So, it’s your first time writing assignments at your dream university. The rules are different. The evaluation process is stricter. You are required to embrace a detached and objective approach while writing academic papers at this educational level. Getting writing help with assignments at universities can take many forms. From essays to reflective articles, you may be asked to write any academic content. And you need impeccable writing skills to nail your academic papers like a pro.
Here are six simple yet highly effective tips to improve your assignment writing skills at university:
1. Plan ahead
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Planning before writing is considered one of the key practices of good writers, whether you are at a university or a corporate firm. It gives you enough time to gather, absorb and analyse your arguments before composing texts.
Here are the stages involved under planning:
Freewriting is when you write in full sentences about a topic within a specific time span without worrying about the quality. It is about trusting yourself and your words.
- Using primary or published evidence
Evidence for your university assignments comes from two sources- primary and published. Primary evidence is the raw data like interviews, experiments or questionnaires. Published sources encompass the literature on your topic from reports, journals or books.
- Structure and sequence
Your assignments should consist of a strong, coherent argument. The sections include- introduction, main body and conclusion.
Follow the stages as discussed above to plan your assignments like a pro. Besides these, you may also have to fight procrastination and writer’s block to make a successful plan.
2. Read critically and extra relevant material from scholarly texts
Assignment writing at universities involves thorough reading and drawing relevant material from the texts. You should be a critical reader to become a successful academic writer.
Answer the following questions while reading any piece of text:
- What is the argument?
- What evidence supports the argument?
- Which are the claims made by the author?
You can move beyond summaries and delve into evaluating, thereby becoming critical while reading.
While reading, approach the text as if it needs a response from you. Capture the key points and issues while reading any piece of text. Being critical doesn’t mean pointing out what’s wrong. It means you should pay close attention to the text and focus on definitions, ideas, assumptions and findings/arguments.
3. Make connections between texts
Before writing the assignment, you must have read a slew of books, articles, journals, etc. Now it’s time for you to move between the texts and string together ideas before you put forward your own understanding.
- Draw on other texts to build a solid context.
- Decide how you would use these texts to inform your argument.
- Recognize and distinguish the key arguments, ideas, and debates about a topic.
Let’s say you read two scholarly journals. Answer the following questions to make connections between the texts:
- How does the writer use someone else’s texts to build his/her own argument?
- How does the writer build a context based on the texts of others?
- What are the differences and connections you noticed between the two journals?
Different writers may have different perspectives related to your topic. Connect between the ideas and bring your own understanding under the spotlight. No matter what topic you write your assignment on, your writing is most likely to be influenced by ideas or words already written.
4. Structure an argument
Structuring an argument is a key aspect of academic writing. The first step to structure an argument is to read widely and pay close attention to the text. You will be exposed to a wide range of writing styles as you read different sources. See how experienced writers present their work and build an effective argument.
A successful argument consists of three key features- focus, logic and evidence. There isn’t any one technique for building a valid argument. Just make sure the argument highlights a critical and objective outlook. It takes time to develop a solid argument. Avoid these common errors to construct a strong and logical argument irrespective of your topic:
- Unsubstantiated generalizations
- Logical flaws
- Oversimplification of your or your opponent’s argument
- Appeals to inappropriate authorities
- Outdated facts
- Emotionally charged words and phrases
Your argument will sound convincing only when it shows your ability to appraise the opposing points of view as well. Keep the tone controlled and reasonable. Use relevant sources to support your argument and provide a systematic analysis.
5. Find a voice
Voice is the personality of the writer that comes through to the reader. It can be difficult for beginners to identify and express their voice in assignments. That is when you can opt for online assignment help and ask for samples for reference. Remember, it takes practice, confidence, and time to develop your voice. The more you write, the better you will be able to develop your own voice. Try not to overuse quotes or paraphrasing since that shows your inability to find your voice in assignments.
Tips for developing your voice:
- Do not overuse the first person.
- Read critically.
- Let your ideas flow freely.
- Your personal voice should be knowledgeable and informed.
- Develop your counterarguments in a respectful tone.
- Avoid sweeping generalizations.
Remember, the use of voice isn’t about emotion or personal experience. It is about being accurate, clear, and concise. It is about backing up your arguments with evidence while assessing the contribution of other writers relevant to your academic field.
6. Note down the parts of speech
Each word in a sentence plays a specific role. These roles are known as ‘parts of speech.’ You may read this chapter in school. But, it is better if you re-familiarise yourself with the basic parts of speech such as:
- Verbs– describe what the nouns in a sentence are doing.
- Noun– is a thing or an object in a sentence.
- Pronoun– used in place of a noun like ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘her’, etc.
- Adjective– is a describing word that makes the noun more specific.
- Adverb– is a describing word for verbs.
- Preposition– describes the movement and position of the nouns in a sentence.
This tip may seem puerile to some. But, most students lose valuable grades due to inaccurate usage of the parts of speech. So, go through the usages of parts of speech first before using them in texts.
The nature of the university-level study has changed in recent years, especially since the pandemic. But, there’s one element that remains constant and guarantees success to students- writing. You need to practice the tips mentioned above daily to become an ace in assignment writing at university. There’s no looking back once you acquire all the skills.