Posts Tagged ‘content’

04
Mar

How to Improve Middle School Writing

Writing is one of the most important life skills. Whether you are looking for a job, doing a job that requires written presentations or want to communicate with family and friends, the ability to produce well-written content is essential. Middle school is a time for kids to further develop their writing skills because in higher grades, a well-written paper is a prerequisite, not a goal, and it will be too late to catch up. Furthermore, students have to avoid the usual patterns and develop their own personal writing style, which during later grades is the focal point of teachers.

Read the essay aloud. You will be able to spot mistakes, parts that don’t make sense and sentences that are just too short or too long for the reader. Practice this method in your room and don’t hesitate to ask your parents to listen to you. Divide longer sentences that make you lose your breath into shorter ones, retaining their meaning. Combine successive short sentences that disrupt the flow of your speech. If certain words don’t work well together, consult your parents to find a better solution.

Combine sentences. This is one of the basic skills that separate middle school students from their early grades counterparts. “I am a 10-year-old boy. I used to be an only child.” Instead of writing that as two sentences, write: “I am a 10-year-old boy, who used to be an only child.” It is a very simple example, but it shows the ability to express more complex thoughts and identify the connection between two sentences, such as cause and effect or similarities and differences.

Broaden your vocabulary. One of the main reasons papers receive poor grades is because they only incorporate a handful of commonly used words, even in large essays. You should never use the same word more than once in the same sentence and avoid repeating it regularly in paragraphs. When you are doing your homework, consult dictionaries to look for synonyms of the words you constantly use.

Ask your teacher to specifically explain your mistakes. When you receive your essay with only a grade on top or some inexplicable corrections, you won’t be able to identify your mistakes and avoid them in the future. Don’t be afraid to ask teachers. They will be more than happy to help.

Read literature. The best way to learn how to write well is to read high-quality works. You don’t have to turn to Shakespeare, but there are numerous options of middle-school options in libraries and bookstores to choose from. Dedicate some of your spare time to reading books and you will find that apart from helping you improve your writing skills, it can also turn out to be an interesting activity.

Research your topic before you start writing the essay. Apart from your written skills, teachers are looking for original, well-presented content. Ask for your parents’ help to show you how to search for information in encyclopedias or on the Internet.

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02
Sep

How to Get Good Placement Test Grades

Placement tests are typically used at the secondary and post-secondary educational level to assess a student’s skill level in a specific subject. A placement test can help determine at what level you begin your studies in subjects such as mathematics, foreign language, and writing. In many cases students who score higher on a placement test are admitted to a higher level of academic study and are able to avoid repeating coursework they have already mastered.

Review the test and course requirements. The course description and test requirements will help you gauge your level of study in a subject. You should be familiar with all of the concepts listed. If you have already earned a high grade on assignments or coursework related to the test it’s likely you will score very well on the placement test. If you are unfamiliar with specific content you may have to review material or postpone your test date until you feel appropriately prepared.

Practice with sample questions and test outlines. Schools that require placement tests at enrollment typically provide an outline of the material and sample questions. You should complete a practice test and calculate your score so you know what level you have mastered. You may also wish to review the textbook and teaching materials that are used for the specific course you are testing into.

Test at the appropriate level. For example, if you have completed an intermediate level of Spanish or French start with the test for that level. Taking a test at a more advanced level may result in a poor score. Similarly, for subjects like math or writing it’s important to test at a level you are confident you have mastered, as testing above your skill level may prove too difficult. The aim is to score well at the level you have mastered and to enter course work at the appropriate level. Testing into a level that is too hard may impede your long term learning.

Arrive to your test well-rested and prepared. Most placement tests will be challenging and require time and focus. It’s important to arrive to the test well-rested and focused so you can do your best. Your best effort will result in an accurate score and will ensure that you are not placed below your current academic level.

26
Jul

Weaknesses of Writing an Essay

An essay is a short composition about a particular topic that is usually written from a personal perspective. Many students balk at essay writing; the mere thought of starting the assignment brings stress and anxiety. Students and instructors have identified common pitfalls experienced or encountered in the writing process. A frequently cited difficulty is writer’s block, a generic category which springs from various causes. Other weaknesses involve content, organization and grammar issues.

Treatment of Topic

Students may claim that the assigned topic is boring, vague or tough. The rebuttal is to be resourceful and creative. Look for an interesting angle. Scale the subject down to a manageable chunk or tweak it to a comprehensible level. On the other hand, if they’re given a choice of topic, students may be undecided, or keep changing their minds and take too long to make a final decision. The practical solution is to pick a topic with which they are familiar, or about which they are passionate or curious to learn more.

Planning and Preparation

Another deficiency lies in inadequate time and effort spent in organizing the outline, conducting research and writing the draft. Too often students dash off the writing assignment at the last minute just to meet the submission deadline. Some students go the other extreme by being perfectionists. They get overwhelmed with too much research and information overload, bogged down with unnecessary detail, or stuck with revising their work over and over. With proper guidance and mentoring, students can strike the right balance to devote just enough attention and energy to the essay.

Content and Value

The substance and quality of the essay can suffer for various reasons. For example, an essay in an argumentative genre requires supportive evidence to prove the writer’s point. The lack of authoritative sources, factual data or concrete examples weakens his position. He fails to convince the readers of the truth of his assertion or persuade them to his point of view. Poor choice of words can also affect the overall impression that the written work makes. Bland, safe words such as “nice” or “good” lack the rich nuances of meanings that imaginative rephrasing can improve. Cliches that have outlived their punch rob the essay of originality. The trick is to research and rewrite.

Organization and Structure

In a coherent essay, the central theme is clearly established in the introduction, developed in the body and synthesized in the conclusion. Without a smooth transition and logical progression of thought from one section to the other, the essay becomes a rambling work, lacking clarity of purpose and focus. Another danger is a lame ending that falls short of nailing down the concepts. These concerns can be resolved by reviewing and revising to achieve the essay’s objective and create a strong impact.

Grammatical Lapses

Grammar, which encompasses language rules from syntax to spelling, presents a host of problems. Sometimes the fault lies in simple carelessness. Neglecting to proofread or to pay attention to detail deducts points from an otherwise articulate work. The rubrics of subject-verb agreements and spotting dangling modifiers may not be a student’s strong suit, but with patience and practice he can master these intricacies.

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