10 Writing Tips For Students From A Graduate
Are you wondering what to do to become a better writer? As a university graduate, I’ve been in your shoes before, which is why I’ve put together these 10 writing tips for students to help improve their writing skills.
Whether you’re looking to boost your essay writing skills, or prepare yourself for a career involving writing, I’m sure these tips will benefit you!
After all, writing is at the heart of academia, and written communication is one of the most useful skills to have as a student, and as a professional.
Let’s get started!
1. Practice Makes Perfect
This first tip might be cliché, but it’s true that practicing writing is the key to becoming a good writer.
Improving your written communication doesn’t just happen with a click of your fingers, it takes time to perfect those skills.
So, my first tip is to ensure you practice writing daily. I’m not saying you need to write a huge essay every day, but even writing in a journal once a day can help you get in the consistent flow of writing.
Have you ever tried to write an essay without completing one for a while? You will have probably experienced writers block, where you cannot come up with any ideas.
Well, to overcome the dreaded blank page and struggling to get those words out, try and write regularly.
Not only will practicing improve your writing skills, but it will also help to develop your own unique writing style!
2. Read Other People’s Work
My next writing tip is to read other people’s work to develop your writing. We all know that readers make the best writers, it’s near impossible to be one without the other.
Before writing any piece of content whether it’s an essay, research paper or a blog post, you should complete in-depth research to gain inspiration and insight into the topic you’ll be discussing.
Even if you’re particularly knowledgeable on a certain topic, it’s important to enhance the information you already know.
Assume the audience know nothing about what you’re discussing!
Sometimes the best inspiration comes from reading other people’s work and agreeing or disagreeing with it as you get a new perspective.
By reading other material you’ll lay down the foundations for a successful writing piece as you’ll find out what content to include, whilst also getting a feel for how other writers craft their work.
Remember, writing is more than just putting words down on paper, or a keyboard.
Reading is equally as important as the writing!
Plus, reading will also help you brush up on your vocabulary and grammar skills.
Although if you do need a hand with writing errors, there’s online apps like Grammarly to help make your writing clear and effective.
3. Avoid Plagiarising
Whilst reading other people’s work and gaining inspiration is important to perfect your writing, you need to ensure that you’re not plagiarising by using other people’s work and not giving them credit.
If you’re completing an academic writing piece, you need to ensure that you keep track of any sources you do use, as you’ll need to reference these.
The consequences of plagiarism at university aren’t worth it and it can be a serious matter, so make sure that you don’t try to pass off anyone else’s work as your own, even if it’s accidental.
Even the inclusion of someone else’s idea or language can count as plagiarism.
Plus, when you submit any assignments your university website will have a plagiarism checker like Turnitin to identify any plagiarised content.
4. Create A Plan
Whilst this next one is one of the most common writing tips, it’s super important to make sure that you create a plan before starting the process of writing any content piece.
This will ensure that you have thought properly about what you are going to discuss beforehand.
By spending time planning what you’re going to write, you’ll be able to organise your thoughts effectively.
The last thing you want to do is rush into writing straight away, so instead create some notes and refer to them throughout your writing.
By creating a plan, it will keep you on track with your goals and help break down what you need to complete into manageable goals.
Taking time to plan your work is not only the key to getting higher grades at university, but you’ll also be preparing yourself for when you graduate.
It will show you’re able to handle workloads and that you have great organisation and problem-solving skills!
5. Plan Your Time
Time management is another essential part of writing, especially when it comes to writing longer essays, or completing a timed essay or exam.
You need to make sure that you’re planning your time well when writing any form of content as the last thing you want to do is rush your work.
Not only will you end up feeling super stressed, but the quality of your work will be less if you haven’t spent enough time on it.
So, if you have a big essay to complete for your university degree, make sure to allocate enough time to get it written to a high standard and allow yourself time to spend proof-reading over it.
If you plan your time well whilst getting your work done at uni, you’ll complete writing pieces that you’re proud of and you could possibly even use to showcase your work in the future once you’ve graduated!
6. Understand The Assignment
It’s super important to spend some time going over your assignment brief or description before beginning to write any content – don’t just dive into the writing!
No matter what type of assignment it is, you’ll have to work to a set of instructions.
So, it’s important to analyse the information you’ve already been given from the word count to the deadline to the learning outcomes and then you can work from there.
This way you’ll directly address the requirements that are being set.
If you don’t understand what you need to write about, such as if you’re confused by an essay question, make sure to speak to your lecturer.
I’m sure your lecturer would much rather you ask some questions rather than handing in a piece of work which doesn’t answer match what they wanted you to do!
7. Pay Attention To Tone Of Voice
One way to become a better writer is to pay attention to what you say, and how you say it. What I mean by this is to pay attention to your tone of voice within your writing and be consistent with it.
Usually, academic writing needs to be completed with a formal tone, and in the third person, whilst if you were writing a blog or article, you’d use a more conversational tone.
The key to conveying a certain tone of voice is to think about your target audience, and make sure that you’re letting your writing flow naturally if it’s a less formal piece of work.
As I mentioned earlier, developing your own unique writing style will let your work stand out, so let it reflect your personality.
It’s also important to make sure that you provide context within your writing so the reader can have a full understanding of the topic you’re discussing.
8. Proofread Your Writing
Possibly one of the most important writing tips is proofreading your work once you’ve completed it, or at least once you think you’ve completed it.
This final process can help you spot any errors and allow you to make any chances necessary before submitting your work or even publishing it.
I’d also recommend not relying solely on spell check as it doesn’t stop you from making writing errors!
Whether it’s editing spelling mistakes, typos or formatting issues to name a few, make sure you spend some time going over what you’ve written and carefully checking for any mistakes.
This is especially important if you’ve spent a long time working on an essay or any other writing piece, as you’ll probably be tired and you may not notice mistakes that you’ve made.
9. Get Someone To Review Your Work
If you struggle with spotting mistakes in your own writing or if you’re after some feedback, ask someone else to look over your work, such as your housemate or your parent.
You could even ask a lecturer to review your work, especially if it’s for an important assignment like a dissertation.
However, bear in mind that they may not have the time to do this, although they will give you feedback once you’ve submitted your work.
Whoever reviews your work will be able to pinpoint any errors that you may have overlooked and give you a secondary opinion on your writing.
They may even suggest some other ideas to include within your writing.
Try not to take feedback on your writing personally especially when it comes to your tutor or lecturer, you should take their comments on board and use it to develop goals to improve within the future.
10. Use Available Resources
My final writing advice for students is to use the resources that are available to you to help improve your writing process and editing process.
Your university website will most likely have some helpful online resources which are tailored to your degree that you should make use of.
There will also be other helpful online resources and tools for effective academic writing like referencing tools.
As a student you’ll also have access to e-books, journals, articles and other online content that can help you when it comes to writing.
Or, search for the information you need to start writing by using your campus library, and reading particular books that are on your reading lists.
So that’s it from me, I hope these tips have been effective and will help you to become a better writer regardless of the chosen field you want to go into.
Above all the writing tips I’ve mentioned, the key to being a great writer is hard work!
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