How to improve your Academic Writing Skills
Very few of us are lucky enough to be born experts at anything. Even geniuses have to put in work to reach the skill level that we all look up to. No matter where you start in terms of academic writing skills, rest assured that you can improve if you don’t give up. Here are some methods for this.
- Ask for critiques
Don’t just study the research in your field, focus on the writing styles of its most accomplished published authors. After a while patterns will begin to emerge. How do they phrase their topics? What style are they using for their citations? How wordy are their descriptions. Your first attempts may seem like poorly constructed imitations but this is a good way to absorb the rules and after continued practice you will be able to remove your training wheels and write in your own refined style.
Your professor will either be touched by your enthusiasm or irritated by your constant harassment but getting a full critique from a professional in your field is one of the best ways to gauge your current level. It also gives you a direction to move forward in. If this is not feasible, ask one of the better performing students for an honest analysis of your work’s shortcomings. Try not to ask your closest friends or anyone who might be more concerned about your happiness than the improvement of your writing skills. Glowing critiques feel great but if they are not genuine they do you more harm than good and can lead you to persist with poor writing habits.
You should be your own worst critique, not to the point of endangering your self esteem but you should not be afraid to look at your work honestly and catalogue its flaws. Having read academic writing of the standard you would like to emulate it will help if you look over some of your writing and make a list of all the things it lacks. Do you need proofreading? Are your sentences to long? Are your points too vague? Having done this you will be more aware of this mistakes when you are in the process of making them in the future. You should also keep a list of these errors handy during the editing stage.
You will only get better once you endure. Keep trying and keep writing!
What we help with
The academic writing guides you can find on this website are created to assist high school and college students write better:
- High school essays
- Research papers
- Capstone projects
- Term papers
- PowerPoint presentations
- Article critiques
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