How to Write an A+ Paper for College
Writing an A-plus paper is a challenge for any student, be it a high school, college, or university attendee. Every day of their academic life, students have to deal with all kinds of academic writing, including research papers, coursework projects, theses, etc., but their overall goal remains the same at all times: to earn the best (or, at least, a passing) grade.
Start with the end in mind
It may sound a bit tricky, but that is how it works: you should start thinking about your conclusion while working on the opening paragraph. Another great approach would be to begin your writing from the body and conclusion and finish with a thesis. When you see the whole picture, it is easier to come up with a single idea that will unite all the major points into a central argument known as the thesis statement. Moreso, this way you'll manage to avoid any possible missteps in your body paragraphs writing.
Always have an outline
Attempting to write an academic paper without an outline is like trying to get out of the woods without a map or compass. Not only should you have a clear idea where you plan to go but also make your direction known to the reader. No matter whether you prepare an outline or a complete table of contents (the difference between them is that the first one does not have to contain page numbers next to each section's title), you should have an action plan. If the teacher does not require you to include one in your writing, make sure you have it on a separate sheet of paper. The simplest template may look like this:
- Body paragraph 1 (With topic sentence 1).
- Body paragraph 2 (With topic sentence 2).
- Body paragraph 3 (With topic sentence 3).
Choose a striking topic
Writing an A+ paper without having an interesting topic and the attention-grabbing title is a virtually impossible undertaking. However, be careful as not to confuse selecting a topic with choosing a title. A topic should simply let the reader know what you plan to discuss, so if it sounds too general, you should narrow it down a bit. And conversely, if it's too long, you should cut it down to something like 60 characters. Come up with a title based on your topic, but keep in mind that it should be eye-catching and motivating in order to encourage the audience to read your paper from beginning to end.
Do not come up with a boring or obvious title like 'My Essay No. 1' or 'A Paper about World War II.' Try making it more captivating and intriguing by using the following phrases:
- 'N Ways to [Do Something]'
- 'N Approaches to [Solve a Problem] That Worked'
- 'How to [Do Something] without any Risks?'
- 'Myths and Facts about [Something]'
- 'Hard-to-Believe Reasons to Love Education'
Remember - when it comes to developing a title, creativity is the only thing that counts. Sometimes, for instance, in a research paper, your title should correspond to the original research question and sound formal, serious, or even dull. We recommend turning to George Orwell or Ernest Hemingway's works for inspiration whenever you have to pick an innovative and highly original title.
Involve a hook sentence
Start your paper with a bang! You may be surprised, but some teachers award experts points for an inspiring hook at the beginning. Having something like this in your essay will give a hint to the reader as to what it will be about, as well as further arouse their interest. Some of the best hook examples are:
- A rhetorical or provoking question;
- A quote from a famous person or writer (make sure the famous person of your choice is an authority on the chosen topic);
- A bold/controversial statement (prove/refute it);
- Facts or statistics;
- A joke (make sure it is relevant and illuminating like Malcolm Gladwell's jokes).
Omit unnecessary words
Teachers feel it when you have nothing left to say, which is why you should avoid difficult to research topics (where the amount of relevant sources is limited) or topics you're not an expert in.
Play with Statistics, Facts, & Quotations
A+ papers should contain some sort of evidence, even if your teacher did not name specific sources to be used. Usually, the list of materials is provided in the prompt but if it is not, collect the sources on your own using books, newspapers, magazines, websites, etc. Avoid outdated and irrelevant sources and refrain from using open educational resources like Wikipedia or Quora that can be edited by anyone.
Mind your format
Citation formats, also known as writing styles or referencing formats, come in many different types, so be sure to discuss the one you need with your teacher. There are also formats that are used in specific cases, e.g., if you work on a paper for your psychology class, it's recommended to use the APA (or American Psychological Association) citation style, whereas if you study at Harvard, you should adhere to the Harvard Reference Style.
Know where to get A-plus papers
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