Posts Tagged ‘conclusion’

09
Jan

How to Create an Outline for Writing

Before you begin writing a paper, especially an academic paper, it is a good idea to create an outline. An outline will help you gather your research and thoughts and to organize the information in a logical and sequential manner. Outlines are also useful in revealing whether you have enough information to back up your topic or points in the paper. They allow you to see how everything fits together.

  1. State the main idea for your paper. This will help you organize it and give it a title.
  2. Write down the main categories or subtopics under your main idea. For example, a paper on the benefits of sports for children might include types of sports available, effects on character, and research on the health benefits of sports participation. Highlight the key points in your introduction.
  3. Notate the introduction and the key points in your outline. Notate the introduction with the Roman numeral number I. Identify each point with a capital letter beginning with A, and each subcategory with a number, beginning with 1.
  4. Explain the first point that you would like to cover. For the example above, list the types of sports that children can become involved in. Describe whether the activity is a team sport such as baseball or an individual sport such as gymnastics. Include information that you would like to research.
  5. List the remaining points in a similar manner to complete your outline. The last section should be the conclusion and include a summary of your key points.
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06
Sep

3.5 Essay Writing Tips

Some essays focus on a particular theme, such as the history of ice cream or a contemporary Mexican author. Other essay assignments are based on a format, like the 3.5 essay. This type asks writers to compose an essay of only five paragraphs, including an introductory and concluding paragraph. The first paragraph has three to five sentences, including a thesis statement; the second, third and fourth paragraphs have five to seven sentences; and the final paragraph again has three to five sentences. The three paragraphs sandwiched between the beginning and closing provide concise, well-researched information, quotes and data.

Introduction

Begin the paper with an intriguing sentence that invites readers to read about your research. Start the paper with a general statement addressing your topic, which should entice a reader to want to learn more. For instance, if you are writing about Mayan temples, open with a line that makes the period come alive. An introductory sentence might read, “Every morning in the ancient Mayan civilization, circa 2000 B.C. to A.D. 900, the land teemed with workers ready to build massive temples we can still tour today.”

Thesis Statement

The substance of your five-paragraph paper is presented in the last sentence of the first paragraph, the thesis. The thesis does not have to be profound or cleverly written. In fact, writing what may seem like a bland thesis statement will help your reader understand the direction you want to take in the paper. For example, if you are writing about ancient Mayan temples, your thesis statement might read, “The ancient Mayan civilization used quarried stone, gold and great amounts of manpower to create extraordinary temples for its rulers.” A reader then knows you will talk about these three points in the next three paragraphs.

Quotations

If possible, include quotations in your paper to make your research stand out as authoritative. Quote experts in the field who have published books, articles or papers on your essay topic. If you are conducting research on family history, include direct quotes from family members who lived through the event discussed. Use a tape recorder to interview your grandmother, for instance, instead of jotting down her responses. Before you begin writing your paper, read her the quote and make sure she is comfortable with your using the comment in your essay.

Research

Make sure you have researched enough about the topic before you set out to write the rough draft. Often students go right to the rough draft, skipping out on extensive research and organizing the paper. Be sure you have enough information to fill the five-paragraph format. Avoid running out of steam in the third paragraph and trying to recycle information you have already included.

Conclusion

Wrap up your essay with a strong conclusion. The fifth paragraph is only three to five sentences long, but it must summarize your entire essay. Think of the conclusion as a gift to your reader: After she has finished reading your paper, you provide her with a rough summary of what she has just learned. Write a conclusion statement that ties together the information provided. If you discussed Mayan art, consider writing, “Overall, ancient Mayan artwork educates anthropologists about the importance of gods, gold, hierarchy and geometry in this thriving society.”

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28
Feb

How To Master the ACT Writing Section

If you’re in high school, and are a junior or a senior, there’s a good chance that you’re already turning your attention ahead to college. More specifically, you are probably researching schools and trying to determine where you want to go. Do you want a traditional four-year university? A community college? An online school? A school, such as Argosy University, that combines elements of online and traditional teaching? Do you prefer an institution that is public or private? There are certainly many questions to ask yourself at this point.

But before you start spending all your free time browsing CollegeBoard.com or Online-Degree.com, it is important that you take the necessary steps to improve your candidacy at whatever school you ultimately choose. This means working to maintain (or boost) your grades, adding extracurricular and volunteer work to diversify your application, and taking the SAT or the ACT so that you can be considered for admission in the first place.

Originally used primarily by Midwestern schools, the ACT has grown considerably in usage and popularity in recent decades, and it now surpasses the SAT in many regards. In 2005, the ACT added a 30-minute writing section at the end of its administration. The writing section, scored on a scale from 6 to 12, has become increasingly useful in recent years to colleges that seek to assess the expository skills of their applicants.

There’s a good chance, then, that the ACT and the ACT writing section will fall somewhere on your path from high school to your dream college. Here are a few tips for easily boosting your scaled score and mastering the writing section:

Have an introduction and a conclusion. Even if your introduction seems weak and your conclusion is only a couple sentences long, breaking up your essay into the standard expository format can translate into an automatic 2 point boost on your scaled score.

Pick a side and stick to it. The ACT graders don’t care which side of an argument you support. They do care, however, that you support one side and present an explicit opinion to that effect. A student that vacillates between the two viewpoints will not be viewed favorably when grading occurs.

In the introduction, start general and end with a thesis. No matter what the essay topic, starting the introduction with a broad observation and ending it with a prescriptive thesis is sure to immediately put your essay in the top half of scorers. If the essay question is: “Should high school seniors get parking privileges over underclassmen?,” you may want to start your essay with this generic statement: “People have long debated whether seniority should entail special privileges at school.” You can then provide a couple filler sentences and then transition to your thesis statement: “Seniors should (or should not) get parking privileges for reasons X, Y, and Z.” This is a standard thesis format that can be used for any essay.

Think outside the box. Picking a side of the argument and then giving obvious supporting reasons can leave you with an essay that receives solid scores. But if you want to fall in the 10 to 12 range, you can get an added point or two by thinking outside the box. Using our previous example, a standard argument for senior parking privileges may be that there needs to be some sort of method to determine spots, it’s fair because everyone will eventually become a senior, and seniors are usually more responsible by virtue of their age. An out-of-the-box reason, however, may be that seniors might need to often leave school during the day for college interviews or internships.

Acknowledge the opposing view. Acknowledging that the other side of the argument has some validity will get you 1 to 2 easy points on the writing section. Don’t go on and on about the strengths of the opposition, simply provide one sentence where you point out an argument on the other side.

These are the main ways you can boost your score on the ACT writing section. While it may be difficult to improve the quality of your writing and of your grammar, any student should be able to learn these tips and then apply them when the time comes.

By Jennifer Smith

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