Some general advice about writing term papers

Term papers are worth a lot of your grade and therefore can be a lot of work. When you have one that’s due in the near future, it can be very stressful and frustrating to work on it, especially if you’re busy with other things. Many students these days have part or full time jobs, family commitments, dates or outings with friends, classes, possibly clubs or sports, and then any time leftover is for homework. If that sounds like your busy schedule, you’re not alone. If you can put aside a few hours a week to work on your term paper, here are some tips to make the most of your time:

  1. Create an outline. This should always be your first step because it will help you structure your paper as well as save time. When making your outline, keep in mind the instructions from your teacher – how many sections do they want and how long does it need to be?
  2. Do your research. For the most part, it’s a good idea to have the bulk of your research out of the way before you start writing. This way, you don’t have to rewrite big chunks of your paper that didn’t go along with the sources you found.
  3. Write the first draft. Now that you’re all prepared and organized, start filling in your outline and putting in quotes, statistics and other research. In between each part, you should smoothly transition and connect to each point with what was said previously.
  4. Edit until you can’t stand it anymore.Editing can be a drag to some people, but it’s crucial for your term paper to be as polished as you can make it. First you should do a spelling and grammar check, and then read it for technical errors or confusing parts. It’s also a good idea to take a break and leave your paper for a few days if you can, to come back to it with fresh eyes.
  5. Have a friend read it. Since you wrote it, you probably know your term paper inside out and backwards by now. You wouldn’t’ be able to see if it has any more errors or if parts are boring. Having a trusted friend give you their opinion is invaluable to the success of your paper. You really do need that unique perspective that someone has when reading it for the first time.