It happens each and every time you are assigned a paper – that feeling of dread in your stomach. You valiantly declare that you’ll start and finish it early this time, but once again, you’ve just kept putting it off. Maybe, that’s because you don’t feel 100% confident that you can answer the question: “How do I write an assignment?”
But, you really can! Here are 10 tips to help you knock out that dreading writing assignment with ease.
- Organize your time into manageable chunks. Your motivation and your writing will improve if you schedule short blocks of time over a long period instead of sitting down and trying to churn it out in one crushing all-nighter. So plan ahead.
- Get clarity on the question or prompt. What exactly is the question asking? What is the assignment? Sometimes a question can have more than one part. Keep these in mind when you write.
- Find the right evidence. Use quality sources and search for evidence that is specifically related to the question or prompt. Start by using the references that your professor gave you, as these will be the most reliable. These can also point you in the direction of other quality sources for your topic.
- Create a structure. Create an outline before you begin writing. Structure your paper with an introduction, 3-5 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Like a roadmap, it will keep you focused on your destination.
- List references as you go. You will save a ton of time if you carry out this step as you’re working; you can avoid backtracking later. List them on notecards or use an online tool like EasyBib to create references for you. Pay attention to the citation format that your instructor has required.
- Write an introduction. Your intro is critical because your reading audience will make up its mind about your paper within the first paragraph. Provide context to your main point or argument. Make them understand why they should want to read it.
- Create well-organized paragraphs that flow. Follow your outline to ensure that each point backs up your thesis and that each paragraph is cohesive. Use transition words and phrases such as “in the first place,” “in contrast,” and “in other words” to make your writing flow smoothly from one point to the next.
- Write a conclusion. Here you draw conclusions about your evidence and your thesis. Try to make it memorable. Your first impression gets their attention, but your last impression is what stays with them.
- Take a break. After finishing your first draft, take a nap or go out with friends so you can come back and look at your essay again with fresh eyes. It’s difficult to view your paper objectively when you’ve been immersed in it for a long time.
- Proofread and edit thoroughly. Even if you wrote the best history paper, just one glaring spelling error or grammar mistake can ruin everything. Don’t let your hard work go to waste. Take the time for careful proofreading.
Follow these 10 steps, and you will be able to hand in a masterpiece that anyone can be proud of.