10 ultimate academic paper writing rules

Writing papers for school or college can be difficult. It is most certainly not one of the more natural things we have to learn how to do. If you keep these ten tips in mind, though, your papers will consistently turn out better.

These tips will help you, whether or not:

  • You are already good at writing papers
  • You are still learning how to write papers
  • You have never written papers before

Without further ado, here are the tips!

  1. Make sure to use an outline every single time. This helps you put together a paper that has a logical progression.
  2. Make sure you proof read your work. After you have finished it, set it aside for at least one hour. Then read through it looking for grammar and punctuation mistakes. Clean up any sloppy wording. Reading it aloud can help with this.
  3. Use the appropriate types of citations. Your professor will tell you if you should use the APA or MLA format. There are plenty of books at your library to help with this.
  4. Do your research first. Make sure that you spend some time doing your research, figuring out what you want to cover in your paper.
  5. Look for citations last. While you are doing your research keep notes that tell you where you found certain information you want to reference in your paper. Write the paper naturally, without worrying about citations. Then add the citations in the relevant spots when you are done.
  6. Have another person review your paper. You are familiar with the material because you wrote it. Have someone else review it to catch things that you might miss.
  7. Make sure you use proper margins and indentations. Professors typically want your paper written in a 12 point font (times new roman). You usually will need one inch margins, but check with your professor.
  8. Start by writing the paper as quickly as you can. Don’t spend any time thinking about what you want to write. The best writers know that their writing isn’t great – their rewriting is.
  9. Stay focused! If the paper is about Manifest Destiny, don’t get too far off course talking about native American culture (unless necessary). Apply this principle to every topic.
  10. Finally, don’t be too critical! A lot of students report feeling a “writers block” when they sit down to put together their paper. Really, though, research shows they are just afraid that they won’t do a good job. Don’t worry about it and things will turn out alright.

With these ten tips in mind you will be able to write the best papers you have ever written.