6 Tips for Writing Better Papers


Understanding the material from your classes is not enough — you also need to be able to demonstrate this knowledge, which often means writing a paper. This requires you to come up with creative ideas about what to include, perform research to gain the citations you’ll need, and write everything into a coherent argument. Although this task can be time consuming and stressful, there are ways you can make it easier and start creating papers that lead to better grades.

1. Know What You Need to Cover

The only way you’ll write a great paper is if you answer the question. Even a well-crafted paper will receive a low grade if it doesn’t address all the necessary points.

Spend time reading the assignment to make sure you know how to tackle the question. If you have any doubts, reach out to your professor.

2. Start with Some Preliminary Research

Set a time limit of how long you’ll dedicate to initial research. Remember, there’s no need to read the material in depth when you’re researching — just skim-read to pick out the information you need for your paper. Plus, you just need to make sure you have sources to cover all the main points. You can do more research to fill in any gaps once you start writing.

3. Create an Outline

Use the question you need to answer and the information you were able to find from your research to determine what to include in the paper. Put this into an outline to guide your writing. When you have an outline, approaching the paper is much less intimidating than trying to write with a blank page. Plus, it ensures you don’t forget to write about anything important.

4. Draft, Then Edit

It will take far longer to finish your paper if you try to perfect your sentences as you go along. Unless it’s immediately obvious that there’s a better way to write something, don’t worry too much about your wording as you draft your paper. Once you’ve finished, read through the entire paper (perhaps twice, if it’s especially important) to see where you could make improvements. You’ll likely find it’s much better than it seemed when you were drafting it!

5. Don’t Add Fluff

It can be tempting to add superfluous information to bring your paper closer to the word or page limit. However, it’s always better to be concise. If you’ve already covered everything, there’s no need to search for places to add more words just to make your paper longer — you’ll only end up diluting your argument and reducing the quality of your paper.

6. Use a Reference Manager

Keep track of all your sources by storing them in a reference manager. The software can also create citations for you in the right style — although you should still check the citations because tools can occasionally make mistakes.

Even if you put all the above tips into practice, you’ll struggle to write great papers if you lack somewhere to work on your assignments in peace. If you live on campus, you may need to rely on your campus library — but this can be inconvenient. A better option to study without distractions is to have your own bedroom in a room for rent. Kingston students can upgrade their housing by moving into Foundry Princess. Not only will you have a desk in a fully-furnished suite, you can use our multiple onsite study areas, all of which have lightning-fast internet. Book a tour to check out all the amenities and modern conveniences we have to offer.

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