Posts Tagged ‘paragraphs’

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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09
Sep

AP Essay Writing Tips

AP classes are college-level courses offered at high schools across the United States. These classes are recognized by more than 90 percent of colleges and universities. In order to receive credit for a class though, students must take an AP exam at the end of the course, which includes an essay for social science, history and English courses.

Study

Students need to show that they have a deep and broad understanding of the subject they are writing about. As a result, students should start studying for the AP exam several weeks in advance so that they can review all of the material that was previously covered in class. The people who review AP essays are looking to see that students can provide specific facts and evidence to support their arguments, and not just general ideas.

Practice

Writing a strong essay requires more than just knowing the right facts. AP essays are timed, and students should accustom themselves to writing under these strict constraints. The amount of time for each essay depends on the test, but students should prepare to write most essays in 30 to 45 minutes. Writing practice essays also helps prepare students for the types of questions that they may be asked. The College Board, which runs the AP exams, offers sample essay questions through its website.

Carefully Read the Question

In an effort to begin writing as quickly as possible, students often fail to read the essay question carefully. In order to receive full credit, students need to make sure that they answer all parts of the question completely. Taking the time to reread the question and think about what the test is asking can help students write better essays.

Plan

Even though the test is timed, taking a few minutes to write and craft a plan for the essay is time well spent. Students who plan out their essay can help ensure that their writing is clear, organized and detailed enough to answer all parts of the question. This is also a good time to think about the evidence needed to support the essay’s thesis or argument.

Write Clearly

Students should begin with an introductory paragraph that clearly states their thesis for the essay. Following paragraphs should make their points clearly and early on in the paragraph to avoid confusing the reader. Each paragraph should directly support the thesis and provide specific evidence instead of broad generalizations. Writing a short conclusion helps sum up the essay’s points and re-emphasize the thesis.

Proofread

Although students have little time to execute their essays, it’s still a good idea to proofread quickly if time permits. Doing so helps catch spelling and grammar errors that may detract from the essay.

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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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