, and you’ll find yourself better able to complete any assignment, regardless of length or difficulty. If necessary, enjoy a relaxing activity or do some yoga before writing. Anything you can do to stay calm and at ease while writing, will help you in the long run.