- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

Writing "A-Grade" Term Papers

Invariably, at the end of every semester, you will have to write at least one term paper. Most professors require you write at least one, while some others, depending on the class in which you are enrolled, require the writing of multiple term papers to receive a satisfactory grade. Some students have a natural knack for writing spectacular papers, but if you are like the majority of students, who would rather get a tooth pulled than sit down and write a paper, these tips should help take a lot of the guesswork out of writing. Follow this advice in order to turn your writing into more of a step-by-step process.

Before The Writing of Term Paper Begins

Term Papers

Research/Learn about the Subject: Usually, when your professor assigns you a term paper, it is on a subject you studied while in class. This gives you a head start (if you actually paid attention) because you will already be somewhat knowledgeable on the subject. However, it is a good idea to do further research on the class subject in order to develop a thorough understanding before beginning to write about it. Before you ever put the first word to paper, you must know what you are going to be writing about. While this may seem like a lot of unnecessary work, it will actually save you a great deal of time in the long run when you take into account the amount of rewriting and revisions your term paper would require if you simply began writing without a strong knowledge base.

Narrow Your Subject: In order to adequately cover a topic for a term paper, you need to be very specific in what you are writing about. Having a thorough knowledge base allows you to narrow the subject of your paper down. If you choose too general of a subject you will not be able to cover it all in one paper. After all, that's what textbooks are for!

Choose Your Viewpoint/Craft Your Thesis: A good term paper is not one that simply recites back to the instructor exactly what was talked about in class or read about in written material. Rather, a good term paper takes a stance and provides some degree of original thought about its subject. Once you've chosen your viewpoint on your subject you will then be able to craft a strong thesis for your paper.

Outlining: Once you've acquired your knowledge base, it is a good idea to make an outline containing all the ideas, points, and arguments you want to address in the term paper. The outline will serve as the skeleton of your term paper, and you will flesh the paper out as you actually write it.

The Writing Process

Once you've done all your preliminary work, sitting down to write the term paper will be a piece of cake. Just think back to all the essays you wrote to get you to the current point of your scholastic career. Writing your term paper will be just like writing an essay, except longer and in more detail. The format of your term paper will be essentially the same:

1) Introductory paragraph, containing your thesis statement.

2) Supporting paragraphs, containing the information you have gathered to back up your thesis statement.

3) Concluding paragraph, summarizing your main points and restating your thesis to bring your term paper to an end.

After you have completed your term paper, it is a good idea to let it sit for a couple days and then re-read it to check for any changes that need to be made. Very rarely is a term paper successfully written on the first try. Some editing and revision is usually necessary. Leave yourself enough time before your paper is due to allow yourself to write a second draft, because a term paper usually carries a hefty portion of your final grade.

Check out the section on custom term papers writing mistakes.