If you've spent a ton of time (or even if you haven't) prepping and writing a paper and the clock is ticking to turn it in -- take a final few minutes to go through this list of techniques to boost your grade from a 'C' to a 'B', or even a 'B' to an 'A.' Pro tip? Don't be this guy.
Omit needless words.
The assignment probably has a page minimum, but drawing out your writing makes it painfully verbose and leads to a lower grade. Pluck words that don't add value or context.
If you can write a sentence in five words rather than 10, by all means, tighten it up.
Print and read your paper out loud. Seriously, this is the best trick. Bonus: the break will reset your brain and allow you to hear your mistakes. If a friend is around, ask them to read the paper out loud. You will be amazed at the typos and messy sentences you catch this way versus reading it silently on the screen.
"When you catch an adjective, kill it," said Mark Twain
. Adjectives weaken writing, especially words like "revolutionary" and "groundbreaking." That's hyperbole and it sounds insincere.
Use strong verbs. Verbs inject energy and description. Compare "I did the assignment" to "I tackled the assignment." "Tackled" communicates a challenge you overcame. "Did" provides no insight.
Headstorm. Brainstorming your headline = headstorming. Write one idea after another until you land on a headline that is tight, clear, and grabs the reader by the balls, metaphorically, of course.
Spend 15 extra minutes on the introduction. The intro needs to hook your professor's attention and provide your thesis. If your professor reads only the intro, he/she should know what the entire paper covers.
Provide examples. Consider: "Louis XIV was a tyrant." Well, how? You could add: "For instance, he created an image of himself as the 'Sun King' ordained by God to have absolute power." Much more specific.
Add facts and statistics.
Again, substantiate your assertions. Cite credible sources, such as government data, university studies, and well-known research organizations (i.e., Pew
, and Gartner
), to name a few.
Use simple language. Bad: "The protagonist engenders a fabricated identity, which permits him to mask his deleterious nature." Good: "The protagonist deceives his friends." Straightforward and crisp.
Add subheads. Subheads make your paper more digestible. Keep them punchy and use them to crystalize the gist of each section.