Whether you are into writing and need polishing your style, or you are a newbie trying to survive in the world of academic rules and standards, this article is definitely for you. We have examined the most common mistakes students make and outlined the 5 effective tips to boost your writing skills today. Check them out to learn the secrets of truly profound science composing!
1. Plan and Structure
The most daunting step in writing any academic paper is in fact starting to write. The majority of students put off getting down to their assignment until the last minute, because the whole process seems either too scary or too time-consuming. That is why the first tip to take into consideration is planning and structuring your work. It has to do with the whole process: from planning the working hours to divide your paper into paragraphs and sections. Effective time management and smart outline are the keys to better scientific writing. Not only will you use your time smart, but it will also be way easier to avoid writer’s block (as you will know what you need to write about next).
What is more, academic composing is all about presenting our ideas in a logical manner and persuading the reader that your ideas are worthy. For this reason, structuring your thoughts and organizing them coherently will make your writing style sound smart and convincing.
2. Enhance Your Vocabulary
A profound writing requires appropriate choice of vocabulary. It goes without saying that slang phrases and colloquialisms cannot be used. Furthermore, the lack of academic vocabulary limits the ability to present your ideas and grab the reader’s attention. Make sure you read lots of data, analyze other students’ and scientists’ works to boost your word choice. It would be a great idea to write out some of the phrases and constructions that may seem useful and eye-catchy. This is how you can turn to them when proofreading your own piece of writing, and as a result polish it to perfection with some effective vocabulary choice.
Moreover, if you have a good grasp of figures of speech, you can easily apply them in your composing to offer a unique presentation of your arguments. Still, don’t get too carried away as this is an academic writing not a poem.
3. Follow the Instructions
Any academic paper is all about rules and instructions. Following the instructions is half of success. For one thing, the requirements may differ in various institutions. Particularly, the formatting standards may be different: APA, MLA, Chicago etc. For another, every professor has their own peculiar demands that need to be taken into account if you aim at getting top grades. Words quantity, specific resources to include are different for every academic assignment. That is why, following them thoroughly will lead you to better writing. In fact, the way you are able to meet the requirements is also as important as your knack for convincing and profound composing.
Moreover, if you fail to meet the demands, it can truly result in a lower mark. For instance, answering the questions that are not asked, or beating around the bush are common mistakes learners make and as a result get worse grades for their writing.
4. Avoid Filler Words
We have all been there. Whether you are trying to meet the words quantity, or you have just run out of ideas, this very moment some “filler phrases” may occur. “It is”, “it was”, “there is”, “there are” — are perfect examples of such phrases. The main problem lies in the impersonalized idea of these expressions. As a result, the whole writing is more objectivized, and can even be considered vague. To avoid the ambiguity use active voice more often, and/or passive voice with clear subject (rather than it). As a bonus, check out some other phrases that you’d better keep from using:
● a number of (use “few, many, several, some” instead)
● are of the same opinion (use “agree”)
● at present (change to “now, currently”)
● basically (don’t use it at all)
● consolidate (use “combine, join”)
5. Speak Through Your Writing
Last piece of advice deals with the whole idea of your scientific composing. Don’t treat it as something boring. Always keep in mind that when a person is reading something, they hear the voice in their head. In other words, you should speak through your writing. Imagine as if you were presenting your arguments orally and then put it in writing. This is how the flow of your thoughts will be easier to follow and understand.
To help you grasp whether your writing sounds good, don’t hesitate to read it out loud. This is a great way to check the grammar mistakes, see whether you have used the wrong word or expression. Most importantly, when reading out loud, you can easily spot the places where you have lost the thought, or where you have explained something vague and difficult.
Practice makes perfect. Science writing is not an exception. The more you do research, analyze and write, the better your composing will become. Still, don’t forget about learning from others, so read lots of academic resources. When comparing the voice of other scientists, it will be easier to find your personal voice.
Summing up, academic assignments require appropriate style, language and formatting. For this reason, before you get down to writing, make sure you get familiar with all of the requirements. What is more, by enriching your vocabulary, learning about structuring the paper you will boost your writing immediately. Finally, always proofread your papers, and compare your first assignments with those that you write now. Spotting your personal mistakes and correcting them is the key to polishing your style. It is not about becoming better than somebody else, it is about becoming a better version of yourself.
The article was written by Rhonda Martinez, an English teacher for adults, essay writer and active contributor to Reddit’s r/science community. Rhonda works as a content writer and reviewer at Legit Writing Services, where she helps students learn how to write, edit and proofread essays and other academic papers.