by Saqib Aslam
Academic writing is a very important skill to have at any stage in your career as a student. That said, not everyone feels confident and comfortable with this type of writing.
If you’re a student who is concerned about your academic writing abilities, you don’t need to assume this will be the case forever. Developing the skills necessary to write strong essays at the university level is easier than you think. In fact, you can develop these skills in as little as a month. All you need to do is break the process up into four sections. By focusing on one task each week, you’ll grow your skill steadily.
To make this process easier for you, follow this guide. It explains how you can develop your academic writing skills on a week-by-week basis. Within a month, you’ll find that you’re much more capable of impressing your instructors with high-quality work.
Writing a strong academic essay involves planning. You need to create an outline and do at least the majority of your research ahead of time before you actually start drafting a paper. This makes it much easier to complete the essay when it comes time to write it.
That’s why learning how to properly plan an essay is the best way to start learning how to develop your academic writing skills.
Start by contacting a professor and asking for a sample assignment. Or, you can ask for a sample assignment from one of your friends. You want to practice with a topic that you can devote an entire month to. Additionally, this practice essay may not be something you want to be graded.
Once you have chosen a topic, decide what specific argument you are going to make in your essay. The first week should be spent finding sources you could use to support this argument.
To help yourself thoroughly master academic writing, it’s a good idea to find multiple types of sources, including books, sources from academic databases, and general internet sources. Create a page with proper citations for these sources, and take notes for yourself regarding how you would use them to support your argument.
Now, you’re going to focus on creating an actual outline for your paper.
This is where you decide how each source you found will help you make a stronger argument. Break up your outline into the various paragraphs you would include within the paper itself, and use bullet points to indicate what argument you’re making in each paragraph, as well as what sources you are going to include in those paragraphs to back up your point.
You’ll also probably be expected to include quotations from your sources in your academic essays. Thus, you should also include those quotations in your outline, in order to easily refer back to them when you are ready to draft the actual paper.
The main focus of this week is to create an outline that can help you write your essay efficiently. Thus, you may need to revise it throughout the week. Additionally, by creating an outline now, you can find out if there are some gaps in your argument that require additional research to support. Take the time to do that research now, so you’re not scrambling to do it while writing the paper.
This is the week where you will begin drafting the paper itself. At this stage, it helps to have an entire week to devote to this process. If you’re not comfortable with your own academic writing skills, being able to spend a week on the first draft is helpful as you learn the proper techniques.
This is also where you’ll learn whether you were successful at creating a strong outline. If your outline is thorough, you should be able to fairly easily plug in the information into your draft. If you’re struggling to do so, it may mean you need to go back and revise your outline.
During this week, you’ll focus on shaping your first draft into a paper you could confidently submit to an instructor.
Obviously, you want to address any spelling or grammatical errors you made in your first draft when revising it. You also want to identify any areas of your argument where you may not have provided sufficient evidence to effectively make your point.
However, you also need to understand that proper academic writing involves concision. Professors want you to express your argument in as few words as possible.
That’s why academic writing experts from AdvancedWriters.com recommend literally going through every sentence in your essay and asking whether each word is necessary. Words that are simply there to take up space should be removed. The goal is to still be as clear as possible, while also avoiding excessive wordiness.
When you are finished, it’s a good idea to have someone else look the paper over for you. At this stage, you might even want them to create a draft of their own, so you can learn from your mistakes and develop your academic writing skills.
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
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