Categorized under: Writing Essays

How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Persuading your parents to give you more freedom is challenging enough, how can you be expected to write a persuasive essay that successfully influences your audience to see your perspective and understand it?  Here are some ways you can strengthen your persuasive essay (also known as an argumentative essay):

1.       Start your introduction with a way to bring the audience to your level. Make it personal from the beginning by posing a question, starting with a general statement that everyone can agree with, or mentioning a person that everyone knows (Make sure to stay on topic though. If you are writing an essay about saving the environment, only mention Brad Pitt at the beginning if he has actually contributed to your argument on the topic.) Then, narrow your topic into a strong thesis statement.

2.       Speak in a language that is appropriate for your audience. The argumentative essay you write for a college professor should be more advanced in vocabulary and structure than the argumentative essay you write for a high school teacher. Never use certain words that take away strength from your argument such as a lot, few, hopefully, in my opinion, bad, good, very, perfect, definitely, and always. You want to make your essay a credible, reasonable, and clear source of information. If you constantly mention that the essay is merely your opinion, the reader will, instead of being convinced, try to understand your opinion without really believing it for herself.

3.       Along with avoiding certain words, try to include several vivid adjectives and adverbs throughout the essay. They add an element of powerful description that allows the reader to clearly visualize what you are trying to tell them.

4.       Only use the strongest points of your argument. If you can’t come up with seven or eight different reasons supporting your argument, then only use three or four, but elaborate on them more fully. Highlight these points and stand behind them strongly in your essay.

5.        When you conclude your persuasive essay, broaden your point back to the general subject and maintain the personal level that you first introduced to the reader. If you make this simple change, readers will leave your essay on a good note and have a better chance of truly evaluating your opinions and their own opinions of the subject.

If you follow the above points, it will be a lot easier to convince somebody of your ideas through your writing. Whether it is for your professor or a newspaper, writing a persuasive or argumentative essay can be considerably simpler if you just focus your language so that it appeals to the reader.

Categorized under: Writing Essays

How to Write a Successful College Admissions Essay

Most colleges require students to submit an essay as part of the application process, and the college application essay is often the most stressful part of applying to college. The following tips will help you write a college admissions essay that will shine in the eyes of admissions officers.

1.       The first thing you need to know about college admission essays is that they are meant to be very personal essays. The essay is supposed to be a synopsis of yourself and what you represent. Admissions officers want to learn who you are through these few pages of writing.  So, an interesting idea for a topic is to talk about your favorite activity. If you can think of one experience or organization that makes you feel absolutely amazing, as if it is your greatest joy in life, use that idea to start your college essay.

2.       Use that activity to talk about your involvement and how it has affected your life. Discuss how you have progressed mentally, emotionally, and socially from the experience. The people in admissions offices are looking to learn about your qualities, so talk about the activity only in relation to yourself. Do not mention the name of the school you are applying to, but if you feel the need to mention the school, do so in your conclusion.

3.       Make your language colorful, vivid, and academic. Besides finding out who you are, admissions officers will examine your style of writing, so appeal to their interests. Use a thesaurus, because it will be your greatest tool in writing your college application essay.

4.       After you are done with your first draft, bring it to your counselor or English teacher at school and get his or her feedback on your college essay. Not only will they be able to easily fix any grammatical or spelling errors, but they can also comment on your style.

5.       After you finish writing and editing the essay, put a title page on the essay with your name and the title of the essay. Read your essay one more time to make sure that it feels unique — you want to appear genuine in your writing. Finally, send it out to the college!

By following these tips, you can write a truly unique college application essay that will impress college admissions officers. Your writing will be interesting and reveal your true personality, so do not be afraid to brag about yourself a little bit!

Categorized under: Academic Life

5 Ways to Stay Organized

Imagine a small dorm room cluttered with furniture. Papers are scattered across the room as if a tornado had swept through the tiny space. Dirty clothes litter the floor, and the student can’t even find his laptop.

Organization is a key aspect of participating in school at any level. However, what most students don’t realize is that organization can actually be quite simple. Here are some ways to stay organized without doing too much work.

1.       Keep folders and a marker handy. When you get new papers, stick them into a folder and label it for that particular class or type of assignment.  Every time you get back to your room, put all your papers in those folders, and it will save you a lot of trouble looking for it later.

2.       Keep a pad of sticky notes with you at all times. When you find out a due date for an assignment, post it on a blank page in your notebook. When you hear an important announcement, use a sticky note. Though they can get messy at times, they are a nifty way to organize your thoughts without having to buy an agenda that you will never use.

3.       Put a small basket or box on your desk. Put only daily-use things in it, such as keys, wallet, pens, pencils, and spare change. Instead of spending the whole morning wondering where your tiny items are, you will have them right there in that basket. It is simple and very convenient, saving you a lot of time and effort.

4.       Put things back. In order to be organized, your area must be somewhat neat, and that involves putting your items back to where they belong when you are finished using them. However, supplies that are frequently used can be laid neatly on your desk to save you effort later in the day.

5.       Try your hardest not to procrastinate. When you wait until the last minute, you realize that you have several assignments that need to get done, and the papers become a haunting pile. Get things done once they’re assigned, so that you don’t have as much work to do to keep everything neat. Remember that organization is a helpful tool but only if you use it correctly.

Organization can become a lot easier if you follow the above steps. After a while, you may become even stricter with your organization system, but start out small. Most people cannot become amazing organizers overnight, but you can improve your present system to make your life easier.

Categorized under: Writing Essays

Do’s and Don’ts of Essay Writing

While teachers are usually quick to point out mistakes in your essay, it is often just as critical to identify what you’re doing right.  Here are some do’s and don’ts to remember when writing your next essay or term paper.

Do: Try to integrate a level of vocabulary that reflects your current grade and your knowledge of the essay topic. Use colorful adjectives and adverbs to specify the ideas in your essay. Also, don’t be afraid to use synonyms to vary your writing. A thesaurus is a great tool to use when you write an essay.

Don’t: When adding descriptive words to your term paper, don’t make your paper seem forced. Only use words that someone at your class level would understand, and don’t force your reader to use a dictionary when reading your term paper. Use descriptive words to decorate your paper without obscuring your arguments.

Do: Make sure to create smooth transitions between paragraphs. Link your ideas naturally, and make every paragraph flow into the next. Your ideas should connect with each other using clear transitions. Sometimes, using a logical transition word or phrase can be appropriate as well. Another way to make clear transitions is by making your paragraphs become broader and less focused on one specific detail near their ends. If you do that, it will be easier to switch mindsets to understand the next paragraph.

Don’t:Do not use clichés when making transitions. Though many lower-level schools encourage the use of simple transition words such as first, second, or in conclusion, try to be more innovative with your writing. Use logical adverbs such as consequently, therefore, or even also. You could also try prepositional phrases as good transitions such as in other words, because of this fact, or as another example. When you do make your essay unique, teachers will see your writing as something genuine.

Do: Give your introductory paragraph a powerful hook in your first few sentences. Let the reader know that your writing is different from other essays from the very beginning. A good idea for a hook is to start your essay with a question, or in some cases, even a short anecdote that appropriately introduces your topic.

Don’t: When you write your concluding paragraph, avoid solely rephrasing your term paper. An interesting option is to continue to elaborate on your main point. Readers often become bored with reading material that is redundant, so close out your paper with fresh information that only strengthens your ideas.

If you follow these do’s and don’ts, you can easily make your essay more interesting to the reader and earn a better grade on your paper. Variance and lack of redundancy are the keys to adding flair to any work of writing.

Categorized under: Study Tips

Study Habits of Successful Students

Have you ever wondered how some people seem to get A’s so naturally, while other people could study for hours and hours and still not receive their desired grade? Actually, it’s not about how much you study in school. The trick is learning how to study.

Be Active in Class

The first step to studying like a pro is to be an active participant in class. Try to make sure that you understand everything that your teacher is telling you about the material. Write down any concepts or terms you find yourself unfamiliar with.  Go back later and learn about those new ideas.

Study, Review, Preview

When you are done with classes for the day, set aside an hour or two just for studying. Do not study in an environment that will allow for distractions to occur, so choose a place that is quiet, devoid of many people, and free of other distractions like booming music or an addicting internet game.

Spend this time reviewing the day’s material, looking over the things that are new to you, and previewing the topics for the next day. If you do that, you will come to every class prepared and will be able to ask any questions about things with which you have trouble. This short studying will also make sure that you fully know and understand the material.

Test Taking Tips

When the time for a test approaches, do not panic. When you panic, you start to cram, which is just forcing knowledge into your brain without truly understanding it. Add a couple of hours to your study sessions and keep your study environment positive. Make your review a lot more comprehensive and detailed. Make sure that you have no more questions and that you cannot understand the material any better than you already do. Doing that will guarantee success on your tests.

If at any time you are unsure of your ability with a certain concept, do not hesitate to test your knowledge online or using practice problems in your textbook. Sometimes, it is a good idea to prove to yourself whether you know the material or not. Also, it can further your understanding by creating mindsets for particular types of problems which is a great test-taking skill.

Get That A

If you follow the above steps, you can easily rise to the status of that student who appears to make his or her A’s in a simple and effortless manner. You can also have that same success just by studying the right way.

Categorized under: Writing Essays

10 Capitalization Rules You Need to Remember

In learning about capitalization, you understand how to assign importance and certain values to some words over others. For example, capitalization is what differentiates Mr. Baker from the baker down the street.  It also separates turkey the animal from Turkey the country. Understanding the rules of capitalization allows you to give specific information to your words.

1.       Capitalize the first word of a sentence or a quotation.  This shows that you are starting a new idea or are introducing what somebody else said.

2.       Capitalize all proper nouns. Proper nouns are people, organizations, items, places, or structures that are very specific. For example, a black sea would likely be a heavily polluted body of water, but the Black Sea is in Europe.

3.       Capitalize titles and names.  Names are proper nouns, and titles can often be considered to be a part of someone’s name. However, be aware of some exceptions to this rule. You never capitalize a person’s title if it stands alone. You would not say that the President is in Europe. You would say that the president is in Europe. However, you do capitalize just the title if you are addressing the person with the title.

4.       Capitalize directions of the compass only if you are referring to the actual regions. You cannot say that you went East. However, you can say that you went to the East.

5.       When writing titles of works, capitalize the first and last words. Except for prepositions and small words such as a, an, the, but, and, or, nor, as, and if, capitalize the rest of the title as well.

6.       When writing a letter, it is important to capitalize the beginning of the salutation.

7.       Also, make sure to capitalize any abbreviations such as USA, UK, FAFSA, ACT, or any others. Capitalization shows that there is another meaning behind it.

8.       Words that derive from proper nouns should also be capitalized. So, words like Greek, English, Victorian, and Freudian should be capitalized.

9.       Though the days of the week, months, and even holidays are capitalized, seasons are not capitalized.

10.   The last rule is not to forget your own importance. Always make sure that the pronoun I is capitalized.

Be sure to remember these capitalization rules when you write your essay or term paper!

Categorized under: Academic Life

5 Tips to Reduce Stress

Have you ever wondered why your schoolwork always stresses you out? Have you ever wondered how to relieve some of that stress? Many people experience this same dilemma, but thankfully, there are ways to solve this problem. Here’s how you can reduce your stress levels:

1.       Set aside time for a break every once in a while. If you study all the time, your stress level will steadily increase. Try to make time to relax for fifteen to thirty minutes each day. Grab a snack, talk to friends for a few minutes, or surf the internet. Having this break will keep your mind fresh while you are studying so you minimize your stress.

2.       Whatever you do, do not cram. The worst way for any student to study is to cram a lot of material in a few days before a major exam. Try to spread studying out so that you study for an hour every day rather than studying for five or six hours straight.

3.       When you study, make sure that your studying environment is productive. If you study in a place with a lot of distractions, you will cover less material because your focus is not on your academic work. Then, you will become stressed that you have not learned enough. Always keep your studying environment positive and quiet.

4.       If you are worried about a test, quiz, or even homework, go to your professor or teacher to talk about your problems. Often, these people will be more than willing to help you better understand the material. They genuinely want you to be able to understand everything from class, so try to use their knowledge to your advantage.

5.       Along with your planned break, try to make time to do something you specifically want to do. Whether it is playing the piano, writing poetry, or just hanging out with friends, you want to make sure that you have time to vent your stress in a positive way — by doing what makes you happy. Doing this will reduce a lot of your stress and will keep you in a positive mood while studying.

Remember to keep good study habits and to give yourself a nice break every once in a while. You’ll see your stress levels decrease and your grades increase!

Categorized under: Study Tips

A Winning Strategy for Reading Textbooks

Jack finally arrives at his small and cluttered room. He had a productive day at school, but he knows he needs to study for a test he has this Friday. He sits down at his desk and turns on his very bright lamp. The textbook that he grabs and lays on the desk is rather thick and is full of information about chemistry.  He opens it to the chapter that is going to be prevalent on the test and stares at the long paragraphs of block text. Jack’s brain immediately realizes the difficulty of understanding this particular textbook.

If this unfortunate incident has ever happened to you, then this strategy is just for you. Reading textbooks can become a lot easier if you approach it the right way.

When you are reading a textbook, the first thing you need to do is look at the outline of the chapter. You need to have a clear idea of what the chapter is going to try to explain to you. Doing this will create a distinct organization of the material in your mind. Then, you can start reading the textbook.

While reading, make sure that your eyes are not just scanning the pages. Try to understand every word that it is presenting to you.  When you come across new vocabulary, find out its definition and its application to the material you are reading.  While you are reading the information, highlight important details and facts so that studying will be easier later. Also, take notes as you read to reinforce your understanding.

Take advantage of all of the diagrams, side articles, images, and charts that the textbook has. They are there to further your understanding of the material.  Try to strengthen the connection between these visual aids and the text in your mind. When you do this, you will be able to see a clearer association between memorized ideas and their applications in the real world.

Also, do not be afraid to go over a section of the text more than once.  When you have already read the material once, reviewing it is usually a lot easier to understand, and you already know what to expect.

Using this winning strategy, you can avoid the stress of studying from a textbook and easily understand the information that it presents to you.

Categorized under: Academic Life

5 Ways to Avoid Procrastination

A frequent problem for students is the often overwhelming desire to simply not do work. This desire is usually complemented by the desire to have fun. This dangerous combination leads to procrastination which means that little work actually gets done. Because of this, grades can suffer as well. However, there are several ways to try to avoid procrastination. Here are just a few:

1. Choose a quiet and solitary place to study. Try to remove all things that might distract you. This can include anything that creates noise, anything that will make you think more about it than your work, and anything that you have an extreme personal interest for. You want to make yourself only focus on your work and not on external factors. This also means studying alone. When you study with someone, there is often room for talking about things that are irrelevant to the material you are studying. Try to avoid studying in groups if you can.

2. Set deadlines. Many people find that they cannot work without a deadline. If you have a project due next week, set a personal deadline to do it three or four days before the official due date.  This will make you strive even harder to get the work done early. If it helps, promise yourself that if you get the work done by your personal deadline, you will reward yourself by going out to eat or getting something nice at the store. Be serious about these personal deadlines, and it will become easier to avoid procrastination.

3. Study in chunks. Instead of cramming a lot of studying at the last minute, try studying just a little bit every day. If you do that, you will need those last three days of extremely difficult studying and forcing material into your mind. Spread out the course content, and it will become a lot more understandable.

4. Become more organized. When you organize what you have to do in a list or schedule, your priorities become a lot clearer. Try to keep up with assignments and tests, so that you know how often to study and how much to work on the material.

5. Don’t forget to reward yourself! One of the problems with procrastination is that people see too much discomfort in doing work. If you reward yourself after your work is completed, you will learn not to hate doing the work so much, because you will look forward to the following reward, whether it is spending a night out with friends or just sleeping in the next day.

These are some useful tips that can decrease procrastination. Try to utilize some of them, and you might find that getting that essay done earlier is not so hard after all.

Categorized under: Writing Essays

How to Write a Book Report

Many teachers require that their students write book reports to assess their comprehension of a certain book. Although some teachers have specific preferences for the formatting of these book reports, overall most book reports have similar organization.

Book reports need to start with an interesting introduction, a detailed body, and summarizing concluding paragraph.

Introduction

The introduction should present the material that was read. It is a good idea to include your initial thoughts of the book based on the book’s reputation, author’s reputation, cover art, and difficulty. You should provide the title of the book, the author’s name, and the type of book. Doing this will create a clear outline in the reader’s mind of what the essay is going to detail.

Body

The body paragraphs need to detail the key aspects of the book:

  • It is advisable to start with an introduction and analysis of the key characters along with the setting of the book. You need to label which characters were major protagonists and which were major antagonists, along with the dynamics of the characters. The setting just needs to discuss the time and place in which the story exists.
  • The next major feature of the body is the plot. The plot needs to be summarized in a way that is easy for someone who has not read the story to understand. Try to only use the major characters when creating this plot summary.
  • The final thing you need to create in your body paragraphs is an analysis of the themes in the book. Try to point out specific examples from the text and elaborate on some of the symbols you noticed when reading the book. Analyze the symbols and other factors to create a small list of themes that you can talk about in detail.
  • Before you move on to the conclusion, you need to create a few paragraphs that will focus on your own opinions of the literature. It is a good idea to discuss how much you liked the book, whether you would recommend the book to others, what you found interesting, and what emotions or feelings the book made you feel.

Conclusion

The concluding paragraph does not need to be as long as the others. All that it needs to do is sum up the information you have given and restate your overall opinion of the book.

Writing a book report can be a long and tedious process, but it can be a lot easier if you keep this outline in mind while writing.

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