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10 Steps to a Better Essay

A Montgomery College Germantown Writing Center Workshop

Allison Hutchison

on 9 July 2014

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Transcript of 10 Steps to a Better Essay

#4 Get organized...
#3 Phone a friend
#6 Let it be
That’s right: leave your paper alone for a day or two, then come back to it. Give your brain some time to aerate and think about something else.
#7 Look it up
Help your reader out!
Coach your reader by asking him/her to look for specific things. What are your weaknesses?
Think of something you can do in exchange for your readers because you’ve asked them to perform an important task!
Sorry, you’re not a millionaire, but
you still have this option. Ask a colleague, friend, or
family member to look over your paper.
...inch by inch!
#5 Come to the
Writing Center
You have a free resource on campus—-take advantage of it! Tutors are on staff 6 days a week.
Write, review, proofread, and edit all in the same area!
Internet access is available also.
10 Steps to a Better Essay
#8 Review your outline
Read SLOWLY. Ask yourself:
Did I trip (clear wording)?
Did I pause (punctuation)?
Did I get confused (idea organization)?
Is there anything missing (idea, evidence, transition)?
#1 Read your paper aloud
In Microsoft Word:
Spelling errors are underlined in
Grammar errors are underlined in

#2 Review grammar,
spelling, and punctuation
Look for patterns.
Did you notice any of the same feedback coming up more than once?
To revise or not to revise?

Feedback can come from:
friends and family
instructors and tutors
word processors
Make a binder or
folder with all
the feedback you've
received (either a
printed or digital
Create multiple versions of your paper based upon the different feedback you received. Which version sounds best?
Compare your paper with your outline. You can use the outline as a checklist to see if all objectives were reached and all materials were used.
Academic sources
Specific examples
Clear topic and concluding sentences
go for a walk
read a book (perhaps for
another class)
watch a movie
just don't forget to come back
to your paper!
, such as Merriam-Webster, gives you the definition of a word.
gives you synonyms and antonyms.
#9 Trim it up
Remember the old adage, “Quality over quantity.”
If you’re having trouble meeting a word/page count, don’t fill in with meaningless words. It could be that you need more supporting details instead.
Don’t be afraid to make a mess of your paper. Print out a copy, mark it up, then fix your errors in your word processor.
Reward yourself once you’ve reached a goal!
#10 Take your time
Don't rush!
Create a calendar for your assignments
Give ample time to review your essay (this includes your "phone-a-friend," tutor, and/or instructor)
Don’t leave all your proofreading to the day an assignment is due. Chances are you will stress yourself out and not fix all the errors in your essay.
Remember: The computer is NOT always right!
If you don’t know a word, look it up! We’ll talk more about this in step #7.
Full transcript