Posts Tagged ‘sentences’

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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12
Mar

How to Effectively Edit Your Own Writing

It’s almost a requirement that you have a third-party read over anything you’ve written prior to submission.  In addition to invaluable feedback and criticism, an extra pair of eyes are useful in catching grammar and spelling mistakes you may have otherwise missed.  But unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of having someone on hand to read their work.  In such times it’s critical that writers learn how to edit by themselves.  Here’s a list of five tips that are sure to help you become a better self-editor in the event you are your only proofreader prior to submission:

Wait 24 hours: Recently written words have a tendency to be read in our heads as we intended to write them, making possible mistakes hard to sniff out.  Waiting a day or two to edit your own work allows you time to lose familiarity with the writing and better detect errors.

Read it out loud: Speaking your words out loud not only helps you improve the flow of your writing, it enables you to catch grammatical mistakes you could be missing on account of “looking” for errors rather than sensing them as an absorber of information.

Read it backwards: Another clever way to outwit your brain’s habit of scanning over the finer details of writing is to read your work backwards.  By separating your work into individual sentences that don’t flow together, you can focus more on the specifics of each written thought or idea.

Know your most common mistakes: Old habits die hard (kind of like clichés) and it’s important that writers remember where their work tends to be its weakest.  That way you can be on a look out for the specific errors you make the most.  Write a list if you have to, but try and commit it to memory.

Proofread all the time: Whether reading an article in the New York Times or poring over medical coding industry news on your smartphone, always be on the lookout for spelling errors and poor grammar.  Not only is it exciting to uncover mistakes in mainstream media and printed literature, it trains you to become a natural editor which in turn helps you better proofread your own writing.

Editing should always be done by somebody else.  But the reality for most writers, especially those of you in school, is that proofreading must be done by yourself.  If this is the case, then become a better self-editor by incorporating the aforementioned tips into your proofreading plan.

By Jennifer Smith

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  • Why does reading your essay backwards help you catch​ errors?
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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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