Expert tips from a former teaching assistant and part-time professor on writing an ‘A’ paper
In your first year of university or college, you may begin to feel that “A” papers are a little like unicorns. Do they even exist? I remember feeling so angry and frustrated during first year; I had been an “A” student all through high school but suddenly, I couldn’t score more than a B+ on some of my written work. What had changed? How may I crack the code?
Now, after a PhD in English and several years of experience grading undergraduate and college papers, I’m here to share with you most of the things I wish I knew once I was getting started.
First, you need to know that A’s are attainable—just rare. Some departments have recommended (and on occasion even set-in-stone) grade averages: this means the mark that is average a certain course has to be, as an example, a 70. Even without those institutional guidelines or restrictions, A-level grades are meant to be reserved for a small minority of papers that go above and beyond in terms of content and execution. In a class of 50, the average professor or teaching assistant will probably award 5 A-range grades, with the majority of those being A minuses and extremely few (or maybe zero) As or A-pluses.
So, that if you follow these steps, your marks will materially improve while I can’t promise that these tips will guarantee an A grade, I can assure you.
Follow the instructions
This sounds dumb, but you would be surprised at how students that are many poorly (and on occasion even fail) simply because they simply usually do not follow directions. This is certainly much more crucial during the college level, where professors often grade assignments according to rubrics that are strict. If the paper should be cited in a specific style, use that style; if it entails that you analyze two texts, don’t analyze only 1. You shall never do well on an assignment if the paper you submit does not abide by the rules.
Again, sounds what website will write a paper for me basic, right? But this could make a difference that is huge your grades. First, in the event that you attend class and are usually an participant that is active you’ll likely have a more in-depth understanding regarding the course material, which will be reflected when you look at the quality of your work. Second, in the event the professor sees they will likely be more inclined to be generous when marking your paper that you are serious about the course. Students love to gripe about marks being subjective; this will be only true to a extent that is certain. Most TAs and professors have relatively consistent standards of the thing that makes a C, B, or A paper. However, the difference between a B and a B+ can frequently be subjective: if the professor thinks about you as a committed, hard-working student, that could push your grade up a few points.
Go to office hours
Don’t be shy! Your professor or TA generally is being paid to assist you over these hours, so use your resources. Drop by during office hours to inquire of questions about course materials and assignments, as well as to obtain feedback on your own outline or early drafts. Be polite and come prepared. Again, this will enhance the quality of the work and help you to definitely cultivate a relationship that will lead to slightly more grades that are generous.
Narrow your focus
One of the biggest mistakes that students make on papers, particularly when they truly are starting out, would be that they simply you will need to do too much. Don’t try to write a paper which will explain or solve a problem that is huge. You likely can’t develop a very good, convincing argument about a huge issue within a four-to-six page limit. By narrowing your focus to a manageable scope, you’ll be more likely to produce an paper that is strong.
A-level papers rarely start out with “since the start of time….”Believe it or perhaps not, 80 per cent of undergraduate or college papers begin in this way. I don’t know why. These opening sentences are the bane of any existence that is professor’s. “Since the start of time, gents and ladies have struggled to obtain along.” Well, maybe. But can you really have the study to back up this massive, general statement? Adhere to specific, provable claims.
Proofread your work
Always, always leave some right time and energy to proofread your work and look your formatting. Almost every grader will dock marks in case your work is hard to understand or if it does not follow your department’s standards. Again, this can be even stricter in college. Whenever I taught college writing, I graded according to departmental rubrics that deducted 1 point per grammar error, up to 15 per cent, and 1 point per formatting error, as much as 15 per cent. Some students lost the full 30 per cent of these grade this way! Don’t be that student. Proofread, show your projects to someone at the Writing Centre, do what you ought to do in order to clean things up. This isn’t just a fussy school thing: within the professional world, people will judge your writing centered on things like grammar and style.