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4 must-dos for writing an A+ essay

Get the heebie jeebies as soon as your Language Arts teacher hands out essay assignment sheets? Stop getting freaked—knocking this bad boy out will be easy. Just follow our guide to an A+ essay, and this one is totally in the bag.


Understand what your teacher is asking for

Read. Those. Directions. And reference them as you write to make sure that as you work on this amazing essay, you are continuing to create something that your teacher is asking for. After all, you might write a killer five pager on symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird. But if your teacher wants a persuasive essay arguing for or against Boo Radley, well, you’re not following directions—and that can kill your final grade, no matter how great your writing is.


Nail your thesis

At the middle and high school level, a thesis statement is just that—a statement contained in a single sentence that sets forth the argument the rest of your paper will be proving. It could be something like, “Little Red Riding Hood is a wolf in disguise, as we can see in her treatment of other wolves, her attitude toward her grandmother and the ferocious words used to describe her personality.” OK, that example’s a little nonsensical, but you get the idea. Keep it short and sweet, and ideally with three supporting examples.


Make a plan of attack

Nah, you don’t have to get the whole thing planned out and written weeks before it’s due. But it is helpful to give your ideas time to knock around your brain before you jump from step to step. The day your paper is assigned, set aside 10 minutes and start brainstorming ideas—and be sure to write them down so you don’t forget those light bulb moments. Then, a few days later, return to that idea page and pick one. Spend about an hour pulling together an outline for your paper, complete with a rough thesis statement and supporting examples. A few days after that, start writing. Depending on how much time you have left before your due date, you might have to write it all in a day or two, or you can spread out your writing. No matter what, though, try to give yourself 24 hours, minimum, between the last sentence you write and going back to edit and proofread. Trust us, giving your brain a break will make a huge difference.


Don’t rely on spell check

The worst thing you can see on a paper you worked really hard on is your teacher bleeding all over your tidy white typed pages…circling dumb little spelling and grammar mistakes. You should know better, and in fact, you do know better. You just hit “spell check” and hoped it would catch everything. Or you ran out of time to read it through. Resist the urge, babes! We know that once you’re finished writing, the last thing you want to do is spend another second on this assignment. But give yourself ten minutes to read it aloud and catch those silly mistakes. Phew.


What's your best essay-writing tip?




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BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 1/22/2014 1:36:00 PM


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