If you have a long paper that is due at the end of the semester, the best time to start it is now! Instead of waiting to the last week (or even day!) to write an eight page paper or more, follow these helpful tips to ensure that you can pass in your best work without feeling the stress.
- Start Now, Baby Steps. You don’t have to start on a full paper now so no worries. At this time, start to draft an outline. What is your thesis? What are the main points you want you want to discuss? If you need resources, start looking at the online library data base on EBSCOhost. Carefully examine the guidelines and if you are unclear or unsure about anything, ask your professor! Free write a little if you want which means just jotting down whatever comes to mind, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Draft, Draft, Draft. By this time, you should start drafting a thesis or an opening statement. Use resources that you read and picked information from to give more detail to main points, and so on. Remember it doesn’t have to be prefect, you should go through two or three drafts. Maybe you want to include more points, take some out that are not necessary, rearrange information to make the paper flow, making sure that your audience can understand it. Later drafts will be about the finer detail. Grammar, spelling errors, sentence flow, and more.
- Fine Tune It. It is now nearing the due date, you have gone through several drafts and are feeling confident. Look at your requirements to see if you have met them. Did you format it right? Cite any possible sources? Maybe have your friends look at it to see if they can catch any errors. Print it out yourself and read it out loud which makes it easier to see errors and hearing your own voice helps you catch anything that might sound off. Remember to read it out loud and at a slow pace, not rushing over it.
This process is done over a months time for a few hours a week, make a schedule to sit down and focus your attention on it. Here are a few resources and small tips to help more:
- Don’t stress over length, write everything that you have to say first and then look at it. Worrying over this may effect the quality of the paper.
- Work in a calm, quite environment with no distractions.
- Visit the Writing Center in room 113 of the library: they can help you at any stage of writing and make you a better writer! Call 978.542.6491 or walk into the Writing Center to make an appointment. Schedule ahead because it can be booked fast!
- Great academic search engine for articles: EBSCOhost, go to the library and ask a librarian for more information of how to use it effectively.
- Guidelines for writing and helpful writing resources: Purdue OWL
Good luck on your papers!