There’s no doubt that many students put a lot of effort into not completing their work on time. For long projects like term papers students are given an entire semester to research and write, however most wait until the last minute to get started. It’s not always students’ faults: there are many things in life that are complicated and unfortunately what suffers the most are student grades. So here are five handy ideas to use when you have little to no time to complete your project:
This may sound easy, but it can be one of the hardest parts. You have to remind yourself that your instructor wants you to defend a certain viewpoint or answer a specific question. Sometimes you are asked to choose a generic topic, while other times your instructor gives you specific question to answer. Either way, the first step is figuring out what your instructor wants you to do. Think back to the things you have read or heard in your lessons on a particular topic. Try to plug in some of this information into the question you are answering: this becomes the basis for your thesis statement.
Don’t try to come off as an overly academic student by using complicated sentence structures or words. Use simple and straightforward language coupled with a clear and easy-to-follow argument. Sometimes students make the mistake of using big words when they aren’t entirely sure what they are talking about, in a vain attempt to confuse their readers. But this can be very annoying and will likely lead to low grades. Remember that good writing is clear writing. It should always include active verbs and simple subjects; don’t diminish your paper by unnecessary complications.
Now that you’ve collected all of your research and have drafted a thesis statement, it’s time to outline and plan your paper. The simplest structure to follow is known as a 1-2-3 structure comprised of an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. Your first paragraph will include your thesis statement, usually placed at the end, following a brief background on the content of your work. The body paragraphs are considered the core of your term paper, containing all of your major points and evidence in support of your thesis statement. The last paragraph is your conclusion and will summarize your main arguments.
As soon as you’ve put together a basic argument and have written down everything you already know to support it, you should try some last minute research to make your argument stronger. You don’t need to panic at this point, simply take your information and look up similar content in the index of the resources you have used. Flip to those pages and see if you’ve missed anything that you could use to support your thesis statement. Don’t plagiarize, but don’t hesitate to use others’ arguments to support your own. Rather than take direct quotes paraphrase the content and apply appropriate credit.
Now that you’ve put in so much work, you need to take the extra step to make your last-minute term paper the best it can be by checking for small mistakes that could drop your grade. Proofread, edit and make sure you have properly cited your resources. If you take a few hours to go through each of the five ideas you’ll have an end product that should earn you the highest grade possible considering you had little time to work on the project throughout the term.
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