The Most Effective Tactics to Improve Your College Writing Skills
It’s hard to imagine a modern education without hundreds of written assignments for students each year. So, can we say that writing skills are one of the most important for a student in order to be successful in studying? Definitely, yes.
How can one improve the ability to write literate and thoughtful pieces? We are sure that this skill can be trained like any other. So, while you might be working on your muscles in a gym, let’s work on your “writing muscle” here.
Here are a few tactics and tips on how to improve writing skills in college:
- Use the right vocabulary
- Be laconic
- Don’t be afraid to rewrite your drafts
- Follow the instructions of your professor
- Read academic works
- Use quotes
- Work on the introduction
- Ask yourself a question
Let’s take a look at each one of these simple tactics that every student should use in their academic or creative writing for college or high school.
1 – Use the Right Vocabulary
Picking the right words is not always an easy task for a student but not for our writing service. We have some tips for you on how you can create your pieces using the perfect vocabulary for your college writing.
Of course, some scientific terms can’t be replaced with simpler words. But when you have an opportunity to avoid complicated and nerdy words – do that. For example, “modern” instead of “contemporary,” “fit” instead of “accommodate,” etc.
The simpler your language is, the more readable and understandable your text will be. Moreover, when one uses abstruse and complicated words, the chances of making a mistake are getting higher.
The active voice
Using primary active voice is a common rule for academic writing as it is more preferable and easy to understand. Of course, sometimes you can’t avoid using passive voice. But try to build your sentences sticking to the sentence formula “Subject-Verb-Object.”
This tip is primarily applied to the literature reviews and reports for English classes but can be used in any type of assignment. The trick is to use present tense instead of past.
“The interior of the room is modest and neat. It represents the ascetic lifestyle of the character as well as his good manners and tidiness.”
This is a general rule, and your professor will appreciate you knowing it.
2 – Be Laconic
Using short and laconic sentences is, as one would say, the most concise way to more effective and professional writing.
You might think that paraphrasing can help you increase your word count without actually using different ideas and claims. But, actually, repetitions are way more apparent for a reader than you might think. Try to diversify your writing and use a proper amount of evidence, examples, and claims in your work.
- Avoid using the same word regularly through your paper, find synonyms or substitutive words.
- If you need to write a massive paper but you lack ideas, search for works that might give a hint of what to write about.
- Evaluate your ideas further in the text using examples from similar works or literature.
Use short paragraphs
When you have too much text cluttered in big chunks, it’s hard to look through the text and perceive information. Short paragraphs are preferable just as short sentences. They help your professor to read your work faster and grade it higher.
3 – Don’t Be Afraid to Rewrite Your Drafts
There are a lot of students who are afraid to “ruin the work” and edit their drafts. Of course, they don’t want their time being spent in vain. So they leave the draft the way it is.
Edit your drafts without any regret even if it means that you have to edit significant parts of the text and spend a few more hours working on your piece.
Every writer would say that drafts are usually junk. Only after polishing them and editing, you can receive something valuable. Anyway, your professor will see if you don’t put enough effort in your assignment.
4 – Follow the Instructions of Your Professor
Never neglect the guidelines that your professors provide you with. Make sure to check out the advised sources, requirements, etc. They might be a useful source of ideas and words that you might use in your writing process. Especially, when you have to write, for example, IELTS essay which we also have some tips for.
Pay attention to the writers’ style and try to analyze how you can use it when writing an essay, a lab report or a research paper. While reading, notice if it is hard for you to read certain work or not. If it is hard to follow the idea of the writer, try to understand what makes it so hard for you. Your professor might be feeling the same confusion while reading your work.
5 – Read Academic Works
The more you read, the better understanding of the basic rules of writing you get. It’s a known fact that the best writers are also eager readers. When you read a lot, writing seems like an easy and natural thing to you. It’s just as well as grammar and punctuation which one can remember or make into a habit of literate writing.
So, reading a lot of literature and academic works will definitely boost your writing skills. If you are not a fan of studying materials, then fictional literature will also work.
6 – Use Quotes
Professors encourage students using quotes in their academic writing. But why? What is so great about quotes? You can use them for almost any type of assignment as:
- A beginning sentence of the introduction
- An example or evidence to support your claim
- A transitioning sentence at the end of the paragraph
Using quotes in your work can give you ideas for the evaluation of your thought, reduce the amount of the mistakes as you take the piece of the edited text and give you an understanding of how to build your piece around them.
If you take any piece of someone’s work or base your claims on someone’s material, it’s obligatory to use citation and cite the sources that you used in your work. There are a few styles of citation (Chicago, MLA, APA style, etc.) that have certain specifics, so be sure to get acquainted with them. You can also require assistance and get work with the proper citation.
7 – Work on the Introduction
If you struggle with the writing of your assignments, it might be because you start from the wrong side. You might ask: “What does it mean? There is only one way to start writing – from the beginning!” Actually, it’s not so true. When writing even a one-page critical response essay, you have to provide a work that consists of:
- Introduction and your thesis
- Body paragraphs
- The conclusion
Starting with an introduction seems logical. However, if you start with your body paragraphs first, you will see that the introduction and conclusion are easier for you to come up with. As you already have your main part, it’s easier to create a thesis statement and exciting introduction to your further thoughts.
So, starting your writing main part is always a good idea.
8 – Ask Yourself a Question
There is also one more tactic that one can successfully use in academic or any other type of writing. When creating an outline, write down questions that you need to answer in your work. This tactic is called “journalistic method,” as it implies asking yourself questions and finding answers to them. It is a kind of brainstorm which helps to start your work easier and structure your paper better.
The importance of the writing skills is on-going as it is used in academic, business and everyday life spheres. Developing your writing skills while you are in college will give an advantage for the future job. Moreover, better writing skills will lead to higher grades, and that’s what every student needs.
We hope that you have found our writing tips for college students useful and will use them when writing another assignment.