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Writing Tips for Students

Writing well is easily one of the most sought-after and useful skills in the business world. Ironically, it is one of the rarest and most undervalued skills among students, and few teachers have the time, resources, or skills to teach writing skills effectively.

Here's how we can help. We have a handful of tips to make the process of writing more productive and less painful. Developing writing skills will not only improve your child's grades but will help develop your child's ability to think and explain the most difficult topics.

1 Pace

Students have ample time to plan, research, write, and revise a paper. Taking advantage of that time means that not only will they produce better papers but they’ll do so with less stress. Block out the time for research, for writing, to let the draft “sit”, and to revise and proofread. Write a little bit each day.

2 Plan, then write

An outline can be a mind map, a list of points to cover, a mental image of the finished paper, even the first paragraph. An effective outline provides a ruler to measure progress, acts as a reminder to make sure the topic is covered as fully as possible, offers writing prompts when students get stuck, and finally keeps students focused on their goals.

3 Start in the middle

One of the biggest problems facing writers of all kinds is figuring out how to start. Skip the introduction and jump in at paragraph two. Students can always come back and write another paragraph at the top when they're done.

4 Write crappy first drafts

Write to secure in the knowledge first. Don’t let the need to look up a fact or to think through a point get in the way of the flow — just put a string of x’es or note in brackets {like this} and move on. Ignore the rules of grammar and format. Students can fix their mistakes when they proofread. What they write doesn’t matter as much as what they rewrite.

5 Don't aim for length

The number one question most students ask is “how long does it have to be?” The real answer is that every paper needs to be exactly as long as it needs to be to make its point. Writing shorter papers well is much harder than writing longer papers. If the teacher asks a student to write 8 – 10 pages, it’s not because she doesn’t think the student can write more than 10 pages; it's more likely because she doesn’t think the student can write less than 8.

6 Communicate the purpose

Revise the paper at least once. Ask this, “Does this sentence add to my argument or just take up space? Does it follow from the sentence before, and lead into the following sentence? Is the topic of each paragraph clear?” When students are done with their first draft, their understanding of the subject will be much greater. Revision should take about the same time as writing.

7 Proofread

Proofreading is a separate thing entirely from revision, and should be the last thing students do before declaring a paper “finished”. Students should pay attention to grammar and fix all the spelling errors. Proofread the paper backwards — look at the last word, then the second-to-last word, and so on. This forces the brain to look at each word out of its original context, which means that the memory of what they wanted to write won’t get in the way of seeing what they actually did write.

8 Conclude something

A “conclusion” is not a “summary”. The last paragraph or two should be the culmination of your argument, not a rehash of it. The conclusion should be a strong resolution to the paper.

The best way to improve your writing is to write, as much as you can. The tips above will help give your children direction and point out areas where they are likely to find weaknesses that undermine their written work.

Join our academy today to learn how to sharpen your child's presentation skills, overcome their fear of public speaking, and help them master ways to deliver effective presentations each and every time. Brush up on their public speaking skills and help them become effective presenters here!

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